Our Story


I never stepped on a sailboat until I moved to New York City – admittedly, an unusual place to take up sailing. But from the moment I first took the helm, I fell in love. I loved the feel of the wind on my face, the sound of the water rushing by the hull, and the easy camaraderie of the crew. Confidence, exhilaration, freedom – I found all of these learning to sail in New York Harbor.

What I didn’t love – and this was a common refrain among my sailing friends – was the women’s sailing apparel on offer. Most sailing clothing was designed for men, meaning fit was a problem – or for extreme weather conditions, not a summer day in NYC. So I set out to design some warm weather sailing basics that would work both on the boat and at the bar after the sail. 12° West was born.

Julie Hylton - Founder & CEO - 12 Degrees West - Women's Sailing Gear

Julie Hylton


divider colors
Sunset from the deck of a sailboat in the Caribbean - 12 Degrees West


Our clothing is designed by women, for women, with a focus on fit and performance. We worked with top pattern makers in NYC’s garment district to ensure a female specific fit that functions and flatters. We sourced exceptional quality performance fabrics, and then added details – zip pockets, sun protection, a D-ring to attach necessities – that help you be at your best on the boat. And finally, we infused everything with a fashion forward attitude that carries you from the deck to the docks in style.

divider colors


What does 12° West mean? In sailing terms, it’s the approximate deviation from true north to magnetic north at New York Harbor – and a nod to the inspiring place we learned to sail. It’s also a new direction in sailing apparel for women – clothing that delivers fit, function and style so you can fully experience the joy of being on the water. Sailing wear that is a slight deviation from the expected and the traditional. Get on board, it’s going to be a beautiful sail!

Want to know more? Find out what we stand for.

12° West is deeply grateful to Jon Michael Gimpel/JMRabbit Photography for many of the images on this site. Click here to see more of his work.

Additional photography generously provided by Colleen Sturtevant; click here to see her portfolio.