In 1997 I established Blue Associates further to 5 years working for a large corporate designing performance sportswear and sourcing through Eastern Europe. Prior to this I studied fashion design for 7 years and knew sportswear design was going to be my speciality.
A sportswear designer is part fashion designer, part engineer. The clothing needs to be stylish and follow current trends but because it has a function over and above general fashion, it needs to be engineered to work in harmony with the body and allow the athlete to perform to the best of their ability without compromising their comfort.
Fibres are therefore paramount to achieving comfort, be it stretch, moisture management heat regulation or protection from the elements. If you get the fibres wrong then the athlete starts to feel uncomfortable very fast.
A sportswear designer also needs to build in key features that help the athlete perform. A pocket isn’t just a pocket. It needs to be located in the right position for easy access, perhaps keep the contents of the pocket out of critical areas of movement and be engineered to fit the contents perfectly. It may also be manufactured to reduce weight and bulk and protect the goods from rain or moisture.
Everything needs to be considered. Placement of every feature. What each feature does and the durability of each feature. The weight of every component used and the protection the component may need from the sporting activity the athlete does.
I love this engineering. Its where I start when I design any sportswear. A list of basic requirement that need to be addressed. What gear does the athlete need to carry? What is the terrain? How durable does the garment need to be and what is the required weight? What are the elements the athlete need protection from, wind, rain or sun? What average temperature will the athlete be using the product in and will humidity play a factor? Its only when I understand all of these points can I start to calculate the right fibres and fabrics for the garment and then start to build in all the features required. Style comes last as it always plays second fiddle to performance. Pretty pointless looking the best dressed mountain climber that then freezes to death!..
I started Blue Associates as I noticed that many in house design departments became stale very quickly. Going to the same retailers and trade shows year after year and focussing only on your competitors stifled creativity. I am a creative and therefore wanted to protect this by working with many different sectors all at the same time. By starting Blue Associates, it allowed me the opportunity to work in Marine, Outdoor, Golf, Cycle and Running all at the same time with one category blending into others. I now have a wealth of experience I could bring to the table and approach sportswear design with a fresh perspective, borrowing features, performance, technologies and manufacturing experience gained over the years and using them to continually develop innovative sportswear.
Since 1997, I have worked with over 100 clients from tiny start up brands to huge multi retail outlets and continue to work across a broad spectrum of sporting categories at any one time.
I never duplicate, not only because it’s bad business practice but because being a creative I strive to move the game on each time.
So that’s what I do and the team I have developed within the business are also creatives and flourish when they are tested with new and innovative projects.
If you are looking for a sportswear designer and would like to discuss your project from concept through to finished product, then please get in touch.