A Sporting Man
Whether on the court, course or in the saddle, make your next athletic encounter a stylish one with more than 25 brands new to us
Let’s assume by the fact you’re reading this that you’re a man who concerns himself with matters of style. It follows that you care about the way you look, and place a certain importance on physical activity. While MR PORTER has been your go-to for clothes, accessories and the many other accoutrements of a stylish life for some time now, we have, as yet, been unable to provide you with a satisfying solution to your sporting needs.
That is, until now. Today sees the start of a roll-out on MR PORTER of more than two dozen new sporting brands across nine categories, including cycling, sailing, tennis and golf. The largest single expansion in MR PORTER’s short history is upon us – and it comes at a time of unprecedented crossover between the worlds of sport and style.
Call it a reaction against the sedentary nature of modern life, but men seem to be embracing sports more seriously than ever – whether that means adopting a scientific approach to recovery and nutrition, or investing in the latest Kevlar-reinforced, carbon-fibre bike frame to shave precious seconds off the morning commute. Meanwhile, the rise of Tough Mudder, CrossFit and Ironman are all testament to our desire to find new ways to challenge ourselves.
And as technical fabrics and athletic silhouettes filter down into the world of mainstream fashion, this fitness revolution is having an effect on the way we dress outside of sport. Of course, this is nothing new – the polo shirt, tennis sneakers and baseball cap all transcended their sporting origins a long time ago – but as our gym kit becomes our weekend wardrobe and vice versa, the lines between sport and style are set to become ever more hazy.
To put it simply, the style-conscious sportsman has never had it so good. Not only are we getting physical with an enthusiasm not seen since a certain Ms Olivia Newton-John, but we’re doing it with style.
Without further ado, it’s time to introduce you to our roster of new brands.
Anyone with more than a passing interest in cycling will be familiar with Castelli, a legendary cycling marque that began life in 1876 as the Milanese tailoring firm Vittore Gianni. Over the years it has clothed the likes of Tour and Giro winners Messrs Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali, Jacques Anquetil and many more. Today, the brand is a byword for innovation in cycling, and is credited with a number of firsts, including the first Lycra cycling shorts and the first fully waterproof jersey. The brand’s popular Gabba jersey is one of the many pieces bearing its iconic scorpion logo that are now available for the first time on MR PORTER.
Joining Castelli is Fizik, a high-performance cycling accessories brand whose shoes and saddles are a common sight on Le Tour, and Brooks England, a heritage saddle brand whose B17 leather saddle has been in production since 1897. For those yet to invest in a serious road bike or those wishing to upgrade, MR PORTER will also be exclusively offering off-the-peg bikes from the esteemed Condor. This is the first time the London-based brand has offered ready-made bikes: customers are usually required to select individual components.
After a soft launch last year, our collaboration with Café du Cycliste continues with a newly expanded selection. This quintessentially Gallic label has two main lines: Sur le Zinc, its urban casual range (the name means “at the bar”, after the zinc bars found in traditional Parisian cafés), and Sur le Bitume, its professional range.
Whether you favour the clean-cut look of the modern game or the rebellious, old-school cool of the 1970s and 1980s circuit – think wooden rackets, headbands and short shorts – we’ve got something that’ll cater both to your performance and sartorial needs.
Nike Tennis and Lacoste Tennis are two of the most iconic names in tennis apparel, and between them are responsible for outfitting a good proportion of the professional tour. Messrs Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are both on Nike’s roster – and the RF and Rafa signature styles will both be available on MR PORTER.
Joining Lacoste’s crocodile and Nike’s swoosh is the maple leaf (it is a maple leaf, honest) logo of Boast, the much-loved US tennis brand. Originally founded in 1973 and only recently relaunched, it has managed to retain the easy-going look and feel of that bygone era.
Golf might not be the most physically demanding sport, but it’s still important to be appropriately attired – especially when it’s so easy to fall foul of draconian dress codes. Like most things, though, looking the part is easy when you know how.
And a good place to start is Ralph Lauren’s contemporary golf line, RLX, now available on MR PORTER. Look out for polo shirts, base layers and rain-resistant outerwear in a range of technical fabrics and tailored fits, as worn by such pros as Messrs Luke Donald, Tom Watson and the entire US Ryder Cup team.
We will also be expanding our range from Peter Millar. With its timeless aesthetic, it’s the Augusta Masters to RLX’s US Open – and we’ll be the only stockist to offer the brand’s newly developed slim-fit range to the US market.
Does a well-spent weekend for you involve carbo-loading, early starts and blister plasters? If so, you now have several new reasons to log on to MR PORTER. Runners are catered for with a handful of newly available specialist brands. These include Athletic Propulsion Labs, a Californian sneaker specialist whose Concept 1 basketball sneakers were banned by the NBA in 2010 for offering what was perceived as an “unfair competitive advantage” (that’s buzz you can’t buy). That same patented Load ‘N Launch technology is found in the brand’s pop-coloured running sneakers.
Joining APL is Newton, a company from Boulder, Colorado, with a reputation as the serious runner’s shoe of choice. What Newton provides, above all, is flexibility. Every shoe is given a P.O.P. (point of power) rating of between one and three, corresponding to the level of cushioning: the Gravity, Motion and Distance models are rated one, the Fate and Kismet models are rated two and the Aha and Energy are rated three. Certain models also come with E.M.B. (extended medial bridge) for extra arch support.
The running selection is also boosted by an expanded product selection from existing brands Iffley Road, Aether Apparel and Nike Running.
MR PORTER’s hiking and outdoor range expands significantly this April, and the brand at the centre of this expansion is Arc’teryx. This Canadian outdoor apparel specialist is one of the most highly regarded brands in the industry – and MR PORTER is proud to announce that it will be its first non-outdoor-specialist retail partner. Arc’teryx (the name is a contraction of Archaeopteryx, a prehistoric species of bird) joins an impressively rugged line-up that includes Patagonia, the Californian outdoor company, and Musto Shooting, the country pursuits specialist.
Musto Sailing was founded in 1965 and has gone on to become the definitive name in high-quality, stylish sailing gear. An expanded range will be launching this April that focuses on the LPX range (that’s Lightweight Performance for eXtreme sailing). It’s crafted with three-layer Gore-Tex, but is designed to be breathable and flexible. With the Evolution line, Musto has used its ocean-going expertise to create a range of technical gear suitable for all terrains: expect waterproof base layers made from self-wicking fabric with built-in SPF protection.
The famously gym-toned Mr Rick Owens said: “No outfit is going to make you look or feel as good as having a fit body.” Although, conversely, the first step to having a fit body might just be to invest in the right fitness gear.
To that end, MR PORTER is now offering a range of compression clothing from the Australian specialist 2XU – pronounced “two times you” – that includes shorts, tops and even a specialist triathlon suit. So well-regarded is 2XU’s compression gear that the head athletic trainer of the Houston Rockets, Mr Keith Jones, claimed that 29 out of 30 NBA franchises use it – despite none of them having an official sponsorship deal.
Foam rollers are also available from TriggerPoint, a fitness and sports recovery brand created by biomechanics specialist Mr Cassidy Phillips. These contraptions have become a fundamental part of work-out routines in recent years, providing a deep-tissue massage that stretches worn muscle, eases out knots and encourages speedy recovery.
Two swimming brands join MR PORTER this month. The first up is Matuse, which makes premium wetsuits made from limestone Geoprene, a material boasting 98% water-impermeability compared to only 65% for normal neoprene. Its suits are used by surfers, triathletes and Navy SEALS, and are designed to cope with a range of water temperatures.
For those who prefer their water chlorinated, Arena is a leader in the performance swimwear sector: at the 2014 European Swimming Championships, nearly 60% of the medal-winners were wearing the brand – and now you can, too.
Last but not least, one of the highlights of MR PORTER’s new sport department is Suunto. This renowned Finnish brand began life as a compass manufacturer in 1936 and has since expanded into sports watches, where it is a market leader. Among the models available on MR PORTER is the company’s top model, the Ambit3. A complete sports watch, it tracks altitude, heart rate, speed and distance while providing weather information, GPS data and much more. In short, it provides everything that the modern sportsman needs.