Technical kit needs to be fit for purpose and made to last, plus it's a new venture for us, so we had to find a supplier with a pedigree within competitive sportswear and industry-leading know-how.
'Thousands of Olympic athletes wear products developed by P&R', declares the company's website proudly. So do professional sportsmen and women from every kind of discipline – swimmers and cyclists, rowers and runners, athletes and triathletes. This is the standard of kit we were looking to make and we found our brilliant manufacturer in Portugal.
It's our first season working with this company, found via our preferred method of supplier acquisition – a personal recommendation. We'd searched further afield but none of the samples were impressive enough. One of our longstanding Portuguese suppliers suggested P&R Texteis and once we knew more about them, we were sold. Mr & Mrs Pinto's family-run company, founded in 1982, is obsessed with innovation and only works with supply chains that share its ethos and sense of social responsibility. This is where our first collection of technical sportswear, designed at the JW HQ in London, rolled off the production line.
The factory near Porto in north Portugal is a hive of activity when we visit, filled with high spec machines used for laser-cutting, heat-sealing, stretch-testing and finish-applying, to name but a few of the mind-bogglingly techy processes. The fabrics used to make our products are sourced in Europe – all chosen for their high-performance, technical qualities and how well suited these are to a swimsuit, for example, or training base layer. Bonded seams, done by specialist machines, are referred to by P&R as 'active seams' and these stitchless solutions are perfect for sports wear – resulting in a sleeker, more streamlined fit and a lighter-weight fabric unhampered by needle holes or thread. Once constructed, our products are stamped with brand new logos and clean branding, and are soon winging their way to us.
Judge their quality for yourselves – and have a great work out while you're at it.