By Morwenna Kearns
Customers ask a lot from activewear brands: function, style and, increasingly, ethics. Sundried has a lot of energy for this triathlon of demands, which form both its background and future.
"Being involved in outdoor sports makes you more aware of your surroundings," says Jess Tonking, Sundried's Marketing Manager and Personal Trainer. "From traffic congestion to the beauty of our landscape, it makes you want to get outdoors more, to ditch the car when you can and encourage others to do the same.
"With our roots deeply embedded in triathlon and ethical culture we can not ignore what has made and helped us develop into what Sundried are today. We have organically grown as a brand to support our hobbies and values, inspired by the great outdoors, taking our background of extreme sports and triathlon and mixing this with our strong feeling of responsibility towards leaving the planet in a better place than we found it."
The Sundried range features running tights, shorts, tops and T-shirts, tested by athletes. All are designed to be functional during exercise while retaining good style; the capsule garments work together for a complementary look or with other sportswear.
"When we began designing our activewear, we knew we needed to strike a balance between function and aesthetics – being personal trainers we know what's needed from good activewear," says Jess. "With our list of technical functions we called upon leading industry designers who have worked with Lululemon and other large brands. We can proudly say our first range delivers both style and function."
The original Sundried range is handmade in Portugal and its supply chain fully traceable, with an audit from the Low Carbon Innovation Fund proving its eco credentials. However, like all sporty sorts, Sundried has plans to push things further. "All further production promises to be based in the UK and Europe," says Jess.
"We minimise the carbon footprint throughout the full lifecycle of our clothing through its design, manufacture, distribution, use and disposal."
Shoppers looking for ethically made sportswear are often faced with labels printed with techie terms and scientific promises. While futuristic fabrics add another layer of complexity to responsible sourcing, it hasn't stopped Sundried, says Jess.
"All clothing should seek responsible sourcing and activewear is no different. Yes, it is harder to produce activewear ethically as our range features technically advanced fabrics, however we ensure we do everything we can throughout the production cycle to be as ethical as possible, our staff are treated fairly and we limit the damage we do to the planet."
Sundried also seeks to spread the positive effects of exercise with its Every Hour On the Hour, AKA #EHOH, initiative which encourages office workers to complete five-minute workouts every hour. Advice on getting active is also posted on the Sundried website.
The brand also donates to Water for Kids, a charity that works to bring safe water to communities in countries including Uganda and Zambia, with every purchase.
Further proof, then, that getting sweaty is a good thing.