The Rise of Rowing Apparel
words by Eleanor Brinkhoff
photo by 俊逸 余 on Unsplash
Have you noticed at regattas that the competition on the water is only half the story? Almost as keenly contested is whose kit is the brightest, boldest, most extravagant and sheer in-your-face loud.
The annual BUCS regatta and head race have become a showcase, not only for the elite level of University sport, but annually plays host to the catwalk of which team has the most vibrant leggings associated with their place of study. The tartan design from Scottish universities against the ducks from Bath, or stripes of Bristol give rise to a spectrum of colours across all these events.
Training kit has become a staple of the sport with the high quality specialised designs from numerous suppliers making it difficult to refuse a bulk purchase for the bundle. This can be justified when appreciating how much time is spent in these clothes across numerous seasons, up and down the river both in training and competition.
A newer sight is that of rowers away from the water who are still able to make it clear to laypeople of their chosen sport, and which team has their affiliation. The assortment of sweatshirt, mug and bobble hat, all with an underlying rowing theme, is now a staple of many who have committed themselves to the long sessions out on a river or lake.
Off the water clothing has come on a great deal over the last 6 years. What was once the mainstay of boxy sweatshirts emblazoned with your club badge and initials. Classy, well thought out, designs now mix it up with retail look and feel to the sweats and hoodies.
Is it all worth it? It comes down to passion. If you are going to spend endless hours on the water, synchronising that square up, then you are bound to want to look the part, and at your best, when it finally comes to the race. And rowing, as much as any sport, is at its best when the individual becomes at one with the team. So it is natural to want to show your affiliation with your crew, and your pride in yourself and your teammates.
Here at Square Blades the vision was simple. To create a range of garments that would look & feel great whether we were post-training-chilling on the clubhouse chesterfield, or were out and about in town. Either way it was important to hit that ath-leisure/preppy rowing vibe that you know and love.
The best part of rowing? Yes, ok, winning races is all well and good. But, seeing someone walk past wearing something you recognise, followed by the knowing nod - I know, and you know I know - is a great feeling.
Rowing is more than just crew. More than just clothing. Rowing becomes a way of life.