Author: Denzil Hogan.
Freerun fashion has been getting more and more popular lately, but I hear people saying, “What is freerun fashion?”
Well, my silly little purist, here I am to tell you. Freerun fashion is the newest form of street wear, an evolution of the cancerous promotional-style wear that was Urban Freeflow and is Take Flight. Freerun fashion consists of actual brands trying to create their own aesthetic through their designs and create something more than a basic tee with PARCOUR written on it in comic sans. These brands take fashion seriously and follow more complex practises than getting terrible screen prints on five dollar t-shirts.
Freerunning clothing started with Urban Freeflow, one of the earliest forms of Freerun fashion. Boring and plain, Urban Freeflow printed their logo on basic tees. Being the only brand on the scene at the time Urban Free Flow made a massive profit and sponsored athletes such as Tim Sheiff, Shaun Wood and even Yoann Leroux. The brand faded away and in its absence new brands were made.
Thinking they could do better, freerunners from around the world began clothing lines that were aesthetically pleasing, yet practical for consumers. A lot of new brands wanted to change the way freerunners look, moving away from the ten dollar trackies and the tight shirts, a ‘style’ that has been compared to looking like a hobo by Jason Paul.
Brands like Farang, Storror and N*rmal change the way freerunners dressed, bringing in new ideas like custom fits of clothing and different fabrics into freerunning street wear. With this, freerun fashion transitioned from promotional wear to street wear, they made garments that were fashionable and could uphold the standard of quality in comparison to other street wear brands. Drew Taylor, co-owner and designer of Storror really pushes the idea of high quality clothing so freerun fashion can follow other cultures. He said in the 2014 documentary freerunning Fashion;
“Obviously what’s happened with skate, it’s been accepted by mainstream culture. So you get people who don’t skate, who want to represent that lifestyle and I think definitely freerunning has the potential to get to that same level, it’s just about bringing the level of the quality of the products up, to be on par."
A lot of people in the community treat Freerunning Street Wear as novelty, taking it as seriously as a cute project to support because they think the idea is cool or because they know the brand owners and want to buy some of their friend’s stuff. But in a growing industry where some pieces sell out at $180 New Zealand dollars, is it really considered novelty? Money and time is invested into creating a brand and even more into the garments. Original ideas, well designed graphics, quality of the garments (taking into account the cut/fit, the fabric, the colour, what climate/weather it’s made for), whether you’re going to screen print or embroider, etc. It’s a complicated process and it’s definitely not an easy job, you need to have such a diverse set of skills and knowledge to be able to make a brand work successfully.
Now I’m not saying don’t wear baggy trackies, and I’m not saying wear skinny jeans and baggy tops. What I am saying is; if there’s clothing available, that’s made for us, for our community, by members of our community then why not buy and wear it with pride? If there’s baggy track pants made by a brand that gives back to our community or does something for our benefit as well as their own; why not buy those trackies? If there’s a piece of clothing made by a freerunning brand that you think looks fucking cool, that makes our sport and yourself look fucking cool, why not buy it? We as a collective want this sport to progress over time, we want it to be recognised as a real thing, something more than a thing reckless kids go do while they’re on the way to harass an old lady. We want our sport to be part of mainstream culture so we can have things like events held for us to come jam at or have better opportunities for people to make a career out of what they love, whether it’s being a coach, a sponsored athlete, the head of a parkour charity or a brand owner.
If we’re going to make parkour and freerunning a proper sport, why not dress the part?