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Brief Published: 21 Mar 2019

Rapha X Unmade: Custom-Created Cycling Team Kits

Rapha Custom

Capitalising on the enthusiasm of small-scale fandoms, cult British cycling brand Rapha is the latest retailer to partner with Unmade. The new concept will allow members of amateur cycling teams to use Unmade’s on-demand apparel customisation technology to design matching team kits emblazoned with their own logo.

London-based Unmade allows teams to digitally create Rapha-branded sportswear while avoiding the traditionally convoluted process involved in creating sports team kits. The company has an eco-ethical stance, too. Only what’s ordered is made, meaning there’s zero deadstock at the end of production (hence Unmade’s previous collaborations with eco-innovators such as British fashion designer, Christopher Raeburn). 

Via its main e-commerce site, Rapha provides simple templates to kick-off the designing process. Products include jerseys, bib shorts, gilets, arm warmers and base layers which can be reinterpreted from a huge menu of pattern and colour options. Teams can also upload their own logos. Seducing with extra context, the platform’s preview images incorporate both a standard, mannequin-style view as well as an in-situ image, for a 360°, action view of the product. The kits are delivered in around eight weeks, with prices lowering as order volumes rise – bringing the standard wholesale model to consumers. 

The premise of melding a fan’s identity with that of the brand will blossom in importance as Gen Z audiences increasingly expect the ability to manipulate the platforms they use (whether it’s gaming or retail), or even be included on their favourite brand’s website selling their own versions of products. It’s something we explore in greater detail in Powering the Brand of Self and Retail Meets Media – both part of our forthcoming Spotlight, Dynamic Youth, publishing on April 4.

For more on Rapha’s often-innovative brand strategy see The Supportive Sell: Brands as Wellbeing Brokers and Retail’s Spirit of Adventure.