Aussie label Saint has good reason to be proud having created a denim strong enough to survive your next motorcycle road trip. They've taken moto culture clothing and given it a fashion makeover, all thanks to impact resistant fibres that put their cult business concept in a league of its own.
Aidan Clarke (co-founder of active wear 2XU), launched the brand with former Crumpler Creative Director Mike Lelliott (who has since left the company). The pair worked with scientists and mills worldwide to create a denim that looks just like it – but comes equipped with so much more.
The end result is a denim brand that is burst and abrasion resilient and can survive a 5.9 second slide on tarmac before tearing.
"In terms of coming off your bike, that's a long time," says Aidan Clarke who decided to start the brand as a riding enthusiast looking for fashionable meets function wear.
Safety in style
They design jeans, denim jackets and other casual wear that borrows heavily from utilitarian aesthetic but keeps it chic with a luxury finish. Jeans retail from $300 and upwards and most of their business is online, but they now have a shop front on Johnston St, Fitzroy too.
"The Saint collection [which drops twice yearly] is designed to get you from riding your motorcycle to a mate's BBQ, the pub or a casual event without a style issue," explains Clarke.
"We aren't pitching ourselves as a replacement to safety wear or leathers, but we have come up with something pretty good.
"And who doesn't love going for a ride and not having to worry about changing your outfit because the gear you ride your bike in can take you to an event?
An opportunity seen
When Clarke saw a gap in the moto culture scene a few years ago, he went straight to the UK and Italian mills to get the fabric combination right.
"I am used to playing with yarns and innovative fabrics and always loved to problem solve ever since I was doing 2XU," he says.
"This was an expensive exercise to get this right, but once we started speaking with scientists and mills we knew we couldn't stop at just wondering how or why. We wanted to create the toughest denim in the world and we got there."
Saint weaves the world's strongest fibre known - Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene - with ordinary denim allowing, it to become 200 times stronger than your usual jeans. What's more, there's ribbed sections halfway down the leg for extra flexibility and protection.
Big name approval
The moto brand has already captured the attention of some big names including Hollywood actor Ewan McGregor and former racing driver Mark Webber.
Last year a Saudi Prince ordered $17,000 of product online leaving Clarke to ponder whether it was fraud – the order seemed too good to be true – but it turned out to be legitimate.
"Ewan found us online and Eric Bana is a fan. We don't seek celebrity endorsement, they found us," explains Clarke.
Favouring the brave
So why hasn't anybody tried to do this before Saint?
Well, many have tried and still trying to muscle in on their turf, but that hasn't stopped Clarke for remaining focused on his winning formula.
"The key to our success is our commitment to innovation and having a keen interest in what we do," says Clarke, who is also branching into work wear apparel and has welcomed Xavier Unkovich to the Saint family.
"The best thing you can do in business is don't rest on your laurels, keep investigating," he says.
"We still get excited about a new yarn or a weave we have come across – if it's tougher than what we have been using we'll go there. it's about staying ahead of the pack."