This year Adé Lang will celebrate its second visit to the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta, a regatta as famous for its dress code as it is for its international racing pedigree. The spiritual home of the regatta blazer, you will marvel at the variety of colour, cut and - believe it or not- cleanliness. They are all there to be seen. Where better than the Mecca of rowing blazers to start the Adé Lang story?
The Story So Far: It was spring 2016, and the Columbia University Lightweight crew had just won the National Championships and were looking to follow up with a Henley victory. In celebration of this long awaited and hard fought win, they were looking to turn out their crew in a 'one of a kind' regatta blazer, the uniform of Henley Royal Regatta (HRR). Thus began the collaboration between the crew and an alumnus who had rowed for them years previously and now ran a New York bespoke suit company called Adé Lang. Inspired by the challenge, the creative director, gBadebo Williams and his business partners Doi Iranon and Leonard Futterman set about creating a slim fitting blazer in a specially designed lightweight material. They fashioned a rowing blazer that combined the heritage of the rowing tradition with a hint of modern style. The crew was delighted and the first Adé Lang blazers were worn with pride at HRR.
Encouraged by this success, the creative trio pondered how to bring a whisper of that revolutionary zeal from across the Atlantic into their blazer design. The traditional regatta-look had stood in good stead for over a hundred years and needed no improvement. There were, however, opportunities to customize the blazers to suit all individual tastes and specifications enabling Adé Lang to offer a touch of originality to each jacket. The bespoke detail of each jacket - from the crews oar blade buttons, piping around the edge, to jacket linings and number of vents - affords subtle (or not) modifications without detracting from the overall class of the traditional regatta look.
That summer a decision was made to focus the business on sports jackets and blazers and take their motto - 'look good, feel good' - to the rowing world. This summer, Adé Lang is back to HRR for a second time. They are now tailors to many more US university rowing clubs and schools and forging partnerships across the global rowing community.
Of course, it would be disingenuous to suggest there are not challenges to creating stylish blazers for the rowing market. Understanding the physique of rowers was most important, along with keeping the price competitive and not prohibitive. Adé Lang understands that most rowing clubs and rowers are on a tight budget. They strive to make quality designer clothes at more affordable prices. To earn the right to wear a rowing club blazer oars people work very hard both on and off the water, and Adé Lang wants to reflect this prestige in their product.
Adé Lang won't be resting their blades after the celebrations of their second year at HRR. They are constantly on the lookout for new, exciting ways to create distinctive and elegant sports jackets. They hope to inspire more crews to take up the blazer-wearing mantle of those that compete at Henley. Wearing a blazer isn't just a tick-in-the-box for dress codes, it's an opportunity to show your pride in your rowing club or school. Slowly but surely Adé Lang hope to bring their blend of heritage and style to more sports, where teamwork, pleasure and hardwork combine.
Back to the here and now -It's Day One of HRR17, so keep your eyes out for the Adé Lang look on the River Thames this June.