All around awesome guy and founder of Goodlife, Mr. Chris Molnar has discovered a recipe for success, turning out collection after collection of simple but perfect knitwear. We spent a lengthy morning in west Chelsea with the menswear designer and his trusty sidekick, Diego.
Like yesterday (and likely the day before it) Chris Molnar walks out the front door of his Chelsea apartment in uniform: Common Projects sneakers, a pair of 3×1 denim, and a t-shirt made by his very own Goodlife. Unlike most days, however, we’re standing on the sidewalk to greet him.
“Hey guys! Thanks for coming down,” he says, with a firm handshake and winsome smile. We’re meeting up to spend some time learning about Mr. Molnar’s story, his plans for the future of his brand, and, perhaps most importantly, to join him in taking his inseparable canine companion Diego for a walk along the High Line.
Mr. Molnar and his rescue pup lead us through the neighborhood at a leisurely pace. Chelsea is especially picturesque this time of year, with a tepid bustle of activity that will soon give way to a deluge of tourists looking for the perfect lunch spot. Before we get too far, a late morning breeze pushes us toward the stately High Line Hotel, where we stop for an espresso on the back patio. We sit. Take some pictures. And talk family history.
“I was basically born into the fashion industry,” Chris explains. “When I was fourteen, my dad would bring me Italian t-shirts, and I’d wear them with whatever jeans I was wearing back then along with a pair of Vans or Nike Agassi’s. It was a mix that probably inspired me, and is still basically what I do today.” His father, a Hungarian immigrant, worked as a Mercedes salesmen in LA before launching Hugo Boss in North America in the late seventies. Chris watched and learned the persistence and payoff of hard work, as his father helped establish the brand’s dominance in the market through the 1980’s. When his family relocated to Northern New Jersey, Chris was positioned in a front row seat to witness the pace and passion of fashion in New York City.
At the age of 27, with a college degree and a number of internships under his belt, Molnar joined the John Varvatos team to launch Star USA. “That was a pretty big career route for me,” says Chris. “I learned a ton working for John directly. I started getting in touch with merchandising and understanding how to put collections together with him and the team of designers.”
Chris developed a tight relationship with Mr. Varvatos and quickly learned how to merchandise their showrooms. After four years, Chris joined up with WP Lavori, a major Italian distribution brand, then moved on to run men’s sales at Michael Kors. This exposure to a new level of design and merchandising revealed an opening in the market. “I wanted to create a brand that had a pretty simple product, but one that exuded a real lifestyle. It could be a 50-year-old guy driving in his Porsche in Montauk. Or it could be some guy in Europe. Or it could be some kid who’s 25 living in Nebraska.” The goal was to build a product of simplicity and quality, but one that inspired the feeling of living the good life. Thus, Goodlife was born.
In the past several years, Goodlife has matured into something pretty special. This brand has all the makings of a modern classic. From a fit standpoint, these t-shirts seem to defy physics, fitting a wide variety of shapes, heights, and widths perfectly. Every time. The product line has enough diversity to offer something for every preference — be it long or short sleeve, solids or stripes, crew or v-neck or henley — and yet tight enough to feel focused and cohesive. You’ll pretty much find knits (and little else) in their offering from season to season, which is refreshing. A lot of brands tend to do too much too quickly. Goodlife is focused on doing less, but doing it really damn well.
“I’m not an ego-driven designer,” says Chris. “We want to be good at one thing, and right now that’s premium knitwear. Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, we want to stick to our guns, and really be known for one thing.”
Everything is made in a high end factory in downtown L.A. with American-made fabrics. And while waving the “Made in USA” flag isn’t something Chris is 100% set on doing forever, you can rest assured he’s committed to making the best feeling and fitting tees around, wherever and however it makes business sense to manufacture them. The result is a product you can wear pretty much anywhere a collar isn’t called for. From beach to mountains to the inner city, Goodlife feels right at home. Which is probably a direct result of Chris’s active lifestyle: he and Diego are constantly on the go, from sand to sea to snow. Or, like today, simply enjoying a long walk through the concrete jungle.
After wrapping up our morning, Mr. Molnar is off to a meeting, and we’re hungry for lunch. Chris sends us on our way to a standing room only sandwich shop around the corner, Rocket Pig, for a spice-rubbed pork sandwich, dripping with red onion jam and mustard sauce and house-made pickles. It’s simple but perfect. No wonder he’s a fan.
Shop our favorite Goodlife selects below, or browse the entire collection at enjoyyourgoodlife.com.
Core Scallop Crew
This tee uses the same body as Goodlife’s crewneck t-shirt with an added curved shirt hem. The supima/tencel jersey blend is amazingly soft, cooling, moisture wicking, and has anti-microbial properties.
Terry 1/4 Zip Baja
This is a fall-friendly hoody at its finest. Goodlife’s pullover baja hoody features a split hem detail made from an overdyed heather terry that has a luxe, textural look. Finished with a polished gunmetal zipper, contrast colored ribbed cuffs, and a shirting fabric hood lining.
Tri-Blend Split Hem Henley
Goodlife may have created the perfect henley. Perfectly fitting with a unique split hem, the premium tri-blend fabric develops a soft, textured, and lived in look as you wash and wear it.
This classic crew neck shirt is made from Goodlife's very own supima blend jersey. It has an incredibly soft feel and flattering drape for most shapes, sizes, and heights. If you’re looking for a simple, perfectly fitting black tee, this is it.