RUNNING ORDER is a new technical designer sports brand that sits at the intersection of techno music and endurance-based movement. Technically engineered sustainable activewear that caters towards a spectrum of bodies and genders and can be worn to a marathon or a 24hr rave. We create garments that enable individuals to push their limits — on the track, the dance floor, and wherever their bodies take them. RUNNING ORDER engages in design beyond just clothing. Our interests extend into art, music, literature, architecture, and dance. We aim to amplify the voices and visions of other creatives and audiences in different fields, to define and build a community with shared values. WWW BY RUNNING ORDER is an open, global run team located in major metropolitan cities, featuring weekly digital Sunday runs and annual IRL races.
A conversation between Running Order and The Canvas
Please share a bit about the beginnings of Running Order.
Running Order started in 2013. The catalyst was noticing the market didn't have anything that allowed an expressive interpretation of your own creative aesthetic, or how you see yourself. We think that's why people are interested in fashion in general. There's a reason why we wear our hair, glasses, tattoos, clothes a certain way. I felt like we became very homogenous at the gym, or in whatever sport you're exercising in. That realization sparked the idea to create an instance of research for asking: What would an aesthetically driven sport brand look like? Is there a way to create clothing that can communicate your identity better? So that's where Running Order started.
Running Order blends the worlds of techno music culture with urban running culture. Could you speak to how these worlds came together?
That came very naturally, as when you're young and start going out clubbing, you have an intention to dress for a certain audience. When you become more serious with raving, or even training, you end up wanting to last and sustain yourself for 12, 24 to 36 hours at a club. So then the drivers and the desire for what you're wearing changes very much: you're not necessarily looking for aesthetic or form, you're actually looking for function. You'll notice, the more that you club, and the longer that you go, people very naturally start to wear activewear. There's a reason that you have the same needs and desires as for a marathon; you need your clothes to work and function with you.
Can you speak to the programming component that you're building into the brand identity?
Running Order has been able to succeed within its community because it naturally is birthed from it. It comes from it. We've all met through the clubs, over the years of just having the same kind of body synergy on the dance floor. Our photographers also come from the scene; the brand concept naturally comes to life in the photography we produce.So that's one aspect of the community output. Then also from the actual community of runners that we have within our running group, there is the synergy and understanding of pushing your body to the limit, whether that's on the dance floor or at a race. Those are the two parallels.
Can you speak to how you have formed a more sustainable model for designing and producing the clothing?
In terms of how we design, we found that working in 3D was the best way to fit on both classic male and female bodies. We design everything in 3D, what is patterned, drafted, and fitted. First, we have a male and female body that we can apply the measurements in real life forms. Then when we fit the garment onto varied body types, we make an assessment of what we would need to make a piece truly unisex. Some people do work on an illustrator flat, which is a 2D technical drawing, but it doesn't represent true proportions or any challenges; you simply give a set of measurements to the factory. When you give that package [2D] to a factory, it's like an IKEA manual for garments. It's a guess at what will actually happen and what will turn out, and you're going to hope that the factory interprets it the best they can. When we work in 3D, we have total control over what the pattern will look like, how all the design lines or proportions will feel, and all the tightness of the fabric. And so when we get our prototypes back, for example, with a few of the factories, they’ve been almost perfect. So we’ve eliminated the back and forth on emails, prototype sampling, and shipments between all the factories. Mistakes will still happen, because it's a rather new process for factories to work in 3D. But we have eliminated certain rounds of mistakes that would have resulted in garment waste.
Can you elaborate on the materiality you’re working with in regards to existing materials?
There's no reason to create new raw virgin material anymore, especially now that the demand is so high for sustainable materials. You actually have to be cautious now what you're selecting, because there's a lot of greenwashing. You have to research to make sure where fabric is coming from, is it pre- or post-consumer recycled materials. Those are the baseline for the raw materials that we choose. From there, we select our partners to work with on a manufacturing level. Right now, all the sports clothes are produced in the USA with [the company] that makes a lot of the Olympic uniforms. What you're getting also is incredible durability with standards at the highest level, and then also our factory workers are getting paid an ethical wage. For Running Order, I really want it to be as sustainable as possible – in both manufacturing and materiality. We try to design with recycled biobased or bluesign approved, or Oeko-Tex certified. So there are certain certifications that go within a material. Every material that we pick has to be within one of those parameters.
Congratulations on the launch of the recent clothing line! Can you share a bit of the concept with this line?
This collection was created from a selection of core basics that you can always have continuously available throughout the year, and it will be a running collection. The concept is that it's unisex, so anyone can wear it. You can wear it for anything that you need. You can wear it for training at the gym, you can wear it for running, and then also the whole idea of the brand is that you can wear it out in the club, at a rave.
Are you planning to release future collections seasonally or annually?
It'll be seasonal: Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter with smaller drops. We didn't want to put out a 40-piece collection, as the goal will be to release very small, tightly curated pieces from five to ten pieces at maximum.
If there was a brand you could collaborate with, who would it be?
A collaboration with Norda for clothing, we respect the whole ethos and functional output, while still being fun.