Former rower designed Olympic kit after contracting life-threatening illness
A former rower was inspired to create the Olympic rowing team kit after contracting a life-threatening illness.
Kate Giles, 41, chief executive of Crewroom, caught pneumonia when rowing back to Putney from Richmond Lock in 1997.
She was inspired to design a quick-drying kit from her hospital bed, while suffering from cracked ribs caused by coughing brought on by the pneumonia.
The business boosts green credentials, opting to ship freight instead of flying orders around the world to minimize its carbon footprint.
Its Vapour-X shirts are made from 10 recycled plastic water bottles, with kits being made using bamboo charcoal technology and recycled polyester, preventing athletes from getting cold.
Mrs Giles opened rowing outfitter Crewroom in Lower Richmond Road 11 years ago and has not looked back since, with the business proving to be a roaring success.
The brand has been charged with kitting out Great Britain's rowing and canoeing teams, as well as the university teams involved in the Boat Race.
She said Putney has been a huge influence on the design of the kit, citing springtime by the river as a major influence on the brand.
Mrs Giles, who also lives in Putney, said: "It is extremely important, we get very insular trying to make everything as best as possible.
"But now it is extremely exciting. All of the athletes have been sized-up, we'll be watching them getting up on the platform wearing the kit.
"It has been a long journey with all of the athletes, with a lot from around here.
"It is beautiful in Putney in the spring, we are just next to the river - it influences you and onto the customer."
Crewroom displayed kits which will be worn by team GB at the London marathon in the Excel Centre, London Docklands, East London, earlier this month.