In a fashionscape saturated with global giants with a history of high performance, one young, Indian brand is creating products with homegrown materials and processes to rival them. Baller Athletik, a tech-first fitness gear and apparel label, is not the faint-hearted fitness participant; it is geared for someone who takes their training seriously. Worn and recommended by professional footballers, cricketers and even Olympians, Baller has managed to strike gold when it comes to publicity; barring a few off-hand promotions, word of mouth has pretty much sufficed. We sit down with Founder Tanveer Daswani to find out what it takes to build a smart clothing brand that's truly tech-first.
GQ: You're a high-performance, high-tech athleticwear brand. What does that mean, for the uninitiated. How does that tech come into the gear?
Tanveer Daswani: “Every athlete wants more energy, higher performance. Optimal recovery. We’re currently India’s only bioceramic mineral-infused activewear that covers you on all these counts. Baller Athletik is more than just an athletic wear basics brand – the bioceramic mineral infused in our clothing helps trap your body’s natural Far Infrared Energy, and refeeds it back into your body (like extra fuel), thereby improving your performance and cutting down your fatigue. The focus is on helping fitness enthusiasts to make their best even better.”
GQ: Where does the name come from? What made you decide on it?
TD: “I’ve always envisioned personifying the word ‘Baller’, it’s a word that’s got a lot to it, in how it describes a person; the aspirational aspect that comes with it; and the image it brings to mind. Of course, the stylised ‘Athletik’ is paired with it because that is what the gear is essentially – athletic wear that looks, well, baller.”
GQ: What was the first product you launched at Baller Athletik?
TD: “When we started, we worked closely with premier teams to custom-design athletic wear infused with our tech. It was that validation from the absolute best, we were ready to bring this to the wider market. After all, when the world’s best believe that something as simple as changing what you wear can change your fitness game, more people should have access to it.”
GQ: How ready do you believe India is for homegrown athletic wear brand in the face of global brands like Nike, Adidas and so on?
TD: “In India, we’ve got the manufacturing facilities, we’ve got the quality fabrics. We’ve got all the branding capabilities. We’ve got everything that the international brands use. And we’ve got the cool people wearing it, so absolutely; what’s not to be ready for?”
GQ: Is sustainability important to you? Do you feel like you are a sustainable brand or is that something you intend to work towards in the future?
TD: “Sustainability is definitely important to us. As a growing brand that intends to make it’s impact felt globally, we are definitely focusing on building sustainable practices into the functioning of the overall brand. Our tech lasts for as long as the product lasts, so it’s not like you throw is after 10 washes. It’s a quality product that is long lasting.”
GQ: How was the brand born? What made you decide to start a high-performance high Technology athleticwear brand?
TD: “Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that fitness has always come first, no matter what. As someone who is consistently active, I still have off-days; a low energy day finds its way into your schedule sometime or the other. I wanted to make sure that I could always rise to the game, but I wasn’t sure what else I could do; that’s why Baller Athletik was born.”
GQ: What has been the brand’s proudest moment so far?
TD: “We’ve been absolutely blessed to work with amazing athletes – from premier teams to world-ranked players who are at the top of their fields in MMA, football, squash, tennis and beyond. Seeing the validation come from the world’s best and being able to work with them to grow together makes us incredibly proud every single day.”
GQ: Lastly, what are the future plans for the brand? What do you intend to improve on or change?
TD: “The consistent future plan is to release new collections with the same incredible tech – and we’re excited to drop the next one at the start of 2022. We aim to have our own physical stores as well, and soon enough, expand globally so that everyone can experience Baller Athletik for themselves.”