The GSTT Editorial team was able to catch up with Meagan Ouderkirk, of boutique fashion brand Hedge, before the opening of the 2017 Grand Slam Tennis Tours Hospitality House in Wimbledon. This year, Hedge is the official apparel partner of the Hospitality House and any visitors will surely notice the GSTT staff decked out in Hedge style, and if you come between the 3rd and the 6th you’ll be able to meet Meagan and Antonia in-person at the House. Here we learn a bit more about Meagan and Hedge.
Grand Slam Tennis Tours: Your website says “We have a deep respect for tradition, and a fond dream of living back in the halcyon days of tennis and golf”. Why did you feel the need to start Hedge?
Meagan: Where we play tennis in the Hamptons has all-white attire regulations. Very simply, there were no elegant options to suit our style of dress in this type of conservative, preppy environment. All of the choices were too sporty and bright, and the skirts were incredibly short. Everything was tight fitting and too revealing. All the fabric options these days are techy and flimsy and stain easily. While we want to be sporty, we still want to look like a lady and not dress like a man. We appreciate natural fabrics that are breathable and washable. Because we also enjoy golf we decided to expand into color. Golf needed more help than tennis! We know fashionable women who literally won’t play the sport because of the attire options out there. Now they will. Our biggest challenge is shoes now.
GSTT: You launched Hedge in 2016, how has the feedback been?
Meagan: Amazing. The minute we launched Hedge was in the NY Times style section. Ivanka Trump Instagrammed herself playing tennis in our Dune Dress, and Gwyneth Paltrow sells it on her website GOOP. The list of amazing press goes on and on but back here at home, we have serious fans who have bought everything that exists on our website. They’re just waiting for the next collection, which will be released this Summer.
GSTT: We are really excited that Hedge was able to partner with us for our Wimbledon event; what are you most excited about this July?
Meagan: We are truly honored to be a part of this amazing two weeks. We are excited to introduce Hedge to the UK and GSTT fans. Center court matches will be amazing their skill and endurance is remarkable. I can’t wait for the Racquet Launch Party to celebrate the editor’s earnest endeavors to create a magazine with brilliant writing, appreciation for the sport of tennis and an eye for art that is so inspiring. We will also get to visit Oxford where my husband spent a semester. Of course shopping in London….traveling is always inspiring.
GSTT: Have you ever been to the All-England Club before?
Meagan: No, we have not. I will be thrilled to see it live and not on TV.
GSTT: I know you have Centre Court seats; do you have an idea of what you’re going to wear?
Meagan: Definitely the Dune Dress, it’s a showstopper. Or, perhaps I could wear the Whitney Illusion Top with the Willa Tutu. These outfits usually attract attention and I can’t get 5 feet without someone stopping me to ask what I’m wearing.
GSTT: What’s your background in tennis?
Meagan: My partner, Antonia grew up vacationing out East, and abroad in Europe playing tennis and golf growing up. I however am “late to the game”. I did not grow up in the country club world. When I married my husband (who is passionate about golf) we started playing together. He tried to dress me in long shorts and an oversized polo. It was awful; I shopped at stores I would NEVER shop in to try and mix my style with the golf regulations. I was never satisfied, I never felt confident and I felt like I was trying to be someone else. Antonia and I play together at our club for many years. Our backgrounds compliment each other as I have a fresh perspective on the attire with respect for tradition, and Antonia has the family history and rich, wonderful memories of the heyday of tennis.
GSTT: Any predictions for the finals?
Meagan: I always root for the underdogs…but we’ll have to wait and see!
GSTT: If you could dress one player, lady or gentlemen, in Hedge, who would it be?
Meagan: Tough question. I’d be honored if Maria Sharapova wore Hedge because she has such unique, classic style.
GSTT: What’s it been like being an independent entrepreneur in the tennis fashion space?
Meagan: Starting a business is not easy. We have surely made our fair share of mistakes! That being said, the reward from customer’s excitement about the brand and the media’s response keeps us motivated!
GSTT: What should we look forward to in the next 12 months for Hedge?
Meagan: Hedge will definitely show more color options, and a few more basics. We will always have fresh, unique pieces to offer but the best thing about Hedge which is unlike other brands is that our designs are classic. They never go out of style and you will always be able to buy the Darrow Skirt you love or the Dune Dress you wore out over the years. We love feedback and listening to customer’s requests and likes and dislikes about their tennis gear is all taken into consideration so please tell us what you need. We are also working on finding more vendors across the country and abroad so customers can touch and feel and try the product in person.
GSTT: For our friends and guests who want to meet you in person and try on your designs, when will you be with us at the Hospitality House?
Meagan: Hedge will be for sale at the Hospitality House during the two weeks of Wimbledon. The Co-Founders will be there July 3rd-6th to meet and greet guests; we can’t wait to meet you and see the staff all decked out!
GSTT: Thanks, Meagan. See you next week!