The Crewroom Community | Eclectic Cake: The Crewroom Community

Friday, 1 August 2014

The Crewroom Community

Reminiscing about her days as a top British rower, Kate Giles, founder of sportswear brand Crewroom, describes herself as "a lazy racehorse" but listening to the company's 12 year journey from idea spark to successful sponsor of charities, sporting events and teams, it's hard to imagine her as anything but a grafter. Even now, the rest of her team have escaped the office for a well-earned ice cream on a swelteringly hot day as she sits at her desk in front of piles of work.

Credit: Pandora's Thoughts Photography

That isn't to say Crewroom is a one-woman show. In fact, the community that surrounds the brand has been instrumental in its development, from coming up with the name itself to providing valuable feedback on the apparel, gathered at the many sports events the team travel between. The Putney hub provides a base for regular classes, a running club and weekend breakfasts. Further afield, the small manufacturers in Southern China, used for the whole clothing range, are given education in how to make each garment. And, more recently, graduates of the London College of Fashion gain valuable experience as they help shape each new collection. It's clear people are important here.

Credit: Pandora's Thoughts Photography

After catching pneumonia from running in pouring rain wearing a cotton t-shirt (chosen for its comfort over what used to be harsh technical fabrics) Kate set out to create a company dedicated to looking after athletes. Always inclusive, this word is used for absolutely anyone who fancies going out for a jog to those competing for their country. "There's no difference between someone that runs round the park and an Olympic athlete", each needs protecting from heat and wet and cold and wind. If anything, the non-professional needs more protection as they are perhaps less prepared for the strain on their body.

Credit: Pandora's Thoughts Photography

Encouraging the recreational athlete is something Kate is passionate about. "London Marathon times are getting slower and that's brilliant! It means more people are giving it a go." Whilst seeing the likes of Jessica Ennis-Hill is inspiring, the average runner can't relate to her, so in their campaigns Crewroom use people like the 40 year-old that has just begun to run marathons. The average runner can relate to that. Kate herself now enjoys just running for fun with friends – "As my waistline has relaxed a little, so have I" – and applauds events like the Color Run and mud obstacle races that welcome any ability. This type of race is a bit quirky and about getting dirty and enjoying yourself, much like our brand.

Credit: Pandora's Thoughts Photography

As Crewroom has matured, it's begun to reveal more of this personality and the new collections are certainly the most confident. 'Laser' introduces a bit of boldness and a hint of the Southbank with its colourful patterns and sharp shapes applied across each item of the collection, including the most comfortable non-chafing shorts I've ever had the pleasure of plodding in. 'Elements' aims to keep you in the most strokably soft technical fabrics that keep you in touch with the elements, be that water whilst paddle-boarding, wind whilst running, or the roaring fire of a riverside pub (after all, "run endorphins are heightened by beer endorphins").

Credit: Pandora's Thoughts Photography

Despite an increasingly successful company, it seems the super down-to-earth Kate is keen on the simple things in life, "As long as I can keep running until I'm 80, I'll be happy." I'll raise an endorphin-filled pint glass to that.

Catch up with Crewroom ( at the London Triathlon Expo 2014, on Saturday & Sunday, August 2 & 3 at the ExCeL Centre, East London, where the team will be on stand 32 exhibiting their brand new ranges.

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