Tell me a bit about your background and why you founded Castore?
I started Castore with my brother Phil in 2015; we both came from sporting backgrounds. I was a professional football player and my brother played cricket to a high standard. We always knew we wanted to start a business together, so sport was something that came naturally to us, as we are very passionate about it. If we were going to dedicate our lives to making something successful, we wanted to enjoy it every day. When we started the business, it was very much about seeing what we perceived to be a clear gap in the global sportswear market, for a more premium alternative to the bigger well-known sportswear brands out there. Because of the scale of bigger sportswear brands available from the likes of Sports Direct and JD Sports, they are very mass-market focused. For the more discerning customer looking to buy sportswear, there really wasn’t much available, so there was a great opportunity for Castore.
How did you come up with the name?
The name Castore comes from Greek mythology, and is part of Castore and Pollux, two brothers who took on the Greek God Zeus. We thought this was a nice analogy for Phil and I, two brothers taking on the giants of the sportswear world.
What sets Castore apart from other brands?
There are a few things. Firstly, the quality of the products: all the materials and fabrics used within Castore garments are unique to Castore. We only use fabrics that we create directly with the mills, and almost all the fabrics are Italian. So when a customer wears Castore, they know it’s unique to us and a garment that can only be from Castore, nowhere else. Plus, all the manufacturing we do is in Europe and is extremely high quality. Secondly, our premium positioning really stands out.
Do you have a signature design?
We think of ourselves as a brand for athletes, so it’s very much function first, and whenever we start a design process, it always starts with the question of ‘How can this product make an athlete better?’ Whether that’s making it lighter, more flexible, able to absorb sweat etc. As we evolve that and look at the aesthetics, we look to create pieces that are understated and refined. You can wear them season after season.
What are your bestselling pieces?
Our bestseller is the Garcia Hoodie, and it perfectly encapsulates the Castore ethos. It’s a unique fabric that’s 100% waterproof on the outside with a merino wool interior. The construction is entirely sonic welded, which means no human hands have touched the garment in the manufacturing process, it’s all done by laser cutting, so the seams will never rip, and it’s a lot stronger and more durable than traditional sportswear.
Is the brand for men and women?
We always wanted the brand to be unisex, but when Phil and I started Castore, we launched it as a menswear brand, because we started it with our own funding, and we didn’t have the resources to do both men’s and women’s simultaneously. We are officially launching our first dedicated womenswear collection in December, but we’ve always designed Castore pieces with an eye that both men and women can wear it.
Can you explain more about the new collaboration with Andy Murray?
Andy Murray first wore Castore sportswear during January’s Australian Open, and we’re very excited to have launched our debut ‘Andy Murray Castore’ co-branded tennis performance and lifestyle apparel line this winter. This is Andy’s first exploration into the creation of sportswear clothing with a brand, and his involvement includes input into functionality of the range and the new logo design for the collection, which combines the iconic Castore wings with his ‘AMC’ initialing.
The line includes a range of tennis T-shirts, polos, shorts, jackets and accessories inspired by tennis clothing from the late 1970s and early 80s, with each product name acknowledging a city where Andy won a tournament or a place with particular meaning to him. His personal connection and story is told through the label of each garment. All pieces are made from regenerated nylon and a recycled yarn, as taking a mindful approach to the production process was important to both Castore and Andy Murray.
You’ve just opened a flagship store on Chelsea’s King’s Road, what can visitors to the store expect?
The ethos of the store is extremely minimalist and very much designed to showcase the products themselves, which are the heart of the Castore brand. On the ground floor, customers can shop the products, then on the lower ground, visitors can enjoy the Castore lounge, which includes a golf simulator for customers to test out the golf kit offering.
Castore, 31 King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 4RP; castore.com