Performance wear describes a variety of clothing and garments that are designed with a sport of leisure activity in mind. The early development of sportswear clothing in the 19th century was brought forth strong and proud by menswear. At that time, it reflected a less formal approach to dressing in favor of more practical considerations.
Many sportswear designs had become codified according to their respective activity which lead to many future innovations in textile technology and functional styling. In fact, most mens’s fashions all started out as sports clothes and progressed into day to day attire. For example, the tail coat, which started out as a hunting coat, is just finishing it’s lifecycle whereas the tracksuit is just beginning its own.
Let it be known that by the beginning of the 2oth century, the USA had established a nationwide culture of informal dressing which defiantly set it apart from Europe thanks in part to the rapid expansion of industrialization, the forceful economy and the diverse climate of our great nation. In addition, the USA had its own sports such as baseball and American football, which contributed to distinctly American expressions of men’s sportswear style.
Nowadays, American men are more receptive to sportswear notions of comfort and ease than their European counterparts. Let’s face it, sportswear has become synonymous with American style. Technological advances in textile manufacturing and finishing processes enabled sportswear to become a catalyst for change across many aspects of menswear.
I have been researching performance brands and recently came upon a brand that peaked my interest. Whether you’re finishing 2018 strong, or are on the verge of throwing in the towel on your New Year’s resolutions, now is a great time to call in the reinforcements – and by reinforcements, I, of course, mean the latest gear from Vuori.
Inspired by its home of Southern California, Vuori blends one of a kind functionality with sleek, stylish designs that perform just as well as they look.
I recently had the privilege to interview Joe Kudla, Founder and CEO of Vuori about the design philosophy, the infusion of advanced technology within the brand’s robust fabrications and how he believes in a strong multichannel shopping experience for the customer base.
Joseph DeAcetis: In your own words, talk to us about the birth of Vuori. The design philosophy and the true essence and DNA of the brand?
Joe Kudla: It sounds cliche, but Vuori really was born from a personal need that we felt wasn’t being addressed in the active market. I found yoga about 10 years ago, as a means to heal my back from pain that accumulated over many years of playing football and collegiate lacrosse.
I fell in love with the practice and started going to class daily, which gave me a lot of relief and also set me on this path. Being someone that has always loved product and design, I looked around and asked the question, “What do guys wear to yoga?”. As a group of friends that were going to yoga together, and generally living a very diverse, active, coastal Californian lifestyle full of surfing, training, hiking, running, traveling, and a dozen other things, we felt like there weren’t any brands speaking directly to us. On the one hand, you did have the traditional ‘yoga’ brands.
However, we felt like they were targeting an older demographic and were much more focused on their female customers. On the other hand, you had the mainstream athletic brands that were really competing on price and distributed at mass market retail. The “gym costume” as we like to refer to it, was made from cheap synthetic fabrications, primary color stories and was extremely logo driven.
It felt like those brands drew inspiration from urban culture, and were targeting a younger aspirational athlete that was still competing in team sports. As guys in our 30s, our priorities had shifted and we were looking for product that could not only keep up with our active interests, but that had a look and feel that we actually wanted to wear — product that would integrate into our everyday lives outside the gym.
And of course, you had Lululemon, who at the time was bucking the trend and creating a new category by going upmarket in terms of better materials, better construction and better fit. While they did offer a small men’s line, to us it always felt like our wives’ brand. So we set out to create a brand and products inspired by that active, coastal California lifestyle that we live everyday; an integration of fitness, surf, sport and art.
Our design ethos is “Built to Move in, Styled for Life”. At the core of everything, what we make is performance; products that wick moisture, dry quickly, fight odor and move with your body. All the while, we design our products with a casual West Coast vibe that wears equally well at a bar or cruising around town as it does in the gym or studio.