Woman sitting on steps with RYU’s Quick Pack Lux

Innovation from the Ground Up: Athletic Apparel Design

RYU Team / Aug 17, 2017

In a revolutionary experiment where raw athletic talent meets technical design superiority, RYU pioneered a new process for bringing tailored innovation to market. It began with the formation of BETA\37.5, the Research + Development Lab tasked with inventing the future of athletic apparel design.

Isolated from the daily running of the business, BETA\37.5 is where designers have the freedom to create and enjoy a lifestyle that reflected the brand. Here they were able to reinvent the clothing design process, which was a combination of ideation and prototyping in a unique partnership with our suppliers.

A Revolution in Thinking

The intention behind BETA\37.5 was to create a distinct design lab that brought research methods and design into one ideal location. We began by recruiting some of the best designers and product engineers in the world and put them in a remote mountainside environment and allowed them to work independently and hands-on in a way that is completely different than anywhere else.

For instance, it’s common practice in clothing design today for designers to develop illustrations and send them overseas where they are turned into something that’s a representation of the original idea. RYU’s vision was different. Instead of sending sketches or computer drawings to the factories, we mandated that our design teams physically build actual prototypes in-house – a lost art in athletic apparel design. Then we take those same prototypes, beat the crap out of them, refine them, rebuild them, and make them better.

“Our process is completely hands-on. It’s trial and error. By the time we finish building products they’ll get used more than if they were actually in the field. You might build a hundred versions of something and it might get used for six to twelve months. It’s not just this theoretical test. It’s not just putting fabric in a washing machine and saying, ‘ok it’s done the 30-wash test’. No, we’ve worn it for six months. We’ve used it. We’ve seen the outcome.”

– RYU Designer

Curating Collections

Rather than focusing on individual hero pieces, our athletic apparel design lab focused on creating entire collections that have been strategically curated using sports research methods to solve problems for athletes. This includes There + Back, Train + Develop, and Rest + Recovery.

Their vision has already paid off with the creation of a brand new apparel category: Urban Athletic Apparel. Featuring intellectual properties, revolutionary patent-pending innovations and disruptive technology unlike anything seen in athletic apparel design.

A group of people working out in a park (doing pull ups)

Award Winning Results

Within 6 months of opening our Flagship store in Vancouver, RYU has been recognized by some of the top design awards in the world. Our Carry System in particular has gained international notoriety for our design lab.

Quick Pack Lux

The Fashion and Travel Accessories Design category recognizes world-class products, prototypes, and/or concepts exhibiting exceptional form, function, innovation and aesthetics. The awards are decided by a panel of international media, established designers, leading academics and prominent entrepreneurs and are presented each year in Italy.

Created by BETA\37.5, RYU’s Quick Pack Lux is designed for athletes by athletes to work for all parts of life including to and from home, the gym, and work. The bag’s sleek aesthetic contrasts a muted exterior with shiny interior, artfully capturing the brand’s ‘Beautiful Tough’ mantra.

Close up of RYU’s Quick Pack Lux

Locker Pack Lux

Nominated by Carryology for Best Work Backpack.

Carryology is a website driven by designers, retailers and overall bag enthusiasts who test and review carry gear for “fitness of purpose”. They study construction, innovation and overall functionality for bags that transport the important pieces of our day-to-day lives. These are people who actively use and test bags and backpacks in both urban and outdoor environments, looking at all aspects of their design to confirm maximum performance and quality combined with modern style and versatility.

According to Carryology, “Labelling RYU as ‘Arc’teryx for the gym’ would be under-selling their early achievements. Despite the obvious DNA of former bird employees, RYU are working hard to redefine formats and approaches, such as those found in the Locker Pack. A novel drop-front opening allows for great access and doubles as a portable locker, perfect for flying by the gym. Minimalist patterning creates visual interest. And a great mix of fabrics adds some suave office appeal. All the best in athletic apparel design.



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