Dad's Dreams Live On
John Kirsh Sr. built a successful business from the back of the family station wagon.
To this day, his children who run Aventura Clothing try to honor their father’s dreams.
It was 1965 when a young John Kirsch Senior noticed that something was missing along his sales routes to local shops in Southern California. He was an innovator, an outdoor enthusiast, and tennis racquet salesman; the perfect qualifications to solve the problem he kept seeing. After talking to players and shop owners alike, it became evident that comfortable, stretchy shorts would enhance the player’s mobility and game but there was nothing like it on the market.
Not one to back down from a challenge, Kirsch invented and patented the Espa Twill, a blend of polyester and cotton wrapped around spandex and core-spun.
In short: stretch fabric. As he delivered racquets on his typical route, he would show shop owners his invention. From the back of his young family’s station wagon, he built a brand that would lead to national recognition and would push outdoor recreation apparel into the future.
Kirsch may have been keen to the industry’s needs because he himself was an active outdoorsman, committing to spending time with his family mountain biking, hiking, gardening, skiing, and fishing. “We did grow up on a ranch in Oregon [before moving to Northern Nevada],” says Kathleen, Kirsch’s oldest child and Aventura’s Design Director and Head Merchandiser. “We were all connected to the earth…we were always outside.”
From tennis to hiking, the Sportif short was helping people perform better in their sports. Then suddenly, “somewhere along the way,” Kathleen continues, “it became a real uniform commodity in Florida with all the crew ships – it was such a great uniform short.” As the Sportif short transitioned to the open waters, so did Kirsch. “After a while, he kind of got done with skiing and dirt biking and bought a boat,” says Kathleen. “When I was a sophomore in high school, we all flew out to Hawaii and stayed for a month, just sailing around the islands.”
His adventurous spirit propelled him through risks in business. When snow sports required clothing that would repel water, Sportif became one of the first manufacturers of Gore-Tex clothing. Sportif established itself as a premier manufacturer for companies like Eddie Bauer, L.L. Bean, and others.
Unfortunately, in 1991 John Kirsch Sr.’s twin-engine Beechcraft plane crashed into the snow-covered San Bernardino Mountains. At the drop of a hat, though, his children picked up the reins of the company in an effort to honor their father’s dream.
No one expected what would happen in 1991 to Kirsch. To this day, the legacy of this incredible man lives and breathes in what we continue to do as a company. Inspired by his boldness, we introduced sun-protective clothing and organic cotton clothing when no one else was. Because of him, we root every collection of Aventura in the outdoors and create functional clothing to make life a little easier.
His values of honesty and generosity still live on in the company you see before you.
To all you have given us, to all that you were, and to all the dads out there who equally inspire - thank you, and happy Father’s Day!