COMMON GROUND: ashmei sportswear


As fashion increasingly collides with sport, the athletic clothing market has become something of a scrum. ashmei, a new premium sportswear brand, focuses on the needs of athletes rather than following industry trends or retail strategies. Bespoke materials – crafted from rigorous research and development – are the basis of ashmei’s outstanding performance athletic apparel.

When it comes to the disciplines of running, cycling and triathlon racing, one fabric does not fit all. Each sport contends with different issues: the heat, chafing and blisters generated by running; the challenge of wind and rain on long cycle rides; and the absorption of water – and weight – on the swim section of a triathlon. The team at ashmei works out the best fibres to keep athletes dry, warm, light and comfortable, so that they can focus on the finish line.

‘Our tri suits actually repel water,’ explains Stuart Brooke, ashmei’s founder. ‘A triathlon has three sports: swimming, cycling and running. If your suit gets wet, you are heavier for the cycling – and cold. We use a manmade, woven fibre – a micro fibre for a tighter weave – that has a water resistant fluorocarbon treatment added to it. We increase the amount of stretch to stop the water ingress, so that you leave the swim dry and the same weight.’

Stuart, who has been designing sportswear for brands for 23 years, launched ashmei three years ago. ‘Having designed for 90 brands, I know that they all work the same way – and that means starting with the retail price. At ashmei, we ignore price completely, thinking first of the athlete’s needs, not what we can afford,’ he explains.

ashmei – an anagram of Meisha, Stuart’s daughter’s name – has a strong brand language that you can identify from afar. With core colours of black, white, grey and red, the upper apparel features a signature stripe on the back. ‘Even if you covered up our logo you would recognize a runner ahead of you in ashmei, from the stripe,’ says Stuart. And all the female styles are the same as those in the men’s range: ‘We don’t shrink it and pink it.’

The company’s superfine merino wool – only sourced from Australia and New Zealand – is finer than human hair and is incredibly soft against skin. ashmei’s blend wicks away sweat and dries quickly, perfect for runners and cyclists. ‘The merino socks are my favourite item,’ says Chris Cecil-Wright, ‘They’re not something you know you’d want until you receive a pair: great gifts for the men who have everything.’ 

“If you buy the right gear, you buy only once.” 

Stuart Brooke

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