Designing Escadrille

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Jordan Humble, founder of Escadrille, talks about the company’s product design process and 3 figures that have inspired him.

Design is at the heart of everything that we craft. It’s an expression of who we are. Purposeful and intentional design drive the aesthetic and functional properties of everything we do. From product to pictures, the plan starts with a purpose.

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There are three people that I have looked to for design inspiration – Dieter Rams, Steve Jobs, and Yvon Chouinard.

Dieter Rams is know for creating the Ten Principles of Good Design. It is all about sustainable design, “honest” products, innovation, and simplicity – less, but better. At first I would keep a list of these principles in the front of my “Let My People Go Surfing” book as a constant reminder of what I am trying to do. After awhile I memorized the principles and it became habit. I would suggest than anyone in the design field look into Dieter Rams. In the end everything we do as an impact on the world around us, so our work better be worth it.

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Yvon Chouinard’s “Let My People Go Surfing” has been a brand bible for me, of sorts. In college I would carry it around with me everywhere. When I had a break, I would read the same chapters over and over again. I contemplated what I wanted Escadrille to be for 2 years before I ever started designing. Yvon talks about the whole picture – social and environmental sustainability – and he has changed how the outdoor industry makes product. I think that the cycling apparel market is dragging behind when it comes to sustainability though. There seems to be so much waste in the apparel market. Stores and discounters filled with clothes. More than we could ever want. We are overwhelmed with options. I want to create as few products as possible that have the most impact. If a jersey is only good in one kind of terrain or climate, then I think that takes away from it’s value. Why have 2 jerseys when one will do the trick? Why have 5 cheap jerseys for a season when you could have one high quality piece that will last a lifetime and get better with age?

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Lastly, Steve Jobs has inspired me by his constant innovative and vision. It seemed as if Mr. Jobs lived in a world that was a decade ahead of most of us. He saw what he was trying to do before he even had the ability to do it. Before we knew what he was talking about. I love to see innovation that shakes up an industry – and changes it forever. The sportswear apparel market is the next frontier. Smart technology is going to change what we wear in changes that we can’t even imagine.

These men have taught me several things. I think that so many people just focus on the product and that’s it. In the end, those products don’t seem very special. The key is to focus on what you are trying to create – making sure that everything it touches is good in every way. The iphone was the result of what Steve Jobs was trying to create. The “best” products are truly a result of everything else coming together.

Why Chattanooga?

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One of the biggest questions we get asked – Why are you based in Chattanooga, Tennessee?

From custom team kits in London to lifestyle gear in Copenhagen, we have been very fortunate to already have business partners around the globe.  But people seem to be surprised to hear that Escadrille is based in Chattanooga. In fact, it is one of the greatest hidden gems in the country. Here are the top 5 reasons why we call this city our home:

Lookout Mountain

1) Oh, the great outdoors!

Chattanooga is on of the top U.S. destinations for outdoor sports. In fact, Outside Magazine called Chattanooga the “Best Town Ever.” The following year the New York Times put it on an impressive list of the Top-25 must-see destinations – globally. It is known for some of the best bouldering in the world and is one of the top venues in the nation for mountain biking. If you like the outdoors, moving to Chattanooga is a great decision. Chattanooga one of the only cities in the United States that you can live anywhere in the city, go out your front door, and have a full day of wonderful riding in any direction. From valleys to mountains, and everything in between, there are always new rides and adventures in the surrounding area.

The city is currently home to the U.S. Pro road race and the Chattanooga Ironman. We believe more and more large events will call this place home in the future.

Chattanooga Walking Bridge

2) Location, location, location!

Being in the business world, we end up making a lot of trips. Chattanooga is 2 hours from Nashville, Atlanta, Knoxville, and Birmingham. It seems to be a stopping place for people across the East Coast heading North-South on I-75. People are taken away coming around the bend into the city – it is nestled by the winding Tennessee River surrounded by mountains. The view is especially beautiful at night. We are also close to a large port in Charleston, South Carolina and in a great timezone for keeping in touch.

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3) Great weather.

Chattanooga has 4 wonderful seasons. We get to enjoy a nice spring, summer, fall, and winter each year. This makes it great for product testing and riding for all cycling disciplines. In the summertime, the surrounding mountains are usually 8 degrees cooler than the city – making it an ideal spot to get away from the heat. There is never a month in the year where you can’t go out on your road bike and get in a good training day.

Southside Chattanooga

4) Business revival.

At one time Chattanooga was home to many global businesses, but like many cities across the country – jobs dried up. That has all changed in the last decade. The area is booming with innovative startups in every corner and coffee shop they can fit into. Volkswagen opened up a massive manufacturing plant and Amazon opened up a new distribution center. Locals can tell the city is ascending with the help of big money drawing successful new companies and city-wide programs to promote the continuation of the daring revival plan in place. We like it because our business is growing and create jobs with the talent and work that is happening here.

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5) The people.

None of this would be possible without the great people of Chattanooga. Their attitude is reflected in the great things that they are doing together for this city. We have found it to be a very welcoming place for outsiders. In fact, the city is booming with people from all walks of life from all over the world. Recently there has been a large influx of transplants from New England, California, Colorado, and Germany (Volkswagen has a manufacturing plant in Chattanooga).