Wellness is front and center in 2015. More than any time recent memory, being fit (or getting fit) is on the minds of gentleman worldwide. The wellness movement is a logical next step for a population that’s growing older, where competition is great, and most importantly, apparel options in the premium athletic wear space are better than ever: athletic fashion, specifically functional, well designed technical wear feels as though it’s finally hitting its stride. Brands across the globe (ie. Isaora, Frank & Oak, Tracksmith) are recognizing a demand market for well built-gear that go beyond the traditional department store offering.
The latest player in the space is SOAR, a running line from UK designer Tim Soar, himself a runner, that relies on the very best technical fabrics from Europe and Japan to build bonded construction wear with athletes in mind. SOAR sticks to running essentials and elevates them for modern demands. Over the past month, we’ve been running in three key SOAR garments — the three season short, rain jacket and T-shirt — putting them through our workout and laundering process to see how they handle. As it turns out, SOAR pieces hold their integrity, fit well and look great on wear. We’re most happy with the three season short.
To compliment our SOAR wear test, we caught up with designer Tim Soar to get insight on the collection and the importance of fitness in today’s demanding world.
Tell us why wellness and health are important to you.
I think this is part of a movement in society as a whole — people are much more focused on fitness and wellness than they were even 10 years ago. If you are spending seven or eight hours a week on fitness or other health activities, then you will need quite a lot of kit. If you are interested in style in your everyday life, you will want stylish kit. For want of a better word, it’s part of the “fashionization” of everyday life — the designers are following the money!
It’s important to me because I really love running and I really love clothes. SOAR was an opportunity to bring those two loves together.
Where is there innovation in sports and active wear?
There is so much innovation in fabric and manufacturing techniques at the moment. It’s an exciting time. When I started thinking about this project, I tested garments from many different manufacturers. It struck me that there was still a lot of room for improvement. I started with the best technical fabrics — the lightest, most breathable, most waterproof, etc. Then looked at bonded/no-sew manufacturing technology — it seemed the obvious way to go for sports clothing. What I brought from high fashion design was a focus on quality — the garments had to be beautiful in their own right.
Why SOAR? Tell us more about the idea for creating this line.
I have always thought about what I look like when I am running. I put together looks in the same way that I do with my everyday clothes. And I was seeing a lot of other people, when I was out running, who had clearly done the same thing. It was obvious that was a space for a new running brand that was different from the mainstream with clothing that looked good and also performed at the highest level.
When I was doing the research before launch it struck me how badly many of the bigger brands communicated their love of the sport. As a runner I felt that many of them did not really seem to care about the sport other than from a sales perspective. They might sponsor Olympic athletes but that was about it. All their interest seemed to be in the top 0.1% of the sport while grass roots running was completely ignored. As I said earlier, I am passionate about running. It was important to communicate that SOAR is inclusive. It might be premium but I want to make all runners, whatever their ability, feel welcome. We have a section on the site dedicated to people’s running experiences and stories. We used club runners for our models — they are all very different, but they are all doing it for the love of running. There is still much more to be done. But the premise will stay the same: SOAR loves running and runners.
Any hints as to what to expect further from the SOAR line?
Well, a women’s range will be launching early next year. We will become more involved with running events and team sponsorship. There are still a hundred different garments that I can think of to add to the collection. Then try to improve my personal PBs…