After the successful launch of our first Velocity collection (with a HIIT and run focus) back in Autumn/Winter 20, the new iteration of the range sees our first full foray into specialist running wear.
Whether you train on the track or long distance is your thing, we’ve upped the technical detailing and features to create a collection that’ll go the distance with you. To find out more about the collection we sat down with designers Lloyd and Emma, and garment tech expert, Kandy.
What are the main points of difference between this collection and the previous Velocity collection?
Lloyd: This season we focused solely on creating the perfect running product. All items are fit for purpose, we upped the technology and design to create your perfect running kit.
Emma: This season we really wanted to create a running specific range. Every detail has been added with running in mind whether that’s sprinting or long-distance running, indoor or outdoor running we wanted the collection to have something on offer for every runner.
What can you tell us about the design process?
Lloyd: The collection was designed during the lockdown, so we had to really adapt our design process. We were unable to meet people in real life, so we turned to the online community of runners and athletes to gain our insights. We actively took part in online running challenges to immerse ourselves within the virtual community. We also had to move the office to our homes so the team worked tirelessly at home to bring these products to life, which meant many online video calls with the suppliers, design and technologist teams and many trips back and forth from the post room to swap over samples, whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines- of course!
The method of home working really flipped our process on its head. As elite athletes show their resilience on the track, we on the product development team had to show the same resilience when bringing this collection to life. Of course, there were many challenges with having to change the way in which we work however the team were super autonomous and adapted quickly- it was definitely a marathon and not a sprint!
Emma: In order to get into the mindset of a running athlete I took up running myself – I’ve never been great at cardio so it was definitely a challenge but I wanted to figure out any problems that runners may find with their clothing so I could solve them within the designs. I started joining in my local park run and it’s become part of my workout routine ever since!
What were your main considerations when designing run products?
Lloyd: For me, when designing any collection, it has to be fit for purpose. Function first is always at the forefront of our minds. Within the running context for me this:
- Making sure it’s lightweight and breathable – as you want to ensure you are aiding maximum airflow and ventilation to ensure you don’t get gross sweat build-up.
- Aiding visibility to ensure that if you are running outside you can be seen in low light conditions
- Enabling mobility and anti-irritation to ensure you are not restricting the runner and removing any potential annoyances to facilitate them to have the best run
- Creating storage solutions and ensuring the runner has appropriate and functional storage solutions for their keys, phones and gels.
Emma: Two things I couldn’t stop thinking about the whole way around the run was whether my leggings were falling down or my sports bra not fitting comfortably. With that in mind, I wanted to make sure the leggings and sports bra were completely customisable and adjustable. In terms of fit, the leggings have an adjustable waist and the bra has adjustable straps and underbust band. I also wanted to make sure there were enough storage solutions, whether that was for your keys, money or gels. There is plenty of storage on the leggings, 1/4 zip and packable jacket.
Reflectivity was a key element to this collection also so whether you’re an early morning runner or a late-night runner can ensure you’ll always be visible when wearing any of the items in the collection! Another thing I found was no matter whether you’re running in the heat or the cold you still get sweaty, so I also wanted to include zoned ventilation throughout the design to ensure the garments are always breathable.
Where did the idea for the reflective pattern come from?
Lloyd: We were really inspired by seeing the internal teams’ commitment to fitness, therefore we invited people from all over the division to submit screenshots of their running routes from their run apps. Once we had received these, we translated these run routes to create the all-over reflective prints. This print was a way to materialise the community spirit of the team during this terrible time by uniting all achievements, PB’s and celebrations! It was great to see some positivity in the midst of a crazy world.
What was your inspiration behind the colour palette?
Lloyd: We were really inspired by the idea of community and unity. We acknowledged the amount of diversity that “running” encompasses. Running is so many things to so many people, be it on the treadmill in the gym, trail running, track running or city running. At 6 am somebody may be doing their morning run, whereas on the other side of the world at 6 pm somebody may be about to start their evening run. This idea of dusk and dawn really resonated with us, therefore it inspired our colour pallet to play into these cooler and warmer tones at each end of the spectrum. Light and dark, day and night, dusk and dawn.
How will this Velocity collection improve the wearer’s performance?
Lloyd: This season we have added seamless product into the Men’s offering. This enables us to body map high heat/sweat areas where you may need more ventilation. With seamless technology, we have mapped out ventilating textures to enable maximum airflow where needed. We removed side seams on the tops that may be irritating and also introduced our first seamless and woven hybrid track top, enabling you to have the best of both worlds – giving you the breathability and mobility of seamless sleeves and the wind and water repellence to the body.
Another big focus was reflective detailing on the products, to be seen in low light situations. Safety is key when running at night and all the reflective detailing will help you be seen. The outerwear pieces are the perfect solutions of lightweight warmth and water repellence. Plus, the running jacket is packable, so it can easily be popped away for convenient storage.
Emma: I wanted this collection to be completely non distracting to the wearer so they can just purely focus on their run, so making the styles customisable and adaptable to the individual wearer was key. For example, you can adjust the waist on the leggings with the drawstring and wear the drawstring on the outside so you can easily readjust it, or push it through to wear on the inside for a super clean finish. The sports bra had an adjustable underbust band that is fitted with hook and eye adjusters, and there are also adjusters on the elastic straps so you can get the perfect fit for your run. The packable jacket is also perfect for when you get caught out by the elements! It easily packs away into the front pocket its super lightweight too so you can take it on any run with you ready to be used when needed!
Can you tell us about the fabrics used in this collection?
Kandy: The running jackets, gilets and 2 in 1 short all feature a water-resistant finish, which means they have been designed to withstand a light rain shower or snow flurry. Water droplets will bead onto the surface of the fabric, and then run off, rather than penetrate the fibres. Fabric conditioner will prevent the water-resistant finish from working, so when washing use only a gentle detergent and no softener, even better use a technical detergent specific for water-resistant fabrics. This finish is not permanent, so to ensure it lasts as long as possible please ensure all care instructions are followed.
The jackets and shorts also include an all-over reflective print in key areas, to help keep you visible during early morning/evening runs.
Can you tell us about the testing process?
Kandy: All our products undergo a rigorous testing procedure. In addition to carrying out wearer tests on athletes, we also send all products to accredited testing labs to ensure all our products meet our stringent requirements for tests including- Colourfastness to washing, perspiration, light, rubbing/pilling resistance/tear or burst strength of seams/spirality/appearance after wash. Testing will be tailored to the fabric and garment type, always to ensure the best performance of all of our garments. As always, please always follow the care labels as this will ensure all garments perform as intended.
What are your favourite pieces from this Velocity collection?
Lloyd: My two favourite pieces from the collection are the outwear offerings. I love the gilet as it’s the perfect layer for cold morning runs. It offers a lightweight insulating layer, finished with contemporary fused baffling and reflective detailing to keep you seen. It’s a really slick, technical product.
Secondly, I have to give a shoutout to the running jacket. This is my go-to product for those rainy day runs! The water repellent fabric keeps the rain off you and the smart ventilation system enables airflow so you don’t get too sweaty. I couldn’t mention the jacket without mentioning the print, as forementioned I enjoy the celebration as to what this print represents. It’s great to be reminded of my peers’ achievements and spurs me on to achieve my goals too!
Emma: My favourite pieces have to be the leggings and bra. I absolutely love the fabric. It has a high shine look to it with a really smooth hand feel and it’s compressing enough that it feels like its holding you in, but I just love how adjustable the two pieces are. When I wear them I know I’ll always get the right fit ready for my run!