No innovation left in sportswear design

Producing something better by innovative sportswear design

ashmei is built around its product. We are a “Product company” and our number one focus is designing and developing the best high performance running clothing we can.

Being trained in sportswear design with over 20+ years experience and the founder of ashmei, I will make sure this focus does not steer towards sales, marketing or distribution as the company grows. I have seen this happen time and time again through our sister company Blue Associates who design sportswear for blue chip sports brands and within a short period of time their brand looses it’s identity and creativity and becomes stale.

This is something I have noticed happen to the running industry. Sure there are pockets of genius with brands developing new products or technologies that think outside the box, but generally the industry has lost it’s focus on product.

Running clothing in particular has not really progressed since the launch of cheap synthetic materials. It seems apparent that a certain look, feel, performance and price now drive the industry so that we end up with a range of product that is almost identical. If you don’t believe me, pop into your local specialist running store, ignore the branding on the chest and try to see the difference between each brand. It’s quite scary how similar they all are, with almost identical price points, features, materials, construction and look.

That’s the main reason we launched ashmei. We knew we could do better. Offer product that worked better, looked better and was made better. Style is classic and understated and materials and components are selected purely on their performance rather than price.

Since our launch we have identified several of our competitors have placed orders for most of our styles. Some even place orders for every size! We are flattered by this, however it does frustrate us too as we know why they have bought our gear and we will be watching them closely, but where is the creativity and innovation. Where is the benefit to runners to develop masses of product that looks or performs exactly the same? Why have lots of brands if we all do the same thing?

Competition is good for the industry, but I wish there was more innovation and “out of the box” thinking just like there is within other sports like cycle, Ski and Outdoor with brands that have created their own niche within a saturated market giving the consumer a wider choice of product rather than a simple choice of logo.

by Stuart Brooke – founder of ashmei