The first time I came across Crewroom was when I got my race pack for Royal Park Ultra marathon back in October 2013 as the official race t-shirt was made by Crewroom.
A couple of months later I had a chance to chat to Alec and Maria, both from Crewroom, at the Write This Run conference at the Running Show in Sandown Park. And boy I was quite intrigued by the colourful running tights Maria’s had folded on the table.
Just after I came back from Christmas and my eye surgery I got an email from Alec inviting me to come along for their Breakfast Run Club and also to see the whole Crewroom gang (including dog Vinnie), their offices as well as their new kit. I couldn’t say ‘NO’ to that (who could right?!) so I packed my running gear and traveled to London.
Around 9am I came to Crewroom Hub – as I was walking from the tube station to Crewroom offices I started to realise that I know the route from somewhere but I couldn’t really remember …until I saw a sign board from the Royal Parks Ultra. It definitely brought back some good memories as it was such a nice and well-organised race and my first Ultra ever!
I arrived at the Crewroom Hub and was immediately greeted their friendly staff. Maria, the Commercial Director showed me around and told me more about the products and their bamboo fabric. I also got a chance to pick and try some Crewroom clothing on the run. I went for a long sleeve running t-shirt and tights, both from Refresher collection. The Refresher range is about very crazy and bright colours that you wouldn’t normally put together.
VX Refresher Long Sleeve T-Shirt
- Crewroom’s flagship product
- Vapour-X T-shirt with anti-stink and anti-chafing properties
- Extremely breathable made from carbonised bamboo and recycled polyester
- Price: £25.20 (Was £36) from Crewroom’s Online shop
VX Leg It Leggings
- Compression running tights
- Soft wide waistband – no more muffin tops
- Reflective bubbles on the back for better visibility
- Vapour-X using Bamboo charcoal technology
- Breathable mesh panel on rear knee section
- Price: £34.30 (Was £49) from Crewroom’s Online shop
When I put the tights on the first thing I noticed was their extremely soft fabric; it felt like I wasn’t wearing them on. I will be reviewing these together with the t-shirt in my next blog post so stay tuned.
A bit of Crewroom history
Crewroom is a sport apparel company born and bred in the UK. It was founded 12 year ago by a former top British rower, Kate Giles.
The idea behind Crewroom as a sport company offering the best quality clothes for athletes came from Kate’s personal experience. She was out running and rowing when she when she fell ill with pneumonia and was taken to hospital with broken ribs. You may think that was a really bad luck but if it didn’t happen, Crewroom would probably have never existed.
Nowadays Crewroom is a well-established brand focused on producing top-quality apparel that can withstand though weather condition and protect athletes.
Crewroom Breakfast Run Club
Breekfast Run Club is a new addition to many Crewroom activities. It starts at 9.30am and is over by 11am, when you can reward yourself with waffles, croissants or sausages and more at Crewroom Hub.
The Saturday running sessions are hosted by Paul Gascoyne, a personal trainer who will make you do some squats and push-up on top of the running. There’s a warm-up first which can include some squatting and push-uping all at your pace. Then you jog along the towpath, over some Thames bridges; there are usually two groups depending on your running distance preferences. You can either pick a shorter route around 5-6K or longer one (over 10K). You run as long as you want!
I’ve opted for the shorter one as I had a hill training planned for the next day as a part of my marathon training. This was actually first time I picked a shorter route as I always go for the longest/hardest routes but I promised myself that this year I won’t over-train. It was a good run at relaxed/conversational pace so I chatted to Penny Matkin who actually organised the Royal Park Ultra! She is also a superb Ultra runner; Penny successfully completed ultra races such as Marathon des Sables or the Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc (wow!). So you can imagine, I bombarded her with lots of questions about training, running, racing and nutrition etc. hope she didn’t mind it that much.
When we arrived back at the Hub the BBQ was already on filled with some delicious sausages. You could also snack on some fruits and waffles.
The Breakfast Run Club sessions are open to all abilities and trust me you will have a lot of fun! If you are a London-er you should definitely come along and try it yourself.
Taking part in Crewroom’s Breakfast Run Club is free, with a voluntary £2 contribution to cover the cost of breakfast.
Location – Crewroom Offices
- Saturday – 1st March
- Saturday – 15th March (Kate Giles won’t be there)
- Saturday – 29th March
- Saturday – 12th April
- Saturday – 26th April
‘Chitchat’ with Crewroom founder, Kate Giles
After the run and breakfast I had a chance to chat to Kate a little bit about Crewroom, its products and activities. Kate is a very friendly and chatty business woman who is very passionate about her business and sport; plus she’s got the cutest dog ever Vinnie. I’m also really jealous of her height; as an ex-bball player I always wanted to be tall so I could dunk.
Behind the Crewroom Scene
I was intrigued to know more what goes on behind the Crewroom scene, how long it takes to design the collection, how they all do it, why we should buy Crewroom clothes and what differentiate them from others.
The most interesting thing for me was that they have currently two girls from the London College of Fashion who have free hands when it comes to design and styles. They obviously do their research into the wants and needs of target market, current trends and popular fabrics. They then ‘transform’ all the ideas and market data into mood boards so all the Crewroom crew can sit down and discuss it all together.
The whole process of designing, testing and producing a collection can take anything between 9 to 10 months. So Spring 2014 collection can be in its final stage as we speak plus Kate’s revealed to me that Spring collection will be about new patterns and colours – I can’t wait!!!
What’s great about Crewroom is that they don’t try to copy big brands; they try to produce sport clothes with urban twist that are made for people living in cities such as London.
Vapour X Fabric
The key to Crewroom clothes is the eco-friendly Vapour X fabric which uses sustainable resources, Bamboo charcoal and Recycled polyester. The bamboo is carbonised into charcoal particles which are blended with polyester to form the unique performance fibre.
For example, the Royal Parks Ultra race t-shirt as well as t-shirt I was testing are using two layer fabric. The inner layer is made from carbonised bamboo for soft feel and the outer layer is recycled polyester, made entirely from recycled plastic bottles.
Such technology offers superb performance properties for runners including;
- high absorbency
- quick dry
- deodorising/anti-stink – nano particles inhibit odour-causing bacteria (awesome!)
- thermal regulation
Kate’s top tips
Lastly, I was interest to know what advice would Kate give to people who want to start their own business;
- Don’t sell on your ideas
- Research your market – wants & needs
- Creating great work environment/atmosphere is crucial
One funny moment
Straight after our breakfast run me and Kate were taking some photos together for my blog and for Crewroom newsletter. It was all going well and we took a couple of good shots until this moment…
I managed to avoid the boat just in time…
All in all the Saturday morning was awesome! Thanks to all Crewroom people for such a lovely atmosphere; I will definitely pop in again.
Have you tried Crewroom’s clothes? Do you buy eco-friendly sport clothes?