From outfit to operation: Andrea Piovan and Giovanna Novello have a global brand with For Horses
When Andrea Piovan entered his first cutting competition in Italy, he found himself with an interesting dilemma: He couldn’t find anything that suited him to wear, so he asked his wife Giovanna if she could make something for him.
The couple couldn’t possibly have had the foresight to understand the impact the resulting western attire would have on their lives. But it was that single outfit that would lead to the launch of the couple’s For Horses collection, now one of the equestrian industry’s most prominent equestrian apparel brands worldwide in the disciplines of jumping, dressage, western and leisure riding.
The Piovans are riders, designing with riders in mind, and each item in the For Horses collection is created for a specific purpose, whether it be to support riders in a particular climate, with an intended style or fit, or to use technology to improve functionality and comfort in an equestrian’s lifestyle. This, of course, all while maintaining a high level of elegance.
“Since I was a child, I’ve always had horses, and when I went to compete, I couldn’t find the right clothing. Nothing fit my needs completely,” Andrea recalled. “When I met Giovanna, I asked her if she could make me something for me. I wanted something to be comfortable but elegant as well. In my first competition, I was wearing what Giovanna made for me, and my friends kept asking me about it, so we decided to produce more of the clothes at home—just me and Giovanna, by ourselves.”
Elegance, comfort and innovation have remained the foundations of the company’s mission as it’s branched out from western wear to serving the greater sport horse industry. It did not take long for the Piovans to outgrow their small at-home operation, but the couple remains exceptionally hands-on, with their production now based just three miles from their home in the Veneto region of Italy, historically famous for its rich roots in textile and fashion. Giovanna is the company’s designer, while Andrea, a chemical engineer, develops the technology in the brand’s innovative fabrics. If the couple isn’t satisfied in the components of a fabric, they will simply create their own.
“When we married, we mixed our passions and our knowledge,” Giovanna said.
Breeches have become best-sellers for For Horses.
A Family Tradition
Giovanna and Andrea are involved in every aspect of their business; even closer than their company headquarters are their horses, stabled at home.
While Andrea began riding at an early age, Giovanna found the sport in her teens. Growing up a talented dancer, the foundation for For Horses was laid when her mother Anna began designing her own dance wear.
“During the 1980s, all the dance garments were black with no elastic. It wasn’t comfortable,” Giovanna explained. “[My mother] started to make colorful [options] for me, and everybody was looking at me in admiration of the clothes.”
That launched a company in its own merit, and when an injury forced Giovanna away from a dance career, she joined the family business.
“My mother taught me everything, and we made everything,” Giovanna said. “I learned how to sew, how to use a sewing machine, and I realized after a while that my talent was in design. I was lucky that I could learn everything about fashion [through the family business].”
The For Horses breeches, For Horses best sellers for their lightness and stretch, stem from Giovanna’s dance background, where the fabrics allow for the ultimate freedom of movement.
“Like Andrea, when I started riding I also couldn’t find anything to wear that was comfortable,” Giovanna said. “I used to wear my dance leggings to ride. I found the other breeches very stiff. I said, 'I have to make something more comfortable for me and for other riders.'”
With elegance, comfort and innovation behind every product release, For Horses apparel continues to be made to order in Italy.
As the For Horses brand grew in scope, Andrea and Giovanna took the leap and expanded For Horses to the U.S. in 2012. The company has now been present in America for nearly 10 years.
“I’ve had horses in the U.S. since 2004, and during one international competition, I looked around and realized that the For Horses brand could be present in the U.S. market,” Andrea recalled. “We opened the For Horses, LLC in the U.S. to give our customers the convenience in receiving quicker, convenient service. It began a wonderful experience for us here.”
Often recognized by the stylized FH knee grip design on its breeches, For Horses is now a recognizable brand at horse shows around the country, with its U.S. branch based out of Wellington, FL. There is strength in numbers, but despite the company’s global growth and evolution, For Horses’ core mission and hands-on production process remains unchanged. With elegance, comfort and innovation behind every product release, For Horses apparel continues to be made to order in Italy, with a stringent quality control process for all products before they are shipped stateside.
“Each product that I create and we produce is a product that meets a need,” Giovanna said. “We have a collection here, and every year, we try to keep something out, but we never can. All of our products are important, and some people might prefer one style or fit over another. This is truly a personal passion that has transformed into a business, and we’re very proud of it.”
Defining a Brand
These three For Horses products perfectly encompass the company's mission: to offer elegant, comfortable, innovative items in the equestrian market.
EMMA is a modern breech with a mid-rise waistline and back pocket flap design, feminine and flattering for all shapes and sizes. The uniquely tailored curved waistband allows for a comfortable fit, support and refined look. Emma is made using a durable and resistant fabric that is breathable, moisture wicking and multi-stretch for complete ease of movement while riding. The long-lasting knee grip is shaped in an original FH stylized horse design, without seams for added comfort and closeness in the saddle.
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ATHENA leggings are ideal on hot days thanks to the breathability of the fabric, while their high elasticity supports every kind of movement. The stylish belt loops, piping detail and tailoring give ATHENA a unique, elegant style, and push-up effect similar to a classic breech.
"When I created these leggings in 2015, Andrea said, ‘You’re crazy!’ But I wanted to be comfortable, like I was as a dancer—to use the same technology that's in the breeches with the comfort of a second skin. When people tried them, they fell in love, so I’m very partial to this product, because we were the first one to create it. I think it’s very representative of our brand." -Giovanna Novello
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KAP Leisure Wear
KAP is a bomber style hoodie with high collar closing, made with a triple-layer unique thermal FH fabric. KAP has the thermal features of an outdoor jacket and the comfort of a sweatshirt, making it ideal for cool-weather riding. KAP is breathable and keeps your body at a constant temperature, so you don't sweat through the fabric in the saddle.
"The idea for KAP came from exercise garments. I couldn’t find the fabric that I wanted, so I decided to make it myself. KAP is a mix of three fabrics that were very breathable and comfortable. In the early stages of the company, people knew us for these garments, and we became famous for them in Italy." -Giovanna Novello
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