I first encountered OORR (Out of the Rat Race) a couple of years ago when the company released its debut jersey. At face value, it appeared to resemble any other jersey, however the fact that it was manufactured from recycled plastic really set it apart.
In the time since then, Tim Christian, OORR’s founder has been working hard on his next products, and, as it turns out, developing a strategy to revolutionise the fashion industry. In his words, “the fashion industry is a dark stain on the social and environmental health of our planet, and will only get worse unless we do something about it.”
Perhaps his biggest concern is the amount of pollution that the fashion industry generates, which is second only to oil, but Tim sees enormous opportunity for making a change. “All we have to do is make more sustainable products more desirable, or more fashionable,” he said. For that reason, OORR is devoted to sustainable materials as well as moving away from irresponsible manufacturing and marketing practices. “Quite selfishly, I’m doing this for my kids. [The fashion industry] is low hanging fruit for causing massive change.”
OORR’s Café Pro jersey is made from recycled plastic and used coffee grounds. When combined with plastic and conventional yarn, coffee grounds render the fabric more porous and increase its surface area to enhance moisture wicking and evaporation. At the same time, the fabric is more resistant to UV rays and odour.
The Frog Skin Pro bibshorts also makes use of recycled materials, however it’s the addition of nanoparticles that mimic antibacterial peptides from frog skin that gives the shorts its name. These particles permanently bond to the fabric wherever they are applied and promise to keep the majority of bacteria and odours in check for the life of the garment.
Both garments offer all the features that a cyclist would expect from a typical kit including a full-length zipper at the front of the jersey, three rear pockets, and generous leg-gripping bands for the shorts.
At this stage, buyers can only get a hold of OORR’s new kit by making a pledge to its Kickstarter campaign with delivery expected by June 2017. If the campaign is successful, the jersey will be offered in a choice of three designs and nine sizes (XS-5XL) for men and seven sizes (XS-3XL) for women, however the bibshorts will only become available if the campaign exceeds its initial target of AUD$35,000.
OORR’s new kit is very impressive, providing the same kind of fit and feel as performance-oriented apparel from established brands such as Assos and Castelli. At the same time, the bold styling keeps pace with current trends so that buyers won’t look out of place in the modern bunch despite the recycled nature of the material.
I couldn’t help but marvel out how light, stretchy and airy the jersey and shorts were. My experience with OORR’s OORRiginal jersey left me wondering if recycled plastics could ever be used to create a fabric that could rival technical fabrics made from new materials, but that’s exactly what OORR has managed with the Café jersey and Frog Skin shorts.
The fit was precise yet forgiving, so there was no need to struggle with the jersey or shorts to get them on, nor was there any need to fiddle with the seams or hems afterwards. And while the fabric hugged my body, I was barely aware of it; when coupled with generous airflow that it provided, there were times when I felt a little naked. With this in mind, I’d reserve this kit for warm and hot days.
The size medium jersey and shorts compared well with brands such as Assos and Pearl Izumi. Each garment provides a body-hugging fit to suit a small athletic frame but as I’ve already noted, the amount of stretch in the fabric is very forgiving. As such, I can’t imagine anybody will find this kit constricting, though buyers hoping for a loose-fitting jersey may have to go up a size or two.
It was easy to spend at least a few hours in this kit, be it a relaxing cruise or a hard racing effort thanks to its soft, barely-there and airy feel. I found the padding in the shorts was well suited to road riding though it lacked the kind of deep plushness that I prefer for all-day riding. Be that as it may, I’d count this as a minor shortcoming compared to the rest of the strengths of this kit.
Indeed, with this kit, OORR has proven that it is possible to manufacture high quality cycling apparel from sustainable materials. Unfortunately, the extra expense associated with a low volume of production and relatively specialised manufacturing processes means that it won’t achieve widespread appeal in the short term even though there are many good reasons why it should.
Price: Café Pro jersey, ~AUD$190/~US$145; Frog Skin Pro bibshorts, TBA.