ARIAT engaged RGLA to design their first retail store prototype in Fresno, CA with plans for a rollout program in key selective cities around the country. Lexington was chosen as the brand’s second retail location as it is a city immersed in the equestrian lifestyle, seeing a strong influence of both English and Western riders, as well as farming/agriculture.To continue to build upon the key brand attributes of innovation, performance, quality, strength of character, hard work and authenticity, the store in Lexington uses similar design cues as the one in Fresno, eliciting an emotional response to the equestrian lifestyle with reference to the modern barn. It exemplifies riders in action, while it also captures the deeply rooted brand connection to the horse…a connection ingrained in the name as Ariat is derived from Secretariat, one of the most acclaimed racehorses of all times. The strong affinity of Ariat’s community of riders and people committed to the brand’s lifestyle has been key in providing a strong theme for the store. The store design plays up the riding lifestyle and the brand’s passion for the horse. Riding horses is a way of life, and the stable is a place that is grounded in this tradition. The design uses influences from the traditional barn/stable environment but re-purpose it with a modern twist. A mix of natural elements with modern stable influences like white and open truss structures, hanging lighting, wood beams with tools of trade, purposeful hanging of saddlery and equipment are all introduced to elevate the brand’s fashion-forward appeal with traditional western influences. To bring the technology/innovation of the ARIAT boot front and center to the experience, an interactive boot wall was designed to communicate the distinct performance attributes of each boot on display which set the brand apart. The display is activated when shoppers pick-up a boot from the display. The digital screen then brings the performance features/benefits of the boot showing a deconstructed soul to showcase the boot technology with added testimonials from equestrian athletes. To build on the authenticity and tangible qualities of the brand, leather and raw hides, reclaimed wood, die cut metal, tin ceiling material, and varied flooring types were all used to bring the brand to life. Tables and fixtures exhibit a workmanship and handmade quality that fits the brand’s personality. This project was recently recognized by Shop! Design Awards as a Gold Winner in the category of Softline Specialty Retail 3001 – 7,500 sf.