With the new year quickly approaching (hello New Year, New You!), it’s the perfect time to revisit our commitment to health and overall well-being. Beyond just a good sweat, it’s more important than ever to find environmentally-conscious activewear companies – both in activewear and gear. With that said, Sanabul is checking off all of our boxes – with premium athletic and combat sports gear for every group fitness class and HIIT trend. Sanabul is also doing their part to provide consumers with high-performance activewear such as, boxing/MMA gloves, Jiu Jitsu + fitness apparel and fitness accessories, while protecting the planet.

Read on for how co-Founder Imran Jawaid has incorporated his vegan lifestyle in to his brand and how his wellness brand is expanding!

What sets Sanabul apart from other brands?

Laser-like focus on our products. Other brands put more emphasis on spokespeople, marketing, hype, etc and forget about what the goal should be, which is providing consumers purchasing our products with the best tools for their journey, wherever it may venture.

We don’t want to sell hype and promises that Sanabul products will give you a fighter or athlete lifestyle. We want to make products that will meet the needs of people who know that the lifestyle comes from living the life and doing the work. Our products are just accessories for the lifestyle.

What are your favorite products?

It’s hard to choose favorites. I have been so involved in the development of all the Sanabul products that each of them has a special place in my heart. I am proud to wear and use any product from entry level all the way to professional. We are working on some exciting collaborations with athletes, brands and artists to create very unique limited-edition pieces. Some of those might edge their way out to be my favorites. Keep an eye out for them!

What are your favorite workouts?

I like workouts that are dynamic enough to keep my interest and work toward functional fitness for performance. I mix it up with traditional Muay Thai, strength training, Jiu-Jitsu, and high intensity interval training.

What health and wellness trends are you currently seeing?

Boxing and combat sports are becoming a major part of main stream culture. People of all ages are taking boxing (and other martial arts) classes to help them achieve their health and fitness goals. I’m also noticing an increase in music and entertainment celebrities training in boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Celebrity exposure can potentially aid the progression of the sport.

Boxing has become such a mainstream fitness trend and Sanabul has partnered with a host of notable MMA names. Do you believe most fighters are born out of some level of adversity?

Not all fighters are born out of adversity, but all fighters who succeed must be able to overcome adversity when it comes their way. Everyone has a fight. Good martial arts training will teach the type of determination, perseverance and hard work needed to overcome challenges, both in fights and in everyday life. Similarly, those fighters who enter the sport, already having the grit from overcoming adversity in their lives, can apply that to fighting. So, it’s almost like adversity started training some people to fight even before they had any combat sports experience. Eventually though, combat sports will become big enough that you’ll see people entering the sport the same way as basketball, football, etc. It’s not too hard to imagine a future where MMA talent scouts recruit from high school wrestling meets and youth Jiu-Jitsu or kickboxing classes.

Can you talk about the philosophical aspect of the line and what you’re trying to achieve?

We want to make equipment for everyone’s fight. The fight might be getting stronger, receiving a championship belt, dealing with stress, or losing weight. No fight is more important than the others and we want to provide tools for all the fighters on the path. Often in combat sports training we develop our minds and bodies in ways we don’t expect or plan. Some people start training for self-defense and also gain self-confidence, some seek physical flexibility and benefit even more from increased mental flexibility, some want to lose weight then they experience combat and decide they are happier going up a weight class instead. In a way, martial arts can give you what you want and what you need. We want that for everyone, and we want to help in some way. For us at Sanabul, that way is by making the best gear on the market.

The Sanabul brand is a vegan/eco-friendly – does this increase the quality of your products?

Absolutely! If you define quality as doing less harm to the environment, Sanabul materials have a significantly smaller carbon footprint than animal-based leathers. We are also working with materials engineers on emerging options that are even more kind to the earth. If you define quality as not harming animals, the fact we have never used/use animal products or byproducts in our equipment brings you value. If human rights factor into your definition of quality, you’ll appreciate that our factories are ISO 9001 and Sedex certified.If you use a strict product performance definition of quality, you are primarily considering material durability and construction quality. Sanabul san-tech synthetic leathers will outperform any other material (animal hide or synthetic) currently available at a similar price point. There are of course various price points for all materials, but we live in an amazing time now. We have synthetic alternatives at every pricing tier that are equal to or better than animal-based leathers in all ways, including durability. So, if you’ve got a budget of $30 for gloves and both Sanabul and another brand’s gloves will last about the same length of time, why not buy a pair that has less carbon footprint and is more sustainable than animal-based gloves?

How is the “vegan” movement helping your business?

Vegan means different things to different people. For some it’s just a plant-based diet. We don’t make anything edible yet, so I hope no one is eating Sanabul products. For some people veganism includes environmental benefits and sustainability. Sustainability is a core value at Sanabul. We want the best for fighters and athletes today as well as generations to come. Increasing volumes of research are pointing to shifting away from animal agriculture and commerce as a critical component of sustainability. Most vegans (and many non-vegans) choose not to wear leather. I think London Fashion week recently going fur free is a good example of a wider audience recognizing how unnecessary it really is to use animals for clothing. Circling back to answer the question directly, the vegan movement helps Sanabul by increasing our sales as more and more people recognize the benefits our products provide to the environment and animals.

Are you vegan? If so, for how long?

Yes, for 14 years now, but I have mixed feelings about labeling myself, I like to think I’m a pretty complex human. I tend to think of veganism less as an identity and more as one aspect of an ethical framework that helps me make conscious decisions about what I want to purchase and consume.

For more on Sanabul, please visit: sanabulsports.com