RYU Clothing is an inspirational brand of athlete-driven apparel that the MMA industry has taken notice of recently. Their philosophy as a brand is to represent strength, honor, respect, and sustainability to the best of their ability. They have created and upheld a truly inspired line of performance products that relate to the world of MMA, such as fight shorts, performance tops, and of course, t-shirts. FighterStyle had the pleasure of catching up with Christopher Martens, the CEO of RYU, to get some insight into the brand that has been making waves. The past, present, and future of RYU were discussed, as well as their commitment to sustainability, athlete sponsorship, and some of their other projects as well.
What was the inspiration for the company name, Respect Your Universe? Also, the Respect Your Universe symbols, such as Respect, Warrior/Master, etc. – how did your team come up with that and what inspired them?
The name, Respect Your Universe, is the embodiment of the principles and philosophy held by the company, while the symbols are actually traditional iconography that represents those principles.
What was the motivation to create RYU’s products utilizing organic and recycled material?
Sustainability is one of our brand pillars – it is what we stand for in both our corporate and product responsibility, but above that, because it is the right thing to do.
Where do you see RYU in 5 years? 10 years?
I see RYU on the same path that we are right now – which is, bringing premium, innovative product to market for athletes and warriors – and continuing to expand our global reach.
Who are the brains behind the operation, and how did you get started?
The RYU Team as a whole are the brains – between the executive management team we have more than 100 years of experience in the athletic and sporting goods industries – and we all started from different places.
With Jon Fitch having recently signed an endorsement deal, can we see more MMA fighters joining the ranks soon? Anyone in particular that we can look forward to seeing represent RYU in the UFC/MMA?
In addition to working with Jon, we’ve also sponsored and worked with other mixed martial artists like TJ Dillashaw, Hector Lombard, Ben Askren, John Hathaway, Mike Massenzio, Danny Castillo, Alex Soto, Marcus LeVesseur and Josh Thomson, as well as Jamie Varner and Darren Elkins.
We also actively sponsor athletes outside of mixed martial arts, like Mr. Olympia Phil Heath, Boston Red Sox Outfielder Darnell McDonald, endurance athlete Christian Isakson and others.
RYU currently has a Gym Partnership Program; how does that work? Do you see RYU opening its own set of gyms in the future?
We see the gym partnership as an opportunity to work with key gyms that have the same philosophy of respect, strength, honor and sustainability and working to support their programs and trainers with innovative product.
Anything is possible.
What does it take to become a RYU Ambassador, and what does it mean to be an Ambassador for RYU?
An ambassador is someone that has the same core beliefs that the brand does. At their core, a successful ambassador is a warrior and values the spirit of athletics and integrity that are fundamentally RYU.
We have Ambassador Applications on our website and anyone interested in becoming an ambassador is welcome to fill one out or contact our Brand Ambassador Rocky Bice.
Editor’s Note: We would like to take the time to sincerely thank RYU, CEO Christopher Martens, as well as publicist Natalie Mikolich for making this interview possible. RYU is an inspirational example of everything MMA apparel can be, and we wish them the best in all of their future endeavors.
You can check out RYU Clothing’s products on FighterStyle here: RYU Clothing
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