Sportswear made of bamboo, banana and aloe vera. You heard that right. Not only are these fabrics healthier for the skin, but they're also less prone to odours.
Two British brothers living in Singapore set up Carrot, Banana and Peach in 1999 - an athletic clothing range made solely with eco-friendly, natural-based and sustainable products.
The brand, already available in the UK, India, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Netherlands, has now launched in the UAE.
"What better place to make an impact or send a message?" asks the co-founder Tom Gartside. "Fifty million people pass through Dubai a year, making it the 10th busiest airport in the world."
The willingness of UAE consumers to pay for quality products has made the brand more successful than anticipated, he says. Customers are attracted by the clothing's unusual "ingredients" and their benefits such as UV resistance and antibacterial properties.
When the company began, sports brands were focused on delivering high-performance fabrics made out of synthetic materials, which the brothers believed were not too kind to either the skin or the environment. Gartside says they wanted to do for clothing what The Body Shop had done for cosmetics and toiletries.
"Recycling and switching off lights and doing what we can to avoid environmental disasters are part of helping to lessen the impact," he says. "But making the right decisions much earlier on in the supply chain is going to have a far greater impact."
Researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada recently found that so-called odour-resistant fitness clothing still smelt even after 20 workouts and washes. Rachel McQueen, the study's author, says: "Fabrics made from natural fibres tend to be less prone to having strong odours during and after wear than synthetic fibres."
She says that such ranges as Carrot, Banana and Peach are good for the market. "It's great to have options. The advantage of these fabrics is that they do come from renewable sources. However, some of these fabrics are rayon and the processing isn't necessarily eco-friendly."
Dr Hassan Galadari, a dermatologist and a professor at the UAE University, says that natural fabrics are indeed a better option as they are more breathable compared with polyester and, in turn, decrease the risk of heat-related conditions and skin irritation.
"The major attraction that comes with natural products is the sustainability and the fact that making them does not create toxic waste as a by-product," he says.
Tatiana Antonelli Abella, the co-founder and managing director of Goumbook.com, a green products and services directory for the Middle East, says the Carrot, Banana and Peach line is a great way to make "going green" more fun in the UAE. "It's good to show people there is a fashionable alternative in going green," she says. "Many people think it's all about brown and dark colours.
"For the UAE, this is a new way of choosing green that isn't just about waste and bigger problems."
Tried and tested
I first tested the clothing range by wearing it to an acrobatics class, where I needed long leggings and long sleeves to protect my wrists and ankles. The clothing withstood sweat and stayed fresh throughout.
Next up, I donned a pair of the brand’s running shorts for a sweaty TRX session. Not only were they super loose and comfortable, but they looked nice and were modestly cut.
Nothing stuck or clung in the wrong places and I still felt fresh after my session.
The next test was yoga. The brand’s yoga clothes, I must say, are the most attractive range of yoga attire I’ve come across, with their vibrant colours and beautiful fabrics.
I also tried the company’s jute yoga mat, which was not only grippy but also soft, considering it is made from coarse, strong vegetable fibres.
Not only are the clothes great for activities of all kinds, but I even like to wear them casually, as their cut, feel and colours are great.
- The Carrot, Banana and Peach range is available in Stadium and Studio R stores and can be ordered at www.carrotbananapeach.com.
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