Hilary Swank never knew she wanted to be a designer. Growing up, she had dreams of being a veterinarian, an astronaut, and at the age of eight, an actor—and the rest, as they say, is history. But designer? No, she never knew she was going to one day launch her own clothing line. And yet, two Academy Award wins later, the 42-year-old actress has found herself at the helm of a brand that promises to deliver "high performancewear meets high fashion," called Mission Statement.
"About a decade ago, I realized there wasn't anything on the market that could carry me from my workout in the morning to the rest of my day, but I was just too busy making movies to ever have any time to focus on anything else," Swank tells us. "But when my dad got his lung transplant and I was his sole caretaker, it was the first time that I ever spent longer than 12 weeks in one place. So in taking care of my dad, I had this opportunity where I had the time to sit and focus on this desire to see this come true."
In the decade since her initial idea, Swank knows that a little movement called "athleisure" has taken off, which is, essentially, her vision condensed into a word. But in her opinion, no one has quite nailed it. "The reason why I say that is because everyone just looks like they're in workout clothes, but I'm not trying to change something that people may already love," she says. "But I'm taking it to the next level with an alternative that's comfortable and chic, which isn't out there. I've actually coined a new term for it: 'aesthetic-wear.'"
And just like how it sounds, aesthetic-wear means highly functional designs that are both high in wearability as in aesthetic. Everything is machine-washable, including the leather pieces (Swank was adamant about this one) and cashmere-merino wool blends that Swank says are so soft, it's like wearing a cloud. She also sourced high-tech four-dimensional-stretch fabrics from Paris that are fused together in such a way that they're seamless (as in, they'll never rip or unravel). And hooded leather jackets, too, are designed as actual moto jackets, with a zip on the back for ventilation and more room for movement—perfect if you're one to commute to work on a bike.
"Being active is like drinking water or the air that I breathe—it's a fundamental basic to me," she says. "And I was finding that modern-day women now are all busy, dropping their kids off at school, going to meetings, running errands, and they don't have time to change."
And the brand encourages being active in more ways than one—Swank says she named her brand "Mission Statement" to remind people to always be in touch with their personal mission, to become their fullest authentic self. "People who have preserved through adversity is one of my biggest inspirations, she says. "So I wanted to highlight women and their stories on the site, so that together, we can continue to inspire each other and know that we're not alone in our struggles."
Mission Statement clothing is available starting today at missionstatement.com.