Over the past five months I’ve been traveling with watersports wear by Blood Red Clothing, a Cebu-based international brand that’s been creating design-driven and field-tested apparel and gear inspired by the sport of sailing since 2007. Having worn their products during various water-based activities from canyoneering to scuba diving to wakeboarding, I’ve been repeatedly impressed not only by their aesthetic appeal, but most especially to the attention to detail they invest in their clothing to make them more convenient and worry-free to wear (read my product review).
In order to find out what makes their product lines stand out from the rest and what’s in store for the next collection, I sat down with co-founder David Harris and head designer Ralph Josip “Apiong” Bagares for an interesting Q&A:
What sets Blood Red apart from other water sports wear brands?
David: We offer high quality products for good value and that are well thought out with good design and development. We are design-led and want to bring some sports-fashion to an otherwise quite dull area of product use.
Apiong: Blood Red thrives in problem solving. And ultimately that’s what we do to all our products. We set ourselves apart by being an innovator and contributor as opposed to a me-too brand. We work to discover innovative approaches to designing our products, conscientious material choices and production processes. We don’t settle in a comfort zone when we know there are other methods and materials to employ, or other shapes to utilize. We pay attention to even the tiniest details, down to the last button, buckle, strap, etc.
Where does your team get design inspirations?
Apiong: Number one: design, we love design. We love things that are beautiful and functional. Secondly, the demand – we look at what is missing in the market and build on it. And if such things exist, we do our best to make ours better. Then, experience, we are outdoor people and we love the active lifestyle. We use our experiences to enhance and develop Blood Red products. Lastly, travel. We love going to different places and learning about new things, or old things that are new to us. We always look with an approach of “how can we apply this to our own products?” The Blood Red design team believes that design is problem solving. With this said, the biggest factor that inspires us involves the challenges of creating and innovating.
“We don’t settle in a comfort zone when we know there are other methods and materials to employ, or other shapes to utilize. We pay attention to even the tiniest details, down to the last button, buckle, strap…”
What product innovations are you most proud of?
Apiong: The gripper tape on the rashguards. Why? Because it works. It works so well people don’t notice it. And one TOP SECRET product (that we are developing), that we would have to kill you if knew about it… A game changer.
David: Of course our rash guards are some of the best in the market for performance and function. Our dry bags are fun with cool designs.
How do you guys test your products?
David: Different stages, all materials are tested to make sure they conform for example to colourfast, UPF50+, waterproofing, so that we know we are building good products. Then through all sampling/development we actively use them in all conditions and situations. Secondly, we work with our team riders for both their input and feedback to see where we can improve. Hopefully, as each new collection comes to market, it is an improvement on what went before.
Apiong: Key products are sent to external testing facilities to get the relevant ratings, such as the IPX8 rating for our pouches, and the UPF50+ rating for our rash guard and Motion Skins for our legging fabrics. We put the products in environments where they will be put to the test, such as sailing events where our On Deck collections are used and worn in real-life settings. We collaborate with people who are experts in their field who provide valuable field test feedback on the products. We use the products ourselves, and as individuals with different personal preferences, when we test our products we end up varied observations, thus allowing us different approaches on how to solve the design problems before products end up in retail. Apart from all that, customer feedback is also the basic and probably the most humbling and important way to test (and improve) our products.
What should we look forward to in your next collection?
Apiong: Bold, risky and intelligent design for our On Shore collection. And the intelligent high-tech gear that allows you to live with your tech even in the wettest environment your adventures take you.
David: Looking forward, we are working on a brand-new performance sailing item that we can’t reveal too much about just yet, but of course hope will be a new step forward. As well as some other new designs that we are excited to release in the coming months. Definitely a step up from where we are today.
Where to Buy
Blood Red Clothing apparel and accessories are sold at R.O.X. stores and selected resorts in the Philippines. Products may also be purchased online at www.bloodredclothing.com. Free shipping for all domestic Philippine orders. Flat rates for US, EU, Asia and other international destinations.