Childhood rebellion comes in all shapes and sizes. For Chis Molnar, it was ignoring his father’s advice to stay far, far away from the fashion industry. “He 100 percent said don’t get involved in the fashion industry because of how tough a business it is,” Molnar recalled. He watched his father — a Hungarian immigrant — go from selling Mercedes cars in the 1970s to leading Hugo Boss to “global dominance” by the 1980s. Years later, Molnar experienced his own evolution as an industry mogul as well. From helping launch small niche brands, to working at the more well-known houses of John Varvatos and Michael Kors, he spent time building his skills and reputation before fully embarking on what has always been the dream.
Now he has successfully founded his own brand, one that embodies his love of high style and minimalism: Goodlife. The name itself gives shoppers the message that this is a label they are meant to truly feel good in. It all started with the t-shirt — something Molnar still cherishes as the cornerstone of his brand — and all pieces are meant to flow together seasonally, so you can build a wardrobe that will take you wherever you’d like to go, whenever you’d like to be there.
Goodlife’s most recent collaboration with The Surf Lodge is about using the DNA of the Hamptons staple to bring its product to life, Molnar said. As part of their “hoody program” with The Surf Lodge, they’ve recreated their classic hoodies inspired by their host’s signature colors as well as a World Cup release to celebrate the tournament. The brand has also collaborated with photographer Ben Watts and luxury travel company BLADE, among others. While Goodlife is not a direct-to-consumer brand, you can get your hands on some collection pieces via retailers like Nordstrom nationwide.
Hamptons Monthly caught up with Chris to learn a little more about the brand…
Was designing your own label always the goal? When did you realize this was the dream?
I originally started the idea of the brand in 1999 when I was 19 years old. It has changed immensely, but yeah, it had been a dream for a long time.
How did you approach your very first collection?
I wanted to offer something different within our market segment. I knew I wasn’t reinventing the wheel, but I still wanted to separate this brand from the competition.
When you’re conceptualizing collections, what is it you hope to communicate to your customers?
That you can look good and have style with the most simple item of clothing.
Tell us a bit about your project with Ben Watts.
Ben has been a friend for years. He has this awesome brand identity for his style of photography. He has signature colors and monikers so it was fun and easy to take those elements and incorporate them into products we do really well.
Do you have any collaborations in the works for the future? What would your dream collab be?
We’re doing a collab with denim brand 3×1 this September as well as the Classic Car Club in Manhattan. We are also doing a sneaker with California-based SeaVees for Holiday that I am really excited about. Our dream collab, currently, would probably be with a car brand: Porsche, Audi, or a Jeep Wrangler.
We know you can’t possibly pick a favorite child, but what’s the piece that makes you most happy when you think about it? Perhaps it brings back memories of its conception.
Our business started with, and is still driven by, the perfect t-shirt.
If someone is going to purchase one piece from Goodlife this summer, which should it be?
Our Essential Swim Trunk or Apres Beach Terry Short.
What can we look forward to seeing from your brand in the future?
We are launching sweaters for the upcoming holiday, made from baby alpaca in Peru. They are beautiful. Very excited for these.