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Interview with Dominique Aris, Owner and Creative Director of G.Y.S.T

Dominique Aris designed the X-Changer Pack System with his experience in his sporting career and, after establishing the G.Y.S.T in 2010, he applied this design to G.Y.S.T backpacks. I talked to Dominique Aris about the X-Changer Pack System and Multisport Sunglasses.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Dominique Aris, Owner and Creative Director of G.Y.S.T

Dominique Aris, Owner and Creative Director of G.Y.S.T


by Mehmet Kaplan

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It is very important for athletes to have their bag tidy. Backpacks are the locker room cabinets for the athletes who do not do indoor sports. They don't want to mix any clean clothes with used clothes, and they want to be in a clean place while changing clothes. Dominique Aris's X-Changer Pack System, which is presented as a solution to this problem experienced by athletes, gives G.Y.S.T backpacks users the opportunity to save time and carry their equipment in a healthier way. I talked with Dominique Aris, Owner and Creative Director of G.Y.S.T, about the X-Changer Pack System and Multisport Sunglasses.

Dominique, before talking about GYST, could you tell us about your athletic background and experience in eyewear design?

The best way to describe my athletic background would be to say that “I grew up in a stadium sand box in France”. My father was a PE teacher, and also at some point was teaching sports in an after-school program. So around the age of 3, I would be at the gym or on a Stadium 6/days a week from 5 pm to 7:30 pm, playing handball, volleyball, basketball, tennis... From there I ended up being a soccer goalkeeper for 18 years and a track & field athletes running 800m.

O… I almost forgot I was also windsurfing, rock climbing, mountain biking, and riding bikes, bungee jumping… and I am sure I forgot stuff!

Among our design studio clients, we count as Smith Optics, Scott-sports, Bolle, Zeal…

G.Y.S.T - Photo by Jessica Shea

G.Y.S.T - Photo by Jessica Shea

How did you decide to create your own brand? What inspired you?

I would say: "One day on a parking lot I needed a backpack I could step into". The Whole story started after surfing on a parking lot at the Surf spot called Pacifica, in California. To be honest I found it a way more fun than saying that I started in a garage like every start-up says in the Bay Area…

This is such a lack of creativity at least they could say I started in my bathroom time to time! So I was stepping in a plastic box, to remove my wetsuit, like every surfer around me. At that point, I realized there was a void on the market so I invented and patented a bag you can step into to change gear and G.Y.S.T was born.

Could you tell us about G.Y.S.T and your team?

G.Y.S.T is what you do when you exercise you mentally and physically “Get Your S*** Together"

Our focus is the athlete: because you exercise to live better, we respect that and strive to help you get the G.Y.S.T - by “getting your self (or stuff) together,” and embracing the true essential spirit of sport and an active life.

G.Y.S.T - Photo by Jessica Shea

G.Y.S.T - Photo by Jessica Shea

What have you paid attention to the most in the design and development process?

For bags:

"How can you make a soft bag or backpack to be manipulated as if it was a rigid container."

Our collection of backpacks, duffel bags, messengers uses a lot of magnets for ease of manipulation which forces us to be very creative in making “semi-rigid” bags.

For eyewear:

Our motto is: " being the ultimate multisport sunglasses collection combining practicality and style."

Could you tell us about the X-Changer Pack system (XCP system)? What are the advantages of this transition bag system?

G.Y.S.T is the creator of the X-Changer Pack system (XCP system) the leading transition bag system that simplifies the process of changing clothes before-and-after exercising.

Basically, our patent technology combines mats systems or bags areas that are designed to be laying on the ground on the ground while providing a clean space to change gear.

G.Y.S.T - Photo by Jessica Shea

G.Y.S.T - Photo by Jessica Shea

Could you tell us about the sunglasses that you designed? What are their features?

We always focus on offering products solution that major companies don’t have.

All our G.Y.S.T sunglasses are versatile they can be used for extreme sports such as cycling, mountain-bike, trail-running, windsurfing… or at the bar to sip a cocktail!

I give you a few examples:

- All our multisport sunglasses feature a foam gasket protecting for sun rays but also mud & debris.

- Our SG1 sunglasses is what we called "sun-goggle” because you can remove temples and replace them with an elastic strap.

You can place them under a cycling helmet and feel zero pressure, that’s why they have been adopted by cyclist and triathletes.

If you use them with the foam gasket they float which is ideal for Stand-up paddlers, kayakers, windsurfers, surfers...

- SG2 sunglasses: features a unique elastic clip system, positioned on the temples, not touching your skull avoiding any potential headache.

Those sunglasses are ideal for cycling, trail running, and for any water sports

What kind of materials do you prefer to use in the production of GYST products?

For bags:

Long before it was required by the law, when we started, we made our products PVC free, that includes all “tarp” waterproof mats.

We use a lot of “PU coated” fabrics (Poly-urethane coated) or "PE coated fabrics” (Poly-ethylene)

How do you test your products? and How do you make them eco-friendly?

Ahah.. as much as I can, depending on the business schedule, I go for a run or a ride every day. I ended up testing our product from +110ºF to -17ºF… and literally, burn my nose from hot or cold temperature while doing it! We also have sponsored runners, kite-surfers, surfers, mountain-bikers testing G.Y.S.T products for us.


Well, we invented a bag that requires no cleaning, keep you and your gear clean and stays clean after use.

Let’s say we save 1/2 gallon per week per athlete that’s about 25 gallons per year not wasted to clean your gearing or your car

G.Y.S.T - Photo by Jessica Shea

G.Y.S.T - Photo by Jessica Shea

What features of GYST makes it different from other brands on the market?

We invented and patented the only bag you can open in the snow, in the mud, step onto and that will stay clean when folded back.

We became a reference in the triathlon industry because our BP1-18 is widely used as a triathlon transition bag.

We have a unique system and won’t let anybody infringe it.

What do you enjoy most about using GYST products in your daily life?

The “Waou" from athletes next to me discovering that G.Y.S.T backpack is designed to be thrown in the mud on a parking lot!

Social media platform are a new showcase for innovative brands. What do you think about the power of social media on buyers' decisions?

Social media is key in today’s economy, it’s hard to measure but I bet 30% of our customers discover us through FB, twitter or IG. We love telling everyone what we invented by using cool photos or videos.

How can our readers follow GYST?

The best way to learn about new offers, new products and get deals is to visit the website and sign to our newsletter. www.gystconcept.com

How can our readers buy GYST products?

Either on our website www.gystconcept.com or Amazon.

For athletes out of the US, we always recommend to email us we offer very good deals to ship bags on the other side of the planet.

What is next for you?

We are already working with our patent attorneys new utility patents to improve our unique bag construction, to make sure we keep our competitive edge.

Anything you would like to add that I haven’t asked?

While I still have a “little bit of a French accent” I am very proud to mention that G.Y.S.T is US based and a 100% US privately owned company.

This is very important for our clients, in eyewear they know that most brands, including big US-based companies, are Italian owned.

I have discovered that clients love the fact when you buy G.Y.S.T you get a real American product.

Thank you Dominique.

For more information, please click here to visit the website of G.Y.S.T