Owner/operator: Michael Borisenok
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
Having the right gear can make or break any adventure, and having the right clothing is no exception. Greater Than Sports (GTS Clothing) offers a creative blend of comfortable athletic wear and casual street wear that is perfect for hiking and outdoor activities. Being located in Saratoga Springs and so close to the Adirondack Mountains, the Park offers the perfect proving ground for these quality clothes with sustainable roots. Creative founders Mike Borisenok, Dan Gejay and Kelly Sullivan are involved in every step of the process, from design and production to marketing and customer service.
We actually learned about GTS Clothing from one of our PureADK ambassadors, Bryce LaDuc, who also penned a few blog posts for GTS, including an inspirational story about her journey to becoming an Adirondack 46er. We recently asked one of the GTS founders, Mike, a few questions about the company and beyond.
What was the inspiration behind the creation of GTS?
The inspiration behind Greater Than Sports came during an anthropology class back at the University of New Hampshire. Our class was talking about culture and how today’s brands have a direct impact on shaping them. We watched a documentary about Coco Chanel and the inspiration behind her brand. She was no longer interested in wearing the long uncomfortable dresses everybody else was, and wanted to base her brand on what she liked to wear. She went against the grain and developed her own signature style that revolutionized fashion. While sitting in class taking this all in, I began to think about what I wore daily: athletic wear. Yes it was “athletic” wear, but it was being worn away from sports or exercise. It started to become more of a lifestyle type of clothing and I felt that the fashion behind it lacked and that it wasn’t being made for the right target markets. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and I loved the idea of creating something myself that could be adopted into someone else’s everyday life. After graduating UNH in 2012 I teamed up with Kelly and Dan – also UNH graduates – and dove in headfirst.
When did you develop an interest in fashion and design?
At the beginning it was all about developing an eye for which styles were gaining the most traction. We tried to bring products to market that were very similar to what was already out there. That was okay starting out selling mostly to friends and friends of friends, but we knew that if we wanted to lead instead of follow we would need to learn the ins and outs of the industry. That’s when my interest in fashion and design started and began to grow. We learned all about pattern making, fabrics, sewing and how to work the machinery we would need to make it all happen. The more we learned, the more our own style began to take shape, and our passion only grew from there.
If you had to pick one item out of your line right now as your favorite, what would it be?
Now that we’re manufacturing all of our clothing ourselves, our pace of product release is very fast. Therefore we’re constantly turning products over (which is a good thing) and swapping out colors and styles. At this current moment… For girls I would say our Apex Leggings because the design allows them to be easily dressed up or down. Whether you’re wearing them to yoga class or on a hike or with your favorite sweater and scarf on the weekends, they’re comfortable and functional and it’s no wonder they’ve been our best seller since we released them last month. For the guys I’d have to say the Up & Out Joggers. They’re designed to be sleek and casual and like the Apex Leggings, they’re versatile – perfect for Sunday’s on the couch watching football, running in cooler weather or an evening out on the town.
What is the best part about being based in Saratoga Springs?
We absolutely love the community feel of Saratoga Springs. It’s small and tight-knit yet has a pulse that’s talked about all over the country. Between the racetrack, events downtown, SPAC and the Adirondack Park being right in our backyard there’s always something going on. Our team loves music and we’ve got tunes going all day long in our design lab, so the abundance of live music around town on the weekends is a big plus, too.
How do you incorporate sustainability into your product line?
We’ve been able to decrease the amount of waste created by bringing our production process in house where we can maximize control from sketch to shelf. We’re currently doing small-batch production runs that are fast and tight which leaves little wasted fabric. We’re always on the lookout for quality recycled polyester and as we continue to establish relationships with fabric suppliers we look at how they’re recycling fabric as well.
Being so close to the Adirondacks, do you have a favorite place to explore?
Our Marketing Director, Dan Gejay, has a house near Eagle Lake in the Pharaoh Lakes Wilderness Area so we use that as our home-base to explore the trails, peaks, ponds and streams that the area has to offer. When we don’t have as much time, the trails around Lake George are easily accessible and the views are well worth it.
What's your go-to activity in the Adirondacks?
For me it’s changing up my usual Saratoga running routes by exploring new trails. Kelly loves to hike and her golden retriever, Ryder, (also our office pup and Chief of Motivation) makes for the perfect outdoor companion. When most people head into the Adirondacks in search of peaks and views, you’ll find Dan down in the valleys chasing streams with his fly rod.