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Rapha Classic Collection relaunched with recycled materials

19 Mar 2021

New version of Rapha's merino fabric featuring recycled polyester added for updated Classic Jersey II and Classic Bib Shorts

It's fair to say that since it was founded in 2004, Rapha has become an icon of cycling clothing both for amateurs and in the pro peloton.

The British company's simple, stylish design and high quality materials have played a large part in making cycling kit look cool again. You can hardly leave the house without seeing a flash of Rapha flying past at one point or another.

That all started – and continues – with the Classic Collection: the Classic Jersey and Classic Bib Shorts. Now, 17 years later, they're being relaunched and with it a welcome change of direction for the brand and hopefully the industry.


The Green Jersey

While the designs are maintained, Rapha has introduced a new version of its Rapha Performance Merino 150 (RPM150) fabric for the Classic Jersey II and Classic Bib Shorts that's made with recycled polyester.

The new polyester, that makes up 64% of RPM150, is Global Recycled Standard certified, meaning it can be traced back to the plastic bottles it came from.

Rapha also says that the merino that makes up RPM150's remaining 36% is non-mulesed and adheres to strict animal welfare standards. The brand says its supplier will have the highest certfication of responsible wool sourcing in the industry from next year.

After going through Rapha's testing process, including a season of riding all over the world, the company says the new RPM150 doesn't reduce the performance or durability of the products and claims it won't pill, fade or become misshapen.

'The new Classic Jersey represents a drive to doing things better,' says Emma Bentley, Rapha's fabric development manager. 'This garment is so prominent, and is such an icon, that making this change really demonstrates our commitment to reducing our environmental footprint.'


Turning a corner

This is just part of a major commitment by Rapha to become carbon-neutral by 2025 that also incudes moving to 100% renewable energy, 100% low-impact packaging and 'environmentally preferred' materials for 90% of its seasonal production.

'What might sound insignificant at first – swapping out a fabric on one jersey – actually has a domino effect for our environmental impact as a brand,' says Rapha's sustainability manager Duncan Coulter.

'This jersey was Rapha's first product, so starting here makes a big statement. We could have focussed on a less important product or even developed a whole new low impact collection. But by starting here, with our most iconic garment, we're making a statement that this commitment to doing things better comes straight from the heart of the brand.'

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