Rapha Men’s Pro Team Flyweight Jersey

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Yoyo Lu
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The high-end cycling apparel company Rapha makes a high-quality and high-performance jersey but is still on its way to becoming an environmentally responsible company. Rapha embraces transparency as it posts most, if not all of the material involved in making their clothing on its website; it also posts the process of manufacturing and company operations; it also provides free repair services for those who crashed.

What it's made of:


The Pro Team Flyweight Jersey is made of 86% of polyester and 14% nylon, which is a common combination of materials in the world of sporting apparel. It is worth noting that nylon is generally considered a more durable material than elastane (commonly known as spandex). I cannot find more information on Rapha’s website about what this jersey is made of. However, it is plausible that this jersey is not built to last forever. This is because, firstly, this jersey is designed to support optimal performance for “training and racing in hot and humid conditions”, meaning it is thinner than regular cycling jerseys. Moreover, the cleaning guideline recommends machine washing at 30ºC and does not recommend tumble drying this jersey.

How it's made:


Most of Rapha’s cycling apparel is designed in London and made in China. Rapha claims that a mere “Made in England” label does not imply that the product has higher quality nor that the product is made with more craftsmanship. Manufactured by Knowledge Technology Craft (KTC), jerseys like this are made in industrial-scaled factories in which workers’ salaries have doubled from 2010-2011. I cannot find the specific process of how a Rapha jersey is made. However, in general, the manufacturing process of cycling apparel is no different from that of regular clothes. Also, KTC is one of the first companies in the Far East that is endorsed by the Fair Wear Foundation, an organization aiming to uphold labor conditions in the garment industry. Additionally, Rapha provides free repair services for riders who have crashed and ruined their clothing.

Who makes it:


Founded in London in 2004, Rapha is now one of the leading high-end cycling apparel companies in the world. Rapha focuses on bringing cyclists the highest quality clothing, and cycling apparel from Rapha are usually more expensive than their regular counterparts. Rapha commits to diversity, inclusion, and greater equality by dedicating at least 50% of its athlete sponsorship to BAME, LGBTQ+, and female riders. Rapha also addresses its environmental impact by pledging to make 90% of what they produce to be made with “environmentally preferred materials”, including recycled synthetics (polyester and nylon), certified organic natural fibers, certified wool, and leather. However, in 2021, only 10% of Rapha’s styles and 14% of its production volumes were made with environmentally friendly materials. It has quite a long way to go. Rapha does post very detailed information about the material it uses as well as its future plans to reach its 2025 goal.