This Local Streetwear Line Has Everything You Need to Stay Comfy During COVID
Stock up on those sweatpants and hoodies before hibernation season.
2020 was the year of the sweatpant, and it’s looking like 2021 will be, too. In fact, Marina Varano is betting on it. Like most of us, the Lynnfield native has spent a lot of time nesting in her favorite loungewear pieces since March—so much time that she decided to launch an entirely new clothing brand, ABG, full of the “comfy, cozy vibes” that make up her daily wardrobe (think: cropped hoodies, high-waisted sweatpants, embroidered beanies, socks, and slide sandals).
Though she’s always had a passion for clothing design, Varano—who currently divides her time between Massachusetts and Los Angeles, where she is pursuing an acting career—at first shied away from starting her own business during such an uncertain time. Some encouragement from her family helped persuade her. “My dad really pushed me to start ABG, even during the pandemic,” she says. Entrepreneurialism runs in the family, after all: Her father, Nick Varano, is the restaurateur behind some of the city’s most beloved Italian eateries, including Strega in the North End. “He said that whether it’s a pandemic or something else, things are always going to be happening. As long as you’re working hard and putting your best into your craft, I don’t think anything can really stop you.”
Fittingly, the name ABG—an acronym for “always be grateful”—is an ode to her family. “‘It was something my nonna would always say,” Varano says. “She came over [to the U.S.] at 16 with my dad, didn’t have a dollar, and gave my dad the best she could… Life is going to have ups and downs, but it’s all about perspective. Always be grateful.”
The inspiration for the brand’s streetwear aesthetic, however, comes from a little farther from home. “In L.A., if you go out to a nice lounge for dinner and drinks, you’ll see girls in really nice sweatpants, they’ll wear them with heels, or maybe it’s high-waisted sweatpants with a crop top. I’ve always thought it was so interesting,” Varano says. “In Boston if you dress like that, the restaurant might not even let you in, but in California it’s considered cool.”
Don’t make the mistake of thinking Varano is catering only to a laid-back SoCal customer, though. With neutral colors and a contemporary fit, her pieces are designed to appeal to everyone—even Bostonians, who “dress to be taken more seriously”—and can be worn head-to-toe as a fashion statement or integrated with existing wardrobe staples. “Maybe it’s a full two-piece sweatpant set, or maybe it’s jeans with a belt and a hoodie,” says Varano, who also has a bomber jacket, swimwear, and an expanded men’s offering in the works. The point, ultimately, is to make getting dressed an easy, enjoyable, and comfortable experience. “Mix things up and find what works.”