From surfboards and custom swimwear to music festivals and Mexicali cuisine, Dan and Jessica Hassett have built Levitate into a laid-back lifestyle brand that screams summer.
Written by Jennifer H. McInerney
Photography by Kjeld Mahoney
There’s a distinctive flow—much like a crested wave rolling to shore—that connects the Levitate surf and skate shop with SlackTide Coffee Roasters, the Levitate Surf Cantina and the Backyard. And it’s entirely by design.
“The flow was intentional for us. We wanted people to be able to walk around the shop, get a taco, and go listen to live music all in one place,” says co-owner Jessica Hassett.
In designing their collection of shops on the corner of Ocean and Webster Streets in Marshfield Center, she and her husband, Dan, sought to recreate the quintessential après-surf experience that they’ve enjoyed during their travels.
“In Puerto Rico, there’s a place called Jack’s Shack that serves the most amazing fish tacos. And we thought, ‘Why can’t we have something like this in Marshfield?’”
The combination of these complementary parts of their business has made Levitate a popular destination—not just for surfers and skaters, but for anyone looking to unwind after a day of work or fun in the sun. Last year, the Hassetts added the Backyard, an open-air live music venue that fulfilled a vital piece of their vision for the Levitate brand.
“Music has always been a passion for us,” says Jessica.
The annual Levitate Music and Arts Festival (canceled this year due to the COVID-19 virus and rescheduled for July, 2021) attracts thousands of music lovers to the Marshfield Fairgrounds each summer. While the festival helped put the brand’s name fully in the spotlight, the Backyard offers a more intimate atmosphere. Last summer, the Backyard hosted 10 sold-out shows featuring local bands, such as Chadwick Stokes and The Pintos, Citizen Cope, and The Elovaters.
Sporting the Levitate Lifestyle
Jessica, who studied art at New York City University School of Visual Arts and received a degree from the University of Massachusetts, heads up Levitate’s clothing design team. About five years ago, she taught herself the technical skills to produce designs for garments, beginning with printed sweatshirts and T-shirts, and launching a signature flannel shirt.
“Dan and I are both outdoorsy and adventurous and we want to wear clothing that’s durable and fits well, not frumpy,” she says.
Each year, under her direction, Levitate releases a new fall collection and a new spring/summer line of sportswear, swimwear, and even surfboards and paddleboards. The colorful and casual Cantina shirts have become a fast favorite among shoppers, inspiring a scaled-down toddler version. All of the made-in-the-USA designs are intended to be comfortable and are now being created from renewable resources and/or recycled materials, such as organic cotton and recycled polyester. “Our customers really care about renewable materials, so we’ve made that a focus of our clothing lines,” says Jessica.
In April, Levitate introduced Re-Creations, a collection of “reimagined, repurposed, hand-sewn and dyed” one-of-a-kind pieces from the Levitate Stitch Studio. Limited-edition offerings include “Chopped ’N Blocked” hoodies, cantina shirts, “Trippy Dip” flannel shirts, and tie-dyed T-shirts—no two of which are exactly alike.
For the summer, a variety of custom swimwear styles will be available, including board shorts for men, and bikinis in solids and prints in a range of styles to accommodate different body types. “Skimpy is really in right now, but not every woman is comfortable in it, so we have styles for curvier women as well,” says Jessica.
The original Levitate shop location, owned by the late Bob Pollard and Amelia English, opened across the street, above Haymarket South. Dan Hassett, who worked with Pollard, purchased the shop in 2008 and reopened at its current location next to the “Uncle Bud” skate park in Marshfield.
While Levitate is not situated directly on the beach, its central downtown location makes it a convenient stop for water sport enthusiasts looking to rent or purchase surfboards or stand-up paddleboards along the way to many of the town’s beaches, including Rexhame, Fieldston, Ocean Bluff, Brant Rock and Green Harbor. The shop offers surfing camps for kids ages 7 through 15 throughout the summer season at Rexhame Beach, near Beadle’s Rocks, a popular place to catch waves. Levitate also operates a second shop located on Straight Wharf on Nantucket.
This summer, Levitate is adding a Creative Camp, for kids ages 5 to 10, with a focus on music and the arts. The four-day sessions will teach kids to incorporate nature and recycled materials into artwork and handmade instruments and will include visits to nearby trails to explore local ecosystems and daily yoga, music jams and sing-alongs.
The parents to 3- and 5-year-old daughters (with a third child on the way), Jessica and Dan have grown up along with their brand. Thanks to their trusted team members who help manage retail operations and festival planning, the Hassetts are able to focus more of their time on generating new creative concepts to keep the Levitate brand relevant and refreshing. As Levitate fans are well aware, it’s all about bringing people together, spreading love and creating lasting memories.
For more information, visit levitatebrand.com.