Mask wearing during Covid gives birth to local clothing brand

Founder and CEO of Just Breethe Marc Barnfather seen here with one of his employees, Hesta Hercules.

Founding the Just Breethe clothing brand was for Marc Barnfather from Pringle Bay, an indirect result of his interest in the design of, and the negative emotions people experienced with the mandatory masks during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This led him to examine other items of clothing worn regularly for prolonged periods, their structure, functionality, and design as well as the emotional experience of the wearer. His passion for mountain biking and leisure pursuits, directed his focus to active lifestyle clothing,” a statement on the start of his business reveals.

Now, the CEO of this proudly South African brand, for Marc venturing out from a career in the construction industry after more than 30 years into the unknown world of clothing production was a huge risk.

Yet, he took the plunge and (by his own admission) not having a clue about fabrics, the family started the business in lockdown.

Three years down the line the brand has progressed. “Our best-sellers so far have been our leggings and socks. Firstly, we have 3 different sock styles and 5 different sizes so we have the perfect pair for all foot types and activities without needing to look elsewhere — our socks definitely add flair to your footwear.”

Another product they have put an immense amount of work into is leggings. “Our leggings are tailored from 15 panels and engineered to hug four points on your body which is comfortable and ultimately flattering for all shapes. All our products are locally produced from natural cottons fabrics spun in South Africa from the finest imported yarns,” Marc explains.

As to what had been some of highlights on this journey, Marc says: “Ever since we introduced our ladies premium activewear range, I’ve been genuinely delighted by the incredible customer feedback, the flourishing growth in sales, and the rewarding opportunity to support women on their unique wellness and well-being journeys.”

Marc finds the clothing production process quite rewarding, especially because it affords him the opportunity to address issues that women have come to accept as standard in their clothing.

“It’s all about problem-solving and reimagining the fit and feel, striving to strike that ideal balance between comfort and performance in every garment we create. This creative challenge is such an exciting dynamic dimension of Just Breethe that keeps my journey with the brand truly exciting and rewarding,” he explains.

He outlines the main goal of the brand. “If I had to pinpoint a singular goal that I hope to achieve through our brand, it would be to inspire people to never settle for less when it comes to their clothing choices. I want to encourage everyone, regardless of their budget, to inform themselves and seek out the best possible clothing and fit available,” he explains.

Expansion plans are on the cards once the brand excels locally. “Our primary goal is to build a strong foundation for Just Breethe as a trusted ‘proudly created in South Africa’ premium clothing brand, all while staying true to our core values and ethos that mean so much to us.

“Once we’ve further established our roots locally in South African soil, we’ll embark on an exciting international journey, taking our dedication to quality and integrity to the global market,” he says.

The journey, though challenging at times, has been worth it. “To date— to the best of our knowledge, we are the only producer of premium cotton activewear,” Marc says.

Read more about this proudly South African brand at just-breethe.com/

His interest in functional and comfortable mask-wearing during the Covid pandemic led to the birth of Marc Barnfather’s own range of active wear.
As an outdoor enthusiast himself, Marc was committed to designing and creating clothing that provided optimal fit, function and had a good feel.