Over the last 30 years action and adventure sports athletes have pushed human performance further and faster than at any point in history. Whether jumping off El Capitan or from the edge of space, diving down 100 metres in a pair of speedos, running across deserts, free soloing 3,000ft faces, or riding waves bigger than most buildings, these leaps require extreme commitment.
It’s captured in a single word. Vollebak. It’s Flemish for ‘going all out’. We think of it is as a willingness to go past the point that most people consider fun, and into the moments where you find out who you are.
Having run through deserts, raced over mountain ranges and crawled through jungles, we’ve seen first hand that the challenges and highs we’ve experienced aren’t unique to any one sport. They’re realities that every adventure athlete faces. From sensory deprivation in life and death moments, to pre event nerves robbing you of energy, from fatigue induced hallucinations, to finding yourself in a flow state. These moments are real. They change how you perform. And they can even determine whether you live.
We saw a role for a sports brand that had the potential to do much more than just keep you warm or dry: one that could help you tackle the fundamental issues you face when you’re pushing your limits.
So we start with interesting questions, like what can we learn from the military about managing pressure and fear? Is it possible to replicate free divers’ mind control and oxygen efficiency in other sports? Or how do NASA use the psychology of survival? We then combine these with our own insights and experiences.
The idea for Condition Black was born inside a cloud while running over a ridge several thousand feet too high up.
The Baker Miller Pink Hoodie was designed after yet another sleepless night before a 24 hour event where we’d need every bit of energy. It’s only by enduring the highs and lows ourselves that we think about the kind of questions that need answering.