Issue 28 - Return of Etxeondo!
by Mick Tarrant
In the beginning of high end cycle apparel manufacturers, Etxeondo were in the first wave. 1976 saw the very first products come off what was practically an individually, hand stictched and sewn production process.
Logos were not sublimated but virtually embroidered onto the garments. The founders Paco and Maria-Jesus Rodrigo were both previously employed by the world renowned fashion house Balenciaga whose founder Cristóbal Balenciaga was born in the Basque Country.
Between them, they know all there is to know about design, textiles, cutting patterns, fit and function. Throw into the mix that Paco was (and still is) a very keen cyclist and you have a formidable combination.
Etxeondo began to provide specially commissioned and very unique products for the discerning pro and amateur cyclist from a very early stage. This was stuff that just was not available commercially but Etxeondo were perfectly positioned to fill these needs.
Word quickly spread and it was not long before pro teams in Spain and the Basque Country were knocking at their door. The history of the company is littered with the great and the good of top level cycling. Those of you with long memories will recall Indurain (Banesto), Delgado (Reynolds/Banesto), Kelly (Kas), Jalabaert (ONCE), Lejeretta in a variety of Spanish teams who distinguished himself by finishing all 3 grand Tours in a consistently high position.
Euskaltel were originally just Euskadi and were clothed by Etxeondo for a dizzying 14 year period, some achievement. Every pro team that had the good fortune to have Etxeondo as a clothing supplier were truly privileged as they were wanting for nothing.
In these days of 1001 clothing brands, Etxeondo's passion and committment still shines like a beacon. Amongst the really high end manufacturers, they are probably the only one still manufacturing "in house" no convenient "profit rich" diversion of their production to the Far East/ Eastern Europe and who knows where else.
When we look at some of the prices being bandied about for clothing produced very cheaply, we have a chuckle and always chant our mantra "Hoooow much?!?!?"
However, we feel and actually know that Etxeondo clothing despite being expensive, still offers extraordinairy value for money. When Prendas commenced in 1996, it had already been a customer of Etxeondo for 3 years and was well aware of the quality and general excellence of all their products, some of you reading this will testify to this as you no doubt still possess items from long ago which are still entirely fit for purpose.
Prendas grew with Etxeondo and I like to think that we also made a contribution to spreading the good name of Etxeondo globally.
A few years ago, Prendas shifted their business model a little and offered a less costly product range which did not include Etxeondo although we still rated them as "probably the best producer in the world".
A recent business trip to the Basque Country saw us re-acquainted with their fabulous garments and the realisation that the quality is still mighty impressive.
Despite the recssion and "cash strapped" times for many, we could not help but take a selection of their current winter range. Expensive it may be but if you feel like treating yourself or have the good fortune to have someone to treat you, select an item from our current Etxeondo range, you will not be disappointed.
Welcome back Etxeondo, we have missed you.
Last word is from "El Jefe" (The Boss) Paco Rodrigo:-
"La Calidad....Facil decir, dificil hacer." (Quality...easy to say, difficult to make.)