In 2015, District Vision co-founders Tom Daly and Max Vallot left the fashion world. Ahead of them, an uncertain path into the style wilderness, and a determination to find that elusive intersection between performance and design. At the time, “athleisure” was a trend in its ascendancy, with major manufacturers attempting to capitalize on a wellness movement sparked by fledgling fitness tech startups such as Tonal, Peloton and Zwift. Yet, while the big-name fashion brands had started to produce performance gear for this new age of fitness, their garments seemed to be either practical or stylish, seldom both.
This realization gave the duo’s new company its compass. Daly, formerly of Acne Studios, and Vallot, a veteran of Saint Laurent, believed that fashion and function could be combined — they just had to find a way to make the union work. Fast-forward almost a decade, and District Vision is thriving; developing clothing and accessories for mindful athletes and extolling the virtues and values of both holistic living and mental well-being.
But the founders’ journey was far from a straight line. Whilst in the throes of their high-pressure careers, Daly and Vallot noticed that their tireless work grinds and untenably heavy night lives were catching up with them. So they flipped the script, turning to meditation and becoming yoga evangelists in a bid to refresh their own lives. And, although this reassessment of priorities rewarded the pair with clearer minds, fresher mornings, and deeper REM cycles, it also immersed them in a community of like-minded individuals. From runners and cyclists to disciples of the wider wellness movement, the District Vision founders discovered a way to organically amplify their brand by marrying fashion industry experience with a newfound, boots-on-the-ground perspective.
In the intervening years, the brand has enjoyed blistering success — but never once has it lost sight of those community ties. In fact, the bonds are stronger than ever. Because, while District Vision may primarily sell products — stylish technical eyewear, durable waterproof shells, performance socks, and more — every single item designed and developed by the label has been created to bolster the brand’s pillars of wellness, performance, and self-expression.
The first products ever released by District Vision were sports sunglasses. Each pair of frames looked flashy (while never overstepping into ultra-technical, Tour de France territory) thanks to adjustable hypoallergenic nose pads, oil- and water-resistant lenses, and titanium-core temples, all meticulously crafted in Japan. They were well-received and, inspired by this early success, Daly and Vallot continued to innovate, dreaming up more eyewear designs, from the comfortable Takeyoshi Altitude Master to the Kazu Tourer, a collaboration with British brand Tracksmith that took inspiration from the stylish mountaineering aesthetic of the 1970s.
Awareness grew, so District Vision’s founders forged on and used this success as a means to return to the world of fashion — albeit in the correct way. With the brand now firmly rooted in the world of wellness and holistic living, the pair were viewing clothing design afresh, through a new, ergonomically polarized lens. They had arrived at the elusive fashion-function intersection they had set out to discover. As a result, products came thick and fast: an array of singlets, French-milled tees, Italian pile fleeces, recycled half tights, and even a carbon-plated racing shoe created with New Balance. And each piece maintained its balance between style and performance, while still reflecting the values that make District Vision feel like a genuine community.
Today, Daly, Vallot, and their core customer base all view sport as something to celebrate — an invitation to experience life in its purest form. Daly has discovered the importance of community through his commitment to New York City’s vibrant “run club” culture and Vallot through his exploration of mantra meditation. This sense of community has also been brought to life thanks to the District Vision Tapes, an initiative rooted in athletics designed to promote mindfulness, yogic rituals, and mental health. Presented as micro-courses, it’s yet another step toward transcending and upending what we’ve come to expect from a sportswear brand.
What began as an effort to fill a gap in the market has snowballed since 2015. District Vision has become a hub of athletic innovation, community-building, and holistic living; an energetic, ever-evolving endeavour that, thanks to the innovation of Daly and Vallot, will continue to reshape the world of athletic gear for years to come.