The world is quickly waking up to the negative impact our current way of life is having on the planet. Big changes are coming, they have to be.
Cycling represents a huge opportunity as an alternative form of transport, a way of reconnecting people with the natural world and as a catalyst for improving lifestyles. We believe that our clothing can play a big part in this process.
Our approach to clothing design aims to enable people to reclaim the humble bicycle not only as a piece of sports equipment but also as the tool it was once perceived to be. It seems crazy to us that riders are paying large sums of money for bicycles that they then only feel comfortable riding in MAMIL uniform.
As riders we know the potential the bicycle holds in helping to solve this problem. Yet if we don't use our bikes as tools, to go to the shops or cycle to work then we're as much a part of the problem as all those who don't own bikes.
Now we don't blame people for not wanting to walk into the barbers or greet your boss in lycra. That's why we're developing these alternative products.
Ok, ready for some hard facts?
1. The vast majority of activewear currently on sale contains plastic. Polyester / Nylon / Polyamide fibres are responsible for the stretchy fit of sports clothing. Even many of your normal clothes will contain plastic - check your wardrobe, you'll be surprised.
2. Every time you wash an item of clothing containing these materials it releases micro-plastics. When your washing machine drains these fibres are released into the water course and quickly find their way to the sea.
3. A massive proportion of the micro-plastics polluting our oceans come from washing clothing.
So what can be done?
There are lots of companies out there pushing recycled plastic garments. Unfortunately, there's no such thing as 100% recycled plastic. Plastic deteriorates so to keep it's properties these companies have to add new plastic into the blend. Also, it doesn't stop the micro-plastics escaping.
Minimalists will tell you to simply buy less. This is a good start but again, if you are still washing clothes regularly this doesn't solve the issue.
You can buy mesh bags to wash your sports clothes in. This reduces the amount of micro-plastics released into the water course but it cant stop it all and isn't a perfect solution.
What about just using natural materials to make clothes? Currently alternatives are either significantly more expensive, damaging to the environment in other ways (eg manufacturing) or simply bad for sports applications (eg hold sweat / don't stretch).
Why do STRAY use plastic in our clothes?
Plastic is great for sports clothes. It doesn't show sweat marks, it's stretchy, breathable and cheap.
We're currently researching sustainable alternatives. We're still a small company and until that changes we wont have the buying power to support this change.
Cycling as a mode of transport can greatly reduce our carbon footprints and in order to make that a more appealing option we need comfortable and practical clothing.
Our clothing is also designed to work cross-purposes which we hope will reduce the amount of clothing people need to buy. Less clothing means less plastic in the world.
If there was a perfect solution everyone would be using it. We're still working on it.