Repathlete putting their stamp on locally made workout apparel

Bruneian duo has ambitious targets for exporting high-end athletic wear to region

With a scoop bottom, a slanting raglan-style seam from the underarm to the collarbone and interwoven yarns that create specs on an otherwise solid coloured shirt – Repathlete’s latest line Evolute is visually striking without being garish, and the composition of the lightweight proprietary polyester feels premium at a touch.

Founders Afif Rahman and Tet Wee Young are intent on making a statement – but will it be enough to nudge Bruneians away from athletic apparel lines from the imported industry giants?

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Afif (R) holding up Repathlete’s debut design while Tet shows the latest line Evolute.

Since launching in November last year, Repathlete has been gaining traction on social media by featuring established trainers and personalities from the local fitness scene including Crossfit, calisthenics, spinning and personal training.

“We’re going straight to the fitness community,” said 26-year-old Afif, who together his partner Tet, have decided against debuting in retail stores, instead banking on selling directly to customers through their website. “We’ve got a secure payment gateway for anyone with a Visa, Mastercard or American Express debit or credit card.”

Prices begin at $27 and go up to $47 for men and women – with an option for delivery or pick up from their office in Telanai available for local buyers, and via air freight for international customers.

Aside from the Evolute, Repathlete has rolled out two other lines, the more casual Lifestyle and the athletic geared Performance – with the overall brand’s signature emphasizing “quality fabrics, comfort, and fit, while maintaining range of movement”.

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“The concept for Repathlete came about as we began to see newer trends that were emerging in the fitness industry,” said 26-year-old Afif, who first discussed the idea with Tet at the gym. “There’s a rise internationally with new, almost ‘indie’ brands that leverage off huge social media followings, but haven’t really entered mainstream sports or media. We wanted to take the positives from that approach, growing things organically (from the grassroots level). But while most of these new businesses outsource the manufacturing process to countries like China, we wanted to take this opportunity to build a product from where we’re from. This allows us to learn first-hand on the ins and outs of producing apparels.”

Manufacturing in Brunei has also given Repathlete the advantage of making frequent checks and adjustments with the producer, a move that would be costly if done overseas. Tet explains that, after importing different types of material, a prototype is made before being tested by a local athlete, who provides feedback after putting the gear through the paces.

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“We wouldn’t be able to have this much involvement in research and development of our product if we manufactured it elsewhere,” said Tet. “And that’s our main unique selling point from other local competition.”

When asked what’s next in store for the brand, the duo shared that they are working on an altogether new line is on the cards – with a big debut imminent.

Their ambition remains to take Repathlete abroad, and if they can find a way to navigate persistently heavy shipping costs, their dream inches closer to reality.

And if you’re curious about what’s behind the brand’s name – it isn’t Rep for Repetition, like the avid gym goer would presume.

“We get that quite a lot,” the duo laughs. “For us REP means: Represent. Excel. Pursue. It’s about representing who you are, striving to excel at what you do and pursuing what you truly want in life. It’s more than just a name, but a vision; for the business, the athlete and the everyday person.”

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Check out what Repathlete has to offer at www.repathlete.com or follow @repathlete on Instagram for updates. Photos courtesy of GETFIT CrossFit Battle Royale and Repathlete.

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