The Scottish clothing brand have been hand making clothes for the cycling industry since their founding by Jim McFarlane – who still runs the company – over 25 years ago. Their tag line of ‘All tribes, one clan’ pays homage to their Celtic roots whilst perfectly capturing the brands ethos of inclusivity and fun. In partnership with Evans Cycles, Endura have designed and will be producing the official Prudential RideLondon kit again for 2019. We recently took a trip to Endura’s factory in Livingstone near Edinburgh to look at the painstaking process behind producing such great clothing.
The process begins with the designers working from a brief put together by the team at Evans Cycles and Prudential RideLondon. After several proposed designs the final version was created by Endura Designer Colin Teevan. It’s a minimalist design taking its concept from a deconstructed British flag and racing lines. Jim McFarlane, Endura MD, said they didn’t want to create kit that was “single use”, and so the design is contemporary and subtle enough that it can be worn time and again outside of the event.
Cutting and Printing
The design is then passed on to the pattern cutter who uses specialist software to produce a template of the most efficient way to cut the material in order to create each garment. The fabric is rolled out and sandwiched between paper and plastic to protect it and keep it flat whilst being cut. This process is now all done by machines that can accurately cut the fabric into the correct size and shape. The paper and plastic offcuts are all recycled, whilst the fabric is so specialist it currently can’t be recycled for any other purpose.
To print the design onto the fabric a process called sublimation is used, whereby ink is subjected to intense heat and pressure to turn it into a gas and imprint it into the surface of the fabric. The ink is initially printed onto special sheets of paper – an individual piece must be printed for ever garment. The inked sheets are then laid by hand onto the fabric and expertly aligned before being placed under a machine that pressure heats the whole set to over 200°C for a few minutes. The sheets of paper are then peeled back from the fabric to reveal the fabric now perfectly printed – the slightest defect at this stage is immediately scrapped.
Each panel now cut and printed, the garment needs to be assembled. Everything produced at the factory in Livingstone is hand stitched by a crack team of Scottish seamstresses who go through roughly 600-1000 garments each week. Chamois’ need to be pinned perfectly in place before being stitched, zips need to be exactly matched, and seams intricately flatlock stitched to prevent chaffing. Once finished, each garment passes through QC (quality control) to make sure that nothing has been missed during the manufacturing process. In the case of Endura their QC department consists of two ladies, through whose hands every garment passes.
The kit is available as short sleeve jerseys, and both shorts and bib shorts, in both men’s and women’s fit. These high spec garments are made from all Italian fabrics using coldblack® technology which helps to reflect heat away from the body. Both the sleeves and legs are cut with a seamless skin-tight finish and feature hypoallergenic silicon grippers to keep those sharp tan lines. For such a long ride the short’s pad must be a focus, and Endura haven’t disappointed; using their award winning 700 series pad in both men’s and women’s specific fit. The Jerseys are finished off with three large rear pockets for convenient storage, and specifically for Prudential RideLondon 2019 the jersey now features an additional small side pocket to store used gel wrappers to help combat the issue of litter in cycling events. Also available this year are the official Prudential RideLondon cap and socks to complete the look.