By Heather Dunhill
If you take your workout seriously, then you’re gonna love being on the cutting edge with the hottest athletic gear out there. It’s called HPE (Human Performance Engineering) and founder Nick Harris has been at the forefront of the science of human performance since the '90s. Nick’s even worked with our own Brian Johnson of AC/DC during the band's world tour. And, HPE is gaining ground overseas in a major way. In fact, the line is launching in Harrods this June.
Intrigued? I was. As you can imagine, being exposed to a cool product has become an occupational hazard. But the gear delivers more than it promises; I already feel the difference in recovery time after a serious yoga class. And, wait till you read what Nick says below about how HPE will be your new go-to travel gear, especially in the battle against jet lag.
Tell us more about your background.
I’m an exercise physiologist, which ultimately means I look at total body function to increase performance. I’ve worked with more than 40 world-class athletes and champions, from grand slam winners to Olympic gold medalists to Formula One Champions to Majors-winning golfers.
What prompted you to launch HPE?
Your body is the greatest thing you’ll ever own. My goal is to push the physical boundaries of human performance and recovery to its limit. Launching HPE allowed me to use science and technology to achieve this.
Give us some insight on the silver technology…
Firstly, you should know that silver technology is set to be huge in the next decade. All of our clothes are embedded with antimicrobial silver particles--this is because silver has antibacterial qualities.
Gyms have bacteria everywhere; in the rooms, on the floor where people stretch. So when you’ve done a hard session, your immune system is lower, therefore, you’re more susceptible to infection. By wearing clothes that resist bacteria, you’re helping yourself eliminate potential risks to your health that may go on to affect your fitness regime or general sports performance. When we tested our clothes in the lab, we found that pretty much no bacteria can grow on it. Impressive, right?!
Tell us how does HPE differ from other sports gear?
We combine stylish design, optimal comfort and advanced fabric technology–these are certainly our winning USPs! More specifically, you can differentiate HPE from other sports wear brands from the functionality of our clothes. I’ve incorporated graded compression to support muscles, reduce injury and increase recovery, FRESHFIT® fabric with silver technology to resist bacterial build up and a moisture-management system to reduce fluid loss and maintain body temperature. These winning elements will help ensure our clothes work as hard as you do in the gym--all while looking great. Not many other brands have incorporated all of these elements.
Did you find any design challenges?
Being a perfectionist, I want to make my gear 100 percent, so that everyone will smile the minute they try something on… that’s the challenge.
Do you have a favorite HPE piece?
As far as a female piece goes, the compression leggings. I think they’re absolutely a must-have. And, the transition hoodie is fantastic. Everyone loves the fabric and how it makes them feel--especially the length of body and sleeve. It has a nice, high zip and deep collar. It’s almost like a blanket, but stylish and sexy. In my opinion, every woman needs a good pair of leggings and hoodie in her wardrobe. She shouldn’t leave home without them. And I’m proud to say both featured in British Vogue last month.
How often do you release new collections [ranges]?
We create two new ranges per year. This year in June, we’ll launch two new lines for Harrods, both with the silver technology and moisture wicking. One is the Air range, which is super light-weight fabric, and the other is UV Stretch, which is ultraviolet protected.
How do you combat jet lag?
The most important point is that the food clock overrides the sleeping clock--fast for the flight, then have the appropriate meal for the time of your arrival.
For instance, if you leave London in the morning for L.A., have breakfast at the airport; remain hydrated during flight and snack on fruits or snack bars. When you land, have lunch if it’s early afternoon or dinner if evening. Your body will be tricked into thinking it’s that time of day.
Also, it is important to wear compression clothing when you fly, because cabin pressure exposure on body is greatest on the arms and legs. The blood pressure increases in both, causing swelling. Increased pressure on the extremities creates lower pressure in core around the kidneys, liver and affecting the digestive system. Wearing compression clothing regulates blood flow and pressure. In fact, we designed compression clothing for Asia’s largest airline for the crew. It has made a significant difference to the work place energy levels and recovery from travel.
And for fun…what inspires you?
I’m inspired to make my family proud of me. My mum is no longer with us, but her favorite store in the whole world was Harrods, so to clinch that deal was obviously a very personal moment for all of us in my family.
I also want to make a difference by making people happy wearing my clothing.
What’s the last great art show you’ve seen?
I went to Rome in January for the world premier of Django Unchained as a guest of the cast. We were given a daylong personal tour with a 95-year-old Roman archaeologist, who literally knew everything about everything. He took us through the major sites and ruins like the Colosseum. But I was disappointed not to fight lions in the Colessuem!