Rapha’s Excess program turns scrap material into new kits

Rapha's Excess program turns scrap material into new kits

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If you’re a cycling apparel company, what do you do with the material left over from creating kits? The answer unfortunately is usually a simple one: bin it and ship it off to the landfill. But Rapha has come up with a better solution: make brand new kits from those excess scraps.

Rapha Excess is a new program where the apparel brand takes leftover materials and gives them new life in other products.

Rapha Excess jersey women's
A Rapha Excess women’s jersey.

The brand acknowledges that surplus material is “unavoidable” in apparel making, but says that “giving new life to discarded material is where we can make all the difference.”

Rapha’s first go at the program is a limited release, owing in part to the nature of creating kits this way — the brand has only so much excess material.

The collection includes the men’s and women’s Pro Team Training Jersey, men’s and women’s cotton T-Shirt, and Pro Team Socks and Musette.

Significantly, Rapha is extending the collection to high performance pieces like the men’s and women’s Pro Team Bib Shorts and men’s and women’s Pro Team Aero Jersey, showing that creating kits this way still results in high quality gear.

Rapha Excess jersey women's rear view
A rear view of a Rapha Excess jersey.

The collection is made from 100 percent leftover fabric, using a total of 2,303 meters (7,556 feet) of leftover fabric, or roughly 24 kilograms (52.9 pounds) of yarn. Excess zippers, elastics, and size labels have also been used where possible, Rapha says.

The training jersey retails for $128, $2 less than the non-excess version, while the aero jersey costs $215, $5 more than the non-excess version. The pro team bibs cost $293, $3 more than the non-excess version.

Raced at the highest level

Rapha is debuting the program in a high profile way by creating a special swap-out kit for the EF Education-EasyPost and EF Education-TIBCO-SVB teams at the Giro d’Italia this month.

The Rapha EF Swap out kit for the Giro d'Italia
The Rapha EF swap out kit for the Giro d’Italia is made from 72 percent excess material.

Those kits will be 72 percent excess material instead of fully surplus material because the UCI, cycling’s governing body, mandates uniformity in team kits and that it wasn’t possible for Rapha to achieve without some new material in the mix. Regardless, it’s a step in the right direction for minimizing the amount of virgin material needed.

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