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We take our gear seriously at F&S, whether it be for hunting, fishing, or camping. Our selections are based on many factors, like quality, price, and purpose—just to name a few. But sometimes there’s more to a fishing jacket or hunting knife than what you see.

Through my years of covering the best outdoor gear, I’ve discovered some really cool brands with some really cool stories doing some really cool things. In our new “Behind the Brand” interview series, we are telling those stories through the words of the founders themselves.

An avid hunter and outdoorswoman, Wendy Gavinski has always known how important it is to have the right clothing, whether she was chasing whitetail in the Wisconsin woods or racing snowmobiles down trails. But there was one problem: that “right” clothing didn’t exist, at least not for women. Frustrated by the lack of options at her local sporting goods shop, she decided to start her own brand. And thus, DSG Outerwear was created.

In this exclusive interview, we had the opportunity to chat with Wendy about all things DSG, from her favorite products from the brand—including a jacket named after her own daughter—to why she’s so passionate about getting female hunters out in the field.

This is the story of the revolutionary apparel brand for women, by women—and how it’s “doing something great” for the outdoor industry.

Start from the beginning. How did you first get into the outdoors?

I grew up big into the outdoors here in Madison, Wisconsin, whether it was hunting in the fall, snowmobiling in the winter, or fishing in the summer. It was a big part of my life until college when I got a little bit too cool for it for several years. But I came back around when I met my husband who is also a big outdoors person. Once we had our kids—who are a little older now—we spent a lot of time doing family things outside.

How did you turn that passion into what is now DSG?

I actually started out doing women’s snowmobile apparel in 2010. I was frustrated over what wasn’t available for women in outdoor sports. It was the whole “shrink it and pink it” thing you hear about so much. That was the issue. Nothing was attractive or feminine or fit right. I couldn’t figure out why something like that didn’t exist.

So I just kind of took it upon myself. I didn’t have any background in clothing at all. I had to learn everything the hard way and get aligned with the right people to help me along the way to make it successful.

Once you were in business, how did you go from snowmobile to hunting gear?

It was some time around 2015 or 2016. We’re right down the road from the University of Wisconsin Madison, and we had a textile science professor reach out to us and asked if we had ever thought about doing hunting apparel for women. And we said, actually yeah, we have thought about it. We were just waiting for the right time.

This professor was studying the use of blaze pink for gun deer season in Wisconsin, which I thought was really interesting. To be a women’s gear company based in the first state to legalize blaze pink for hunting would be a great opportunity, especially if we had a blaze pink option in hand. It wasn’t our intention to launch around the new regulations, but it definitely sped up the process a little bit.

So in 2017, we went ahead and launched the women’s hunting apparel line. We teamed up with Realtree right out of the gates and used their camo patterns. It was a big success.

And you didn’t stop at just hunting apparel.

Correct. In 2019, we launched our ice fishing line, and then in spring of 2020, we came out with our open water fishing line with UPF protection shirts and shorts. And just over two. years ago, we released a smaller line of heated apparel.

What was the first hunting apparel you released?

The Kylie jacket and Kylie bibs. They’re two of our most popular products still to this day. We’re on our fifth rendition at this point. The Kylie collection is named after my daughter, too, so it’s really dear to my heart.

What are your favorite DSG products right now?

Kylie 5.0 3-in-1 Jacket

The Kylie jacket is extremely versatile and extremely warm, with a removable fleece liner that’s also a wearable layer on its own. We call it a three-in-one jacket for a reason. It has a flattering fit and it’s very quiet. It’s also completely waterproof yet breathable at the same time.

the Bibs have an adjustable inseam which, which most of our pants do have adjustable inseam it just makes it more practical for both our retailers and for our customers who might be, you know, some of them on the shorter side hate having long pants.

Reversible Puffer Vest

I wear this almost every single day because it’s just so practical. You’ve got a solid color on one side and camo on the other. I love it.

Turkey Vest

I’m really proud of our turkey vest. It’s awesome. It has a bunch of different compartments and it’s actually a women’s fit. I think it’s super comfortable.

Roller Bag

We have this amazing roller bag that’s just the right size to fit all your hunting gear, apparel, and gadgets for a weekend trip. It’s a humongous bag that is one of my favorite pieces we sell. It’s also one of our only unisex products.

What do you love most about the brand you’ve created?

I’m most proud of the level of respect we currently have. We’re pretty highly regarded in the industry now, but when I first got started back in 2010, I don’t know that I necessarily felt that way. We had to earn our reputation and get people to take us seriously. That plus giving women the confidence they need to get out and do the activities they want to do is what makes this journey so worth it.

What’s next for DSG in 2024?

As far as products go, we’re really excited about launching the Realtree APX pattern in our fall line.

We also have some really big initiatives focused on getting more women involved in the outdoors. I love seeing how the outdoor industry has grown and changed over the years, especially for women. It’s really come a long way. When I first started out, men would be like why would I want to take my wife hunting? Now it’s like why wouldn’t I want to take my wife hunting?

But it still has a long ways to go. We all know that the numbers are up for women in hunting and fishing. Now we have to catch the retailers up and make sure they’re including women in the mix, whether that’s having a ladies’ night or other similar events. Retailers and brands play a big part in shaping the future of this industry. So that’s what I’m focused on.

Do you have any tips for women who are interested in getting outside or learning how to hunt or fish?

Everybody knows somebody who hunts or fishes. So the easiest thing to do first is to reach out to that family member or friend for help. But then there are so many outdoor women’s groups on Facebook—there’s hundreds of them out there that anyone can join. People want to help and get more women involved in these pursuits. I think that’s the best way to get started.

What’s your favorite species to hunt?

I would probably say whitetail. I mean, it’s the Wisconsin thing.

DSG stands for “Doing Something Great.” What does that mean to you personally?

Doing something great means making a difference. I want to leave a legacy that we helped to shape the future of the outdoor industry just by something as simple as giving women something to wear. Getting more women involved automatically gets more kids involved and then it carries on for generations and generations. I feel really good about that.

Why Trust Us

For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.