If only those leggings had a zip pocket for keys, that vest top would be perfect without the stupid in-built bra and those shorts would be great if they didn’t show your bum in a squat. There’s aways niggly things you’d change with your sportswear, Katy Biddulph did something about it. She tells us about setting up women’s performancewear brand Striders Edge.
I always had a love of fashion but nothing sparked my passion more than design with performance for sport. I felt women were still under served when it came to high quality credible workout kit and I really wanted to offer something different. I wanted to combine all the qualities I think are essential in high-quality active-wear: luxury fabrics that feel good and keep the skin healthy, dry and protected, and a flattering, body-enhancing fit with a nod to seasonal trends.
When I started out it seemed many women’s brands focused on fashion over function so women who were embarking on challenges such as marathons, were having to look to more masculine brands to ensure the technicalities didn’t fail them. I wanted to create products that were stylish enough to to wear to lunch but had performance at the forefront of design – so you could also scale Mount Kilimanjaro.
Striders Edge is named after Striding Edge – the great knife edge ridge that flanks with Helvellyn in the Lake District – British, stunning, gritty and fierce, it sums up the Striders Edge customer perfectly.
Shortly after showcasing my final collection at fashion college, I landed a job designing for Sweaty Betty’s technical ranges including running, fitness, ski, swim and triathlon. It was a fantastic place to learn the trade. But every designer dreams of creating their very own brand and Striders Edge was founded in Feb 2011, launching with our first SS12 collection in January 2012.
Running a business keeps me incredibly busy but I take time to run regularly, it helps me clear my mind and focus for the day ahead. I’ve also just taken up climbing, I didn’t realise how hard climbing could be – it’s a cardio and toning workout in one hit. The ache in my arms lasts for days!
If I want the best zip on a garment I’ll put the best zip on a garment and we use a lot of Italian performance fabrics that are expensive but worth every penny as they wear so well. When you’re working for other brands you don’t always get the freedom to choose the more expensive higher quality fabrics but running my own brand allows me to be in control of every element.
The main qualities I look for in sportswear are:
1. The fit – baggy, ill fitting leggings or vests that rise up when you move don’t support you when you work out and distract you from your activity.
2. Anti-bacterial fabric – not only is it more hygienic against the skin, it won’t harbour bacteria, so it keeps skin fresh and healthy and won’t smell in your kit bag
3. The feel of fabrics – we underestimate the benefit of fabrics that feel beautiful to touch. Not only do higher price point fabrics feel better, they last longer, have better quality technical qualities (e.g. sweat-wicking and anti-bacterial) and they retain their shape over time.
If you’re interested in setting up your own sportswear label you need to be passionate. Fashion and sportswear design is hard work and involves long but exciting hours. It can be gruelling at times but, that said, there’s nothing more exhilarating than seeing your finished collection hanging in beautiful stores like Harrods.
To view the full collection visit www.stridersedge.com