by John Russel Jones

Rhone, Men’s Health, and EVRYMAN will host the second annual Men’s Wellness Summit tonight, June 28th, as Men’s Health Month draws to a close. This virtual summit will be free and open to the public, offering an opportunity to focus on positive dialogue, finding community, and providing practical tools men can use to keep their mental health in check. We caught up with Rhone’s CEO, Nate Checketts, to see why this event was important to the men’s sportswear brand and to learn a little about where the brand is headed.

Mental Health America’s recent report on men’s mental health noted that 6 million males are affected by depression per year, which is 25% of the male population. Additionally, male suicides have been on the rise since 2000 and is the 7th leading cause of death in males. It also found that men are less likely than women to seek help. The goal of this summit is to create a space that ignites an open and positive conversation around men’s mental health and provide attendees with a necessary outlet.

This summit will bring together a group of inspiring men, from wellness experts to professional athletes, who will lend their expertise and share their experiences. This will be an event for men to discover ways to help strengthen their mind, optimize their health, exercise their emotions, and nourish their spirit as they interact with each other during the summit. Register for the summit HERE.

MR: Why is Rhone, a company that ostensibly makes workout clothes, getting involved in mental wellness? 

Nate Checketts: Our mission at Rhone is to promote and support healthier lifestyles, both physically and mentally. Rhone was founded on the ethos of creating a community that helps one another in their pursuit of progress – and too often men avoid opening up about their mental health issues when they’re struggling. We recognized this barrier to conversation, access, and resources for support and began identifying opportunities like the summit where we can destigmatize the issue of men’s mental health. This issue has become an increasingly important pillar for the brand – and we’re proud to partner with EVRYMAN and Men’s Health on our second annual virtual wellness summit and create a space for an open and positive conversation around the topic and continue to collectively use our platforms to provide a necessary outlet for attendees.

MR: We know that apparel can affect your state of mind: For instance, during the pandemic lockdown, we were encouraging people to dress for work, even though they were working from home, to keep focused and productive. How do you think that spills over into dressing for a workout? 

NC: We want our customers to really feel that sense of support and confidence when they wear our clothes. In everything we design, we keep comfort, movement, and technology top of mind. Whether that means infusing one of our dress shirts with anti-odor technology and sweat-wicking properties or adding flexible, anti-chaffing fabric to gym wear, we’re always anticipating the customers’ needs and ensuring that every product inspires success wherever their journey takes them.

MR: Rhone has been pushing the boundaries for a while now beyond workout to the rest of a man’s wardrobe. Where do you see that going in the near future? 

NC: We’re constantly evaluating the industry landscape and identifying opportunities for growth to provide customers with the best clothing experience possible. Part of this process manifests in category expansions, allowing our team to get into the details of particular activities and customize collections to the specific needs of wearers. For example, we recently launched a golf collection, which is tailored to the unique needs of the sport and includes features such as lightweight body fabric at the shoulder and back yoke for increased mobility, as well as a contoured mock neck for obstacle-free playing. As the brand continues to grow, we’re going to keep pushing the limits on our offerings and making sure Rhone is a one-stop shop for all our consumers’ closet needs.

MR: Who are your retail partners? I see you have an extensive network with Equinox and Barry’s Boot Camp. 

NC: Our Commuter collection is a widely loved category among consumers, and they can shop our assortment at any of our seven retail stores in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and California. Additionally, we’re sold at all Nordstrom locations, Dillard’s, and are also a proud partner of Stitch Fix. We’re firm believers that physical retail, whether it’s wholesale or our own store, is a vital element of our growth strategy as it allows our customers to touch and feel the quality of our products first-hand.

MR: Are you doing anything related to this summit in partnership with retailers or at your brick-and-mortar stores? 

NC: Rhone is committed to cultivating engaging in-store experiences, whether that be through events, partnerships, special offerings, and more. We also host numerous activations throughout the year to provide a platform to learn about, a forum to discuss, and a community to identify in the pursuit of mentally healthier lifestyles. This week, in addition to our summit with EVRYMAN and Men’s Health, we’re also taking part in Westfield Century City’s monthly health and wellness series “Wellness Wednesday” which focuses on discovering your best self, inside and out. Attendees can join Rhone for a 90-minute Wim Hof seminar led by Certified Wim Hof instructor, Sam Whiting, at their Century City store. The goal of these events, like our Summit with EVRYMAN and Men’s Health and the Wellness Wednesday, is to show men that Rhone is a safe space where they can be as vulnerable and open as they feel comfortable – and be a space where there’s no judgment.