Following The Girls of OVERT

the style line overt ny

Photos of OVERT’s Sarah Saxty and Lauren Kozica by Bridget Badore for The Style Line

Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Shop OvertPhotos by Bridget Badore

“Connection is one of the most important parts of OVERT.

co-founder Sarah Saxty relayed in our interview below, “We always consider the reality of the story we are telling, representing the women in the city, and the daily challenge of “doing it all”. We hope that we identify with real women doing real things and connect with the emotion of being a woman doing it all.” In matters of personal style, the idea of “fashion-meets function” is no longer a luxury in this day and age. In fact, Sarah and her co-founder Lauren Kozica have been able to seamlessly blend the two to create a piece that streamlines our approach to getting dressed, but perhaps more importantly getting out the door. Enter the brand’s signature backpack the ‘Noho’ which is on it’s way to becoming every woman’s essential accessory. But beyond designing a quality product, the two co-founders contend that OVERT was founded with a premise to also foster a sense of community – one that cultivates authentic connection and conversation between real modern women, whose shared values include always being en route and never compromising style for functionality.

Their #FollowTheGirl campaign speaks more to these ideals, and was something that piqued our interest in getting to know more about the two amazing girls behind this budding staple brand. Fortunately Sarah and Lauren kindly allowed us to follow them for an afternoon of discovery in Manhattan’s coveted West Village neighborhood. On our way to grab a quick coffee at The Elk (another favorite of ours here at The Style Line), we learned a few key points about this dynamic duo: They both hail from fashion backgrounds and have been able to contribute their unique expertise in developing OVERT, they have an affinity for city life and style, and they relish great conversation over an even greater meal. It came as no surprise to us that they both seamlessly embody the OVERT woman – one whom is well-traveled, well-dressed and infinitely in motion. So with our penchant for discovery and exploration we were excited to have the opportunity to chat more with Sarah and Lauren about their individual journeys, the process of creating OVERT and defining “the girl” and her lifestyle. Discover moments from our conversation and afternoon together below.

the style line overt ny

I am Sarah – but most people call me Sax,

or Saxty which is my last name. A lot of who I am is evident in OVERT – both on the aesthetic front and in my lifestyle and interests. Being creative, working out, drinks with friends, eating good food, exploring and travelling, learning new things – working and laughing. I have always been a pretty determined person and I thrive on diversity and progression (or good coffee and wine). I love being busy, to be constantly challenged and enjoy being out of my comfort zone every now and then – I hate complacency! So boring. My fashion career started at at the careers library – before the days of easy internet searches! I knew I wanted to work in the fashion industry but didn’t want to be a designer, I always said I don’t want my work to be a job, I want it to be what I do. My decided goal was to become a Buyer, I liked the idea of a role that combined business with creativity. I started out in Retail on the shop floor, and over the following 10 years progressed into the head office of a couple of large Australian brands. I worked my way up from photocopying to a Buying and Product Development role in Accessories.

the style line overt ny

Fortunately I have had the opportunity of continuing my work when I moved, but in a Trends and Research capacity.Like many, I fell in love with New York on my first visit (in 2009) which lucky for me was a Buying trip for work. I vowed to my colleagues “one day I will live here” – I moved just over 3 years ago from Australia, and haven’t looked back. Let’s say my honeymoon phase didn’t end and my love affair for this city is still as strong as ever. I live in a walk up (thankfully only 1 floor!) in Noho and spend most of my personal time downtown, with the occasional hang out in Brooklyn. I love exploring new cities (or just this one!) and discovering new things. I am notorious for my addiction to research and am guilty of creating some pretty serious spreadsheets whenever I am going somewhere new… sometimes I wonder if I should have started a travel company. I enjoy working out and go to the gym at least 3 times a week where I can; I take 1 yoga class every Friday morning before work, it is my release and escape from the constant hustle of the city. This is something I have been working recently, somethign new I have come to value. My ability to let the mind be at ease. My favorite things are family, friends, food, wine and coffee – the Australian style.

the style line overt ny

I’m Lauren! I am an expectant mom, I enjoy good conversation-

and even better food, I enjoy people that make me laugh and I like a change of scenery every now and then, whether that be an exotic trip or a fresh coat of paint in my apartment. I value honest and loyal people. I value a sense of balance and being grateful for everything I have.

If we were to #FollowTheGirl where would we find her during her usual day-to-day?

Sarah: If I model her on myself… She starts her day by working out, on the days she can get out of bed in time and didn’t have that extra glass of wine at dinner! She hurries to get ready for work whilst sipping on hot water with lemon, and eating some raw muesli with yoghurt and berries. Out the door, onto the subway and at her first meeting (coffee in hand from La Colombe or Happy Bones – depending on what location she is in).
the style line overt ny
She gets a salad for lunch at the usual spots like Sweet Green or Hale and Hearty but if she is busy she will order in. When the work day is over, she is off to meet a friend for Happy Hour downtown – frequenting places like YN near her apartment, or Soho House if she is west side. Dinner, often with a friend varies from cheap and cheerful Pho in Chinatown to her local faves like Jack’s Wife Freda, or The Smile. She falls asleep flicking through Instagram or reading a dated New York Mag until the alarm rings again the next day.
Lauren: You find her meditating, spinning, drinking green tea, knocking back an espresso, running down to the subway, jumping on a city bike, hailing a cab, in a board meeting, writing a business plan, on a tinder date, at a gallery opening, on the couch, catching up on sleep…

Are there any women in the OVERT community (and beyond) that really embody the essence of the brand? 

Sarah: All of them! That is the beauty of the OVERT Girl – she really is all of us. When we were building out the concept of OVERT and “The Girl” 2 years ago, we always used the phrase – she is your friend, she is you, she is us – and it still resonates. It is the lifestyle of living in New York City that is the common thread – it embodies the brand fully.
the style line overt ny

Lauren: My business partner Sarah. Our brand is based on our life. We are OVERT. Sarah is the essence of the brand. She lives and breathes the city. She balances her life between wellness, hard work, downtime and fun and that is what really embodies OVERT.

How has the inclusion of OVERT in your personal style affected your thoughts on fashion and it’s role in our lives?

Sarah: Starting my own brand has shifted my opinion on not just fashion, but brands as a whole. I also think the fashion world has changed immensely generally speaking especially since my first fashion job over 10 years ago! Building OVERT has helped me to see and appreciate the value of a story behind a brand. There are a lot of talented designers out there, and a lot of inspiring brands – combining the design and the brand story is what makes one stand out from the next and the ones that will really connect with the emotions of the community.
Lauren: Since moving to NYC five years ago and now building OVERT, when it comes to fashion and personal style, I now spend a lot more time and money investing in functional and practical pieces. I want items I can wear all day, in almost any situation with minor touch ups. I still want to make a statement and express my style, but I’d rather invest in a pair of Isabel Marant sneakers, than a pair of Manolo Blahnik stilettos.
the style line overt ny

How does OVERT cultivate a sense of connection?

Sarah: Connection is one of the most important parts of OVERT. We always consider the reality of the story we are telling, representing the women in the city, and the daily challenge of “doing it all”. We hope that we identify with real women doing real things and connect with the emotion of being a woman doing it all.”
 Lauren: OVERT celebrates city life. Any one girl living in a city, always on the go and dealing with the day to day challenges from that, can relate to OVERT. That forms a sense of connection.

What pros and cons has the increasingly present role of technology played in building a lifestyle brand?

Sarah: Keeping up! That is the con – the world of technology, and most specifically social or digital media is evolving at such a rapid pace. The pro – is the opportunity this growth and development brings, to try new things and to connect with the community on so many different levels both as a business and as an individual.
the style line overt ny

Lauren:  It means we can connect with our audience on so many different levels. Social media in particular plays a huge role in building our brand. It allows us to bring together the OVERT community, our can girls interact and share their experiences, whether that be on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook or Snapchat. I find it hard to constantly keep up but disconnect at the same time. I love technology and I’m addicted to my electronic devices, but the more tools, apps and social media platforms popping up, the harder it is for me to switch off. I think the same goes in relation to building a brand. The more we connect through technology, the harder is it to go back to basics. To hear and see things in real life, the old school way.

What role do you think creativity plays in some of the world’s bigger conversations and how do you think OVERT is contributing to this shift in thinking?

Sarah: Creativity can be design driven, and about aesthetics, but it can also be a way of thinking, or a way of living, so I think it plays a strong part in the foundation of most if not all conversations. Many of the world’s larger conversations will pose a problem, and what can bring us all together is a creative conversation that will help to form a strategy to solve the problem. At OVERT we design and create from function. We are inspired by real life in the city. It is important to us in every move we make, that we consider the “function” of our product, and the reality of the story we portray. We hope that we identify with real women doing real things in the city, and connect with the emotion of being a woman doing it all.

The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration and transit. With this in mind, if what is your “the style line” in your wardrobe?

Sarah: New York is my style line, it drives all of my decision factors. My daily choices are influenced by my mood, by my calendar for the day (how much am I walking) and what isn’t at the dry cleaner and the big one – the weather! Like a true OVERT Girl – I am always on the go, from one place to the next. On some days I might go from a 9AM coffee to an 11PM cocktail – and everything in between. My style needs to reflect that and function is key. Which brings me right back to the Noho Bag – the bag that does it all! Every morning I pack it with my laptop, notebooks and chargers, my black klean kanteen water bottle, daily essentials. I would describe my style as pretty modern and clean, slightly tomboy-esque. I stick to a greyscale color palette, and my creativity comes into play with shape and texture, I love volume (even though I am tiny which is usually a fashion no no) and interesting fabrications or hardware details. I have a set of 2 vintage silver coil rings I wear almost every day and never tire of them. Typically I’ll be wearing Rag and Bone jeans, J.Brand leather pants, or vintage Levi’s cut-offs in the summer. A shirt of some type – an oversized silk Equipment style, or a more structured white poplin shape like Acne, and my Nike trainers or Acne boots – one of my most favorite things in my wardrobe are my gold Acne pistol boots.
I bought them when I first moved here despite being absolutely broke – they were worth the sacrifice that week, they are incredibly versatile and always make a simple outfit stand out. I like to do that – add something to my outfit that might not “match”, a stand out piece.
Having said that, in the summer I’m totally impartial to a super crazy bright and colorful printed girly dress! So we are back to where we started – diversity and ever changing.

How do you celebrate personal style?

Lauren: Lately I’ve been spending many cold mornings standing in my underwear, staring down at my bump wondering what to drape it in… there hasn’t been much celebrating! I’m really all about comfort at the moment, leggings, an oversized knit and some Nike trainers.. I’m done. I’ve always been a little like that though. Comfort and simplicity has always been my thing. I seriously have cupboards full of jewelry, scarves, belts, hats… I love playing dress ups, but realistically I’m the most happy throwing on a pretty summer dress, some sandals, then getting on with my day.
Sarah: Much the same as how I live, by taking chances, being unique and true to myself.