Looking ahead to the shape of things to come in rider clothing with leading fashion consultant Jeff Banks

Over the past few years, riding clothes have gone through a revolution and it seems there’s more to come. High-tech fabrics allow riders to look and feel good whatever the weather and even more important, safety and comfort can now go together.

Hats and helmets can meet the highest safest standards, but incorporate ventilation. Jackets are breathable and waterproof and leather can also be waterproofed, while multi-stretch fabrics give great freedom of movement in jodhpurs and shirts.

But if riders of 2001 think we have it all, what’s in store for those of 2021?

Fashion consultant and commentator Jeff Banks has designed everything from his own label range, and as a rider and horse trials fan, has a special eye on the horse world.

Jeff anticipates that sports clothing will evolve beyond belief and for riders it will affect everything from safety to style. The technology already exists. Body protectors could be made from Kevlar, used in Formula One racing cars to protect the drivers, to give riders more protection and manoeuvrability.

So what kind of figure will you cut in 20 years’ time? Here are some of Jeff’s predictions:

  • Clothing design and construction will change dramatically. Computers will scan the body to give exact measurements and sewing machines will become antiques.

  • Clothes will no longer have to be made in separate pieces and will be welded and formed.

  • Borrowing technology that already exists for womens’ tights, jodhpurs will be seamless, but with the fabric thicker around knees and seats instead of strappings.

  • Underwear will fit perfectly: its already happening, as a bridge engineering company became involved in designing a sports bra.

  • Clothes will be made from temperature sensitive materials that will keep you comfortable in all conditions and climates. Your horse will benefit, too, as these could also find a home in the rug industry.

    So will there be an outcry if traditions die, for example in the show ring? Jeff doesn’t think so.

    “People have accepted changes in, say, car design and they’ll accept changes in riding clothes,” he says. “Clothing has to evolve – footballers wouldn’t wear the baggy shorts and funny boots you see in old photographs, and riders will move on in the same way.”