How to get active in the city by Franco Boydell

This month we experienced the warmest weekend on record for 2017. So, it’s fair to say Londoners: summer is here. That means you can ditch the winter parka, grab yourself some sunnies, and leave the dingy confines of the house (or flat, let’s be realistic) to get out and about in our nation’s capital.

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That said, the vast urban sprawl that is London often means you’re going to have to get creative. Green spaces are becoming harder to get to as the London skyline stretches ever higher; we don’t all live next to a common. Most of us can sometimes feel the stifling effect of urbanity and crave the balance of nature and activity to keep us present. But as the modern world is tripping over itself to remind us every day, things are changing. However, all is not lost: because whenever things change, you can often count on Londoners to adapt in stylish and ingenious ways.

Getting Active

Alternative sport - adapted specially to urban living - is on the rise: parkour, axe-throwing, in-door climbing,  trampolining, hulahooping, morning raves — you name it. This trend towards urban sport marks a key difference in sporting philosophy: rather than seeking to escape the city and find those green spaces for more traditional activities, we’re seeing a trend toward embracing urban spaces as part of the sport. There’s a lot to be said for this kind of thinking. It seems more proactive; it’s the difference between driving to the gym outside your neighbourhood and making one yourself in the back garden.

What’s more, it’s been claimed that the number of us cycling around the city is at an all time high. Rather than piling on to a jampacked tube carriage or crammed bus to get where we need to be, many of us are now jumping on our bikes and hitting the road. Switching from cycle gear to office wear is a challenge we face everyday, as well as avoiding dreaded ‘hat hair’. But it seems that these small sacrifices are worth it in comparison to the stressful journeys so commonly associated with public transport.

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Dressing The Part

When you consider all that, the increasing popularity in urban inspired sportswear starts to paint a picture. Look around you and you’ll see familiar sport brands and outdoor gear that can be worn as everyday clothing. Gymwear brands like GymShark and Vanquish have started to include ‘streetwear’ ranges that offer products considered to be both casual fashion and athletic apparel. On the other side of the coin, high fashion brands like Louis Vuitton and Versace have been experimenting with ‘athleisure’: incorporating the functionality of athletic clothing into their looks and designs.

We don’t believe this is a coincidence. The rise of ‘sport casual’ is indicative of more than just a change in popular fashion; it reflects the demand for hardier, versatile clothing options that cater to physical activity — without sacrificing on style. With the increasingly difficult prospect of setting aside time and money for conventional activities, city dwellers are working to incorporate urban sports that more easily fit into their lifestyle. In short, we need stylish, fashionable clothing that can also handle an impromptu run, bike ride, or even a football match.

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How We're Keeping Pace

Recognising this trend presents exciting new opportunities for fashion brands. It’s a chance to create our own personal interpretation of what a product needs to be to meet the demand. An example of this that we’re particularly proud of is our Thames collection. We wanted to stay true to our original design philosophy of keeping the range stylish and optimised for the urban professional; however, we recognised an opportunity to play around with materials and dimensions that better suited outdoor physical activity.

We tinkered for awhile with various options and eventually settled on a high-frequency nylon mesh, ultrasonically welded together to minimise stitching or seams. The result is a impeccably lightweight and effectively ‘life-proof’ range of bags; the material is hardy, waterproof, and completely airtight. Inspired, we used these materials to re-imagine some of our classic designs to cater to different requirements. For example, The Harpsden provides all the versatility of a stylish laptop bag whilst being hardy and lightweight enough to function as a cycling backpack. Similarly, The Cromwell can be used as a dependable companion for an office professional, however the roll-top and straps can effectively transform it into a hiking bag. And finally, there’s The Rupert: the high-frequency material gives a whole other level to this classic satchel, which makes it perfect for cycling at any time of the year.

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We’re excited and inspired by the challenge to create products that suit your lifestyle. We don’t believe you should ever have to choose between style and practicality; however, what’s considered practical is really based on need. We’re keen to provide what you need, whilst ensuring you never feel compromised on style. You want to throw an axe? Run? Skip? Jump? Cycle? Dance? Go do it. We’re behind you all the way.

Inspired to get into the great outdoors? Take a look at our Thames collection, or explore our blog for more  inspiring stories from true digital nomads.