Luta are a lifestyle and fightwear brand created in Brazil by English boxing coach Luke Dowdney. The company carries a strong ethos of developing young talent and assisting those from underprivileged backgrounds. Their company website explains: "Luta is a new fightwear and lifestyle clothing brand that brings together real fight performance, favela street style and a genuine social mission."
I was first approached earlier this year to review various Luta branded items for Jiu Jitsu Style magazine, this post is a lengthier look at those items and a little personal commentary on the Luta story...
The Luta t-shirt is an over-size screen print showing their logo and some motivational words. The blue sample I received is probably one of their more conservative designs, judging by their website, there are a ton of more eye-catching and zingy colours and designs to choose from. It's a perfectly nice t-shirt and has a small human figure logo on the back around the neck (which I forgot to photograph). Price is £35.
Performance Rash Guard
The rash guard Luta sent me has some nice little touches. The side panels are made from breathable 'airtex' fabric (ie it's got tiny little holes) which also incorporates an antibacterial coating. Everything is very stretchy and snug fitting. The only aspect I wasn't too keen on was the way the logos were printed on the garment using plastisol (or equivalent) inks instead of the now commonplace dye sublimation printing methods. It means the Luta rashguard designs may peel, flake or wear away over time. Having said that, I have a five year old Gracie Sports rash guard with similar plastisol based print and it has not worn away at all. The overall look is neat, with contrast coloured (flatlock) stitching and logos. I didn't forget to take the photo of the little man on the back this time (see below). Price £40
MMA Fight Shorts
Luta sent me a massive XL size pair of shorts so I never got the chance to test them out. On close inspection, it appears to be loaded with cool functional features. The shorts are decorated with embroidered stitching and branded tape in the same colour scheme as the rash guard albeit a touch plainer overall. There is a pretty impressively discrete securing system of thin velcro strips, tie cords and overlapping material. The undersides are made from stretchy lycra type material for those who like to stretch their legs out wide! Finally, I noticed there was a complete absence of a side cut vent, as you would normally see on most fight shorts. I personally welcome this as (a) I cannot kick high anymore, and (b) it would look fine as a casual pair of shorts without flashing too much of the ole stick thin and pale pins. Price £47
Performance Training top
This item is pitched a little differently to the above performance rash guard. The training top is basically the same cut and fit as the rash guard - and performs the same function - but the fabric is different. This time, the entire garment is made with breathable fabric - the tiny holes are evident in the photos below. Of all the items I tried, this was my favourite as it was light, comfortable, silky smooth and a pleasure to wear under the gi or during nogi class. It even comes in a cute little wash bag, which is handy because I tend to wash my ear guards at the same time as my other stuff and the velcro straps get caught on synthetic fabrics. Price £40.
Luta produce such a colourful and wide range of gear for boxers, mixed martial artists and grapplers there is bound to be something that catches ones eye. The most interesting thing I find about Luta's mission statements are that nowhere will you find the word 'charity'. And yet that is pretty much what they are - or at least their parent organisation, Fight For Peace, could be described as.
It is almost as if 'charity' is seen as a symbol of weakness, despair, helplessness. Luta appear to consciously omit the word and focus more on stories of offering young kids from the favelas hope and opportunity. It is worth noting that 50% of profits made from the sale of these items will be directed at the Fight For Peace project. Or, if you prefer, just donate with cold hard cash directly here: http://www.justgiving.com/firghtforpeace/donate
I'm very impressed with what Luta are doing. They have a pretty fly collection of well designed, high quality fight wear and some of the money earned will be used for a good social cause - helping young people from under privileged backgrounds in Brazil - the spiritual home of the sport I/we love so much.
Here's a cool video mini-doc about how Luta began, enjoy.
My thanks to Luta ambassador Fergus Dullaghan for sending me items for review. The opinions expressed in this post are my own. I have worked as a freelance designer for a number of brands. I have no personal connection with Luta.