Rapha relaunches original Classic Collection with recycled materials

The Classic Jersey II and Classic Bib Shorts feature a new version of Rapha Performance Merino fabric made with recycled polyester from plastic bottles

Rapha Classic

As part of its commitment to become a carbon-neutral business by 2025, Rapha has relaunched its original Classic Collection with a new version of its proprietary fabric that includes recycled polyester.

The original Classic Jersey was Rapha’s first ever product, launched in 2004. Made from an innovative blend of polyester and merino wool and designed with a timeless style based on the team jerseys of the past, it was credited with creating a new aesthetic for road cycling.

The latest versions of the Classic Jersey II and Classic Bib Shorts retain the same fit and detailing of the original but have been updated with a new version of its Rapha Performance Merino 150 (RPM150) fabric, which now incorporates 64 per cent recycled polyester and 36 per cent merino.

Rapha Classic

Rapha explains that using recycled polyester reduces its reliance on virgin materials and gives a second life to materials that would otherwise go to landfill. Overall, it says, this change reduces its environmental impact without compromising product performance and durability.

The recycled polyester yarn used is GRS (Global Recycled Standard) certified, meaning it can be traced back to the post-consumer plastic bottles from which it originated.

The merino content is sourced under strict adherence to animal welfare standards, and is non-mulesed, like all Rapha’s wool. Next year Rapha says its RPM supplier will achieve RWS (Responsible Wool Standard) certification – the highest standard in the industry.

According to Rapha, relaunch of the Classic Collection is just one step in its journey towards minimising its social and environmental impact. In the last few years it has been working to make changes to its business. The company’s recently published Impact Commitments sets out a roadmap that details how it aims to be carbon-neutral by 2025.

Apart from the use of recycled materials, other measures will be to transition to 100 per cent renewable energy, 100 per cent low impact packaging, and environmentally preferred materials across 90 per cent of its seasonal production.

Duncan Coulter, Rapha’s sustainability manager, said: “What might sound insignificant at first – swapping out a fabric on one jersey – actually has a domino effect for our environmental impact as a brand. This jersey was Rapha’s first product, so starting here makes a big statement. We could have focussed on a less important product or even developed a whole new low impact collection. But by starting here, with our most iconic garment, we’re making a statement that this commitment to doing things better comes straight from the heart of the brand.”

The men’s and women’s Classic Jersey II will costs £110/$150 and the men’s and women’s Classic Bib Shorts will cost £170/$235.

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Simon Smythe

Simon Smythe is a hugely experienced cycling tech writer, who has been writing for Cycling Weekly since 2003. Until recently he was our senior tech writer. In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends most of his time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.