Countless brands come to pro teams and put their logos on clothing, but Katusha Sports could be the first clothing brand to come directly from a team. Russian benefactor Igor Makarov, who launched the Russian global cycling project that culminated in Team Katusha, is backing the new Katusha Sports clothing brand, which launched April 1.
Katusha Sports has three lines of men's road clothing: the understated Essential, the Team Katusha-inspired Breakaway, and the loud-and-proud Beyond. Each are identical in fit, fabric and price; only the aesthetics are different.
Longtime apparel executive Jean Philippe-Torgue, most recently a vice president at Mavic sister company Salomon, is Katusha Sports' CEO. He brought with him two former Salomon employees, including apparel product director Mathieu Danel.
"Katusha Sports is right in between the technical and the designer brands," Philippe-Torgue said, adding that while cycling has a lot of great history, "we want to be contemporary and modern, not to position ourselves in history like some other brands."
The Katusha Sports Essential line is the most subdued, but features the same fit and fabrics as they others
Beyond the modern long sleeve and race fit, the Katusha Sports gear is notable for its use of the hyper-wicking 37.5 yarn and Schoeller fabrics. Other brands use 37.5 (most notably Mavic in its new road gear), but Danel said Katusha Sports is unique in its integrated approach.
"If moisture moves out of a 37.5 baselayer, but then stops with jacket, it doesn’t work," Danel said. "Pearl Izumi, Adidas, Nike, others have similar things in some pieces of clothing, but theirs is not a full collection done with the same technology."
Team Katusha has been riding in Katusha Sports apparel this season. Much of the clothing is made by some of the vendors used by OneWay, the same supplier who outfitted the team last year, as Katusha Sports ramps up its operations.
There is a range of accessories in addition to the main pieces, which rely heavily on 37.5 fabric
"We have done all of the design," Danel said. "Since we just began the project in September, we didn’t have time to change all our product, so some of our product is similar to last season."
All the clothing is made in Europe, in Italy, Portugal and Romania, Danel said. Similarly, the brand's main focus for now is Europe, with online sales available now with all pricing in Euros, ranging from a €75 baselayer to a €140 superlight jersey to €210 bib shorts.
Katusha — it's a pro team, and now a clothing brand, too