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Dana Davidson | Davi & Bar

Dana Davidson, Itay Barash | Davi & Bar

Davi & Bar is a Los Angeles-based activewear brand that was founded by longtime friends and business partners, Dana Davison and Itay Barash. As lifelong fitness enthusiasts, they saw a chasm in the activewear market for flattering, sexy, and functional pieces that could keep up with them and thus Davi & Bar was born.

Tell us about your early years. Were you always interested in fashion?

I spent my childhood in Miami. I was always interested in designing and used to carry a notebook for my clothing sketches. Having said that, I didn’t go to fashion school and my work experience was completely outside of fashion. I spent some time working in offices, did some dabbling in real estate but was always thinking in the back of my mind about fashion. I’m a little surprised that we launched Davi & Bar when we did - I thought it would be much later in my career! 

You started the business with your close friend, Itay Barash. How did you meet and where did the concept for Davi & Bar come from?

We had both just moved to Los Angeles and had the same circle of friends. I remember we were catching up over coffee a couple of years ago and I was telling her about my dream to start my own brand and it turns out that she wanted to do something very similar. We were on the same page with regards to our vision and what we wanted to create. A partnership just made so much sense.

Why activewear?

We are both very much into fitness. We assumed that we would gravitate towards swimwear or clothing. Swimwear just seemed too saturated while clothing gets complex really fast. Activewear felt like a good middle ground and we felt that we were intimately familiar with the customer base who we wanted to attract. Plus, while we see a lot of great indie activewear brands today, it definitely wasn’t the case a couple of years ago. 

Given that neither of you come from a fashion background, how challenging was it to get your start?

We started with sketching out all of our ideas. That was the easy part. Then we had to figure out how to bring the drawings to life. We had a basic understanding of the initial garment-making process: first you need a patternmaker and then a seamstress to make your sample. We drove down to the Garment District in downtown LA. We found a big building that looked very official, marched in, and started knocking on doors to see if anyone knew of a patternmaker. We ended up finding a couple of folks and then narrowed it down to one who we liked. 

Rule of thumb - the first patternmaker you work with is almost certainly not the one you will continue with! We realized once the sample was made that the sewing was completely off. Fortunately, we eventually found an amazing patternmaker through a friend of mine who was an industry insider. 

Tell us about the fabrics you use in your collection.

We went through roughly 70-80 fabric swatches before finding The One. It was critical that our fabrics had enough stretch that was balanced with sufficient compression while remaining soft and comfortable for the wearer. And of course, it absolutely could not be see-through, especially in the lighter colors. We ended up finding a great nylon spandex that hit all our points and that’s been our go-to. 

What’s next for Davi & Bar?

We’ve started thinking about our next collection. We’re probably going to add a couple more colors and also launch a loungewear collection. We had such a positive response to our initial collection and we can’t wait to show what’s next!

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