By: Teresa Mull
If you’re a female who carries concealed, chances are you’ve been frustrated by the limited options available to pack your firearm in a fashionable and functional way.
Amy Robbins, CEO and co-founder of Alexo Athletica, aims to change that.
“Traditionally, the fashion world has been very disconnected from the gun world,” Robbins told Gunpowder Magazine. “The two just don’t cross over. People in the gun community hate the fashion community, and the fashion community typically doesn’t like guns. So we’re really bridging that gap. It’s been very interesting to see how we’re reaching people who traditionally would never take a look at a ‘gun product,’ because we don’t market [our clothing line] as a gun product only; we market it as ‘functional carrywear.’ We’ve always wanted to take this self-reliant, empowered lifestyle to the mainstream, and we feel like we’re accomplishing that right now. We’re very proud of what our team has been able to do.”
Replacing ‘#MeToo’ with ‘#NotMe’
The activewear line, which features items designed to transition from the gym to running errands to evening social outings, launched during the height of the #MeToo movement last fall, and Robbins says the coincidence has been a boon to her business, as Alexo serves to counter victimhood.
“We wanted to be the go-to brand for women to know that we support their rights, obviously to take care of themselves and defend themselves, but the whole purpose behind it was we never wanted to have to see a woman ever have to say ‘me too’ again,” Robbins said. “We wanted to build functional products to allow women to not only carry tools on their body that help them live confidently and live hands-free, but be able to say ‘not me.’ We know that when a woman says ‘no,’ she means no, but obviously, if your assailant is larger than you, if you have a way to back-up what you say, that actually helps you stand firmer in what you say.
“We, as a company, want to cultivate a community of women who doesn’t succumb anymore to the victim mentality, but actually gets the tools and the training they need to be able to say this isn’t going to happen to them,” Robbins said.
Feminism Means Fending for Yourself
Robbins says the modern concept of feminism should promote a woman’s right and ability to defend herself.
“‘Feminism’ – the word’s been hijacked,” Robbins said. “At the end of the day, it just means equality. The way we look at women being equal is not having to rely on somebody else to take care of them, to protect them. And what better way to be equal than to say, ‘I can actually fend for myself’?
“The firearm is the great equalizer, especially in an assault situation,” Robbins said. “We know not every woman is going to choose a firearm, not everybody is comfortable with it, but we believe everybody should have the right to choose however they want to protect themselves, and then have functional [clothing] to put whatever [form of defense] they choose to carry on their body.”
‘It Really Stemmed from a Necessity’
Robbins’ inspiration for starting the Alexo line was her own desire to stay safe while exercising alone in a rural area.
“I’d been thinking about this [company] for a little over two years,” Robbins said. “It really stemmed from a necessity that I had. I’m a runner, and I was training for a marathon, and I lived out in a rural area, and there’s nothing more annoying as a runner to run with a bunch of things in your hands, whether it’s your phone, your credit card, your keys, whatever; you want to be hands-free.
“For these long runs, I was having to run early in the mornings, by myself, or late at night, and I thought, ‘I really need to make sure I’m safe out here. Anything could happen to me. I’m in the middle of nowhere. How is anyone going to find me?’” Robbins said. “When I got my license to carry, I transitioned to wanting to keep my gun with me at all times. I’m in workout clothes 80 percent of the time. Lululemon does not have any place to hold my gun, and they’re never going to build a holster in my pants.”
Robbins says she considered visiting her local seamstress to have a few pockets added to her workout gear, but realized she was one of many women seeking the same type of workout clothes.
“I had worked with the NRA on a TV show they were doing, and we were constantly at the range,” Robbins said. “I was always wearing leggings out there, and I realized there’s a lot of women who have their license to carry, who are wearing athletic clothes all the time, and there’s nothing fashionable on the market for girls like us who want to be able to go straight from working out to having lunch with our friends, and be able to keep our firearm or any other personal protection tool on our body.”
Flying Off the Shelves
Alexo has made headlines on Fox News, the British DailyMail, and elsewhere. Robbins says the publicity – even the news sites (like Jezebel) that mocked the concept – has all been beneficial.
“Even before the media frenzy happened, we were already sold out of several sizes of our Signature Pant and Active Trench Jacket,” Robbins said. “The media really kind of helped push the rest of the sizes we hadn’t sold.”
New Styles for Fall
Alexo initially launched with “four classic pieces [jackets, pants, and tops] and silhouettes that would work on all body types and be very versatile and transitional from working out to going out with friends,” Robbins said. This fall, Robbins, who runs the “Look Great, Shoot Straight” blog, says Alexo will be releasing a full line of new patterns and styles.
“There are enough women out there who are into firearms [and] who are outdoorsy and who do care about the fashion element that the market is ripe to have great new products come out and meet those needs,” Robbins said.
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lead photo credit: Shutterstock
Product photos courtesy of Alexo Athletica