How do you make driving gear that is comfortable to drive in while sitting in your sports car, but which is not a racing suit? 8Js has the solution: a premium line of clothing that is perfectly suited to the “live fast” lifestyle. The man behind it all is Sacha Prost (son of Alain, brother to Nico), so we linked up with him as he raced in the Trophée Andros in Andorra.
8JS: A PREMIUM CLOTHING LINE BY SACHA PROST SUITING THE “LIVE FAST” LIFESTYLE
Sacha, you grew up as the son of a legendary F1 driver, and your brother also has a great racing career of his own, but you chose a different path. What was your motivation for going in this particular direction?
When I was a child, I really grew up away from the race track. I believe my parents made a conscious decision about that, and as a result I grew up in Switzerland enjoying a relatively normal childhood. I went to business school and really loved it. I really got the entrepreneurial bug and I always dreamed of building my own business. And I really loved racing too. I used to go karting with my father and brother a lot, especially around the age of 18 or 19. I had some problems with my hip and needed surgery twice, which set me back another three years, and at that point I just thought to myself “Sebastian Vettel is 24, he has already won three of the four world championships, I’m pretty sure it’s too late for me to start a racing career now.” So, I chose to pursue my other passion and, together with my sister-in-law, I launched my own brand.
Speaking of which, 8Js has a very strong mission statement. What is it all about?
Our credo is that all our clothing is engineered specifically for driving. When it comes to clothing and cars, there are usually two caricatures. One is the gentleman driver who wears tweed and a three-piece suit. I like that style, but it has nothing to do with my background. I don’t want to do retro design. On the other hand, you have the Puma team sportswear with logo and brands all over it. Personally, I don’t see any reason for wearing that kind of gear outside a racing team environment. So, I wanted to make something that’s good to wear every day, is perfect for driving and looks good too.
How would you describe the average 8Js customer?
Someone who embraces the live-fast lifestyle. They love to drive their sports car, they push it hard, but they also take good care of it (and this is why our gear doesn’t have metal rivets). I definitely don’t want to sell my clothing to everyone. I want to sell it to the right people, and I want them to love it and hopefully come back and buy it in every colour (laughs).
You mentioned that your products are engineered for driving. That implies that there’s a very specific development process. How does that work?
We test everything very thoroughly ourselves. The feel of the product is very important to me and we test the samples extensively. For instance, we were working on a jacket that is comfortable to drive in, so I put it on over my racing suit and wore it while I was karting. We’ve created a certain level of expectation about our clothing.
You mentioned a jacket. My jacket is one of the things I always take off before I get into the car because it’s annoying to drive in. Have you developed one that isn’t?
Yes, we have. We love jackets because they look good and they’re stylish, but like you say they’re horrible to drive in. So, we developed one using different materials, looked at my father’s racing suit and made an exact copy of the bellows around the shoulders. That way reaching the steering wheel comfortably is never a problem.
Here we are in Andorra and you’re racing. What made you decide to compete?
I’ve always raced here and there. I love old race cars and single seaters. My father and brother have been closely involved in the Trophée Andros recently and when I looked at all the options, this series (Enedis 2WD trophy) looked perfect for me to start. So last year I did a few races and this year we decided to do the full season.