It is a known fact that our Southeast Asian weather is hot and humid, sometimes to a point where it drives us delirious. As a result, we want to keep ourselves as cool as possible during a race or training. We spend money on salt tablets to manage our sodium loss, we pine for the aid stations like a lover you haven’t seen in months, and we search for the best sunglasses to trick ourselves that it is not that hot. But what about the most basic of them all – what we actually wear?
That was what Noor Ashikin Aziz, founder and director of PURPOSE Performance Wear, realised when he found himself struggling out there. “I completed a few duathlons, as well several running and cycling races, and the heat is no joke. I looked around and discovered that there were no kits designed and catered for our merciless Southeast Asian weather,” the 49-year-old said.
He added, “There are a lot of retailers and distributors selling kits for cycling and triathlon, but they are resellers and selling these kits as a business. These brands are not specifically tailored for the local user and our needs. That’s when I thought we needed trisuits and cycling kits developed for our state of use.”
And this was how PURPOSE was born – the first and only triathlon and cycling performance wear brand in Singapore.
“The name PURPOSE came by accident. I came up with countless possibilities of names but I kept coming back to the idea that the brand must have a set of beliefs and functions. As Asians, we are brought up with cultural beliefs, with a sense of purpose. Therefore, the brand I’m building must have purpose. And that’s how the name came about,” Noor explained.
Feeling that this was the time for Southeast Asia to be represented in the global sportswear space, the very first PURPOSE products were made in 2016. After several rounds of testing and development, Noor was finally ready to officially launch ‘The Most Comfortable Jerseys/Kits You Will Ever Wear’ in 2017.
Noor was a runner first, but decided that he wanted to pick up cycling to mix things up. “I picked up cycling in my early 20s after national service (NS). I ran for the Police Running Club during NS and I just wanted something different. I fell in love with cycling and I rode everywhere. My first bike was a mountain bike that set me back $200 and I used it to death, even entering races with it.
“Once, on a whim, I took a bumboat for $2 from Changi to Pengerang and cycled to Sungai Rengit. I kept on cycling till I reached Desaru before coming back. And then I would do it all over again and again,” he recalled.
Right now, Noor trains for Ironman 70.3 triathlons, with his favourite race being the Ironman 70.3 Malaysia. “I feel like Langkawi is my home ground and I will be doing it a third time this year. I love the amazing crowds and I can feel the strength of the entire community there, especially on the run.”
The vision for PURPOSE is to become a global triathlon and cycling performance wear brand, proudly hailing from Southeast Asia. Currently present in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, the plan is to continue expanding in Southeast Asia before taking on the world.
“We are also very excited to share that we will be introducing PURPOSE Running, a range of running wear that is specific for the multisport community – and of course, comfortable in this heat,” Noor revealed. An app for custom kits is also in the works.
Previously competitive in sailing – both individual and team – Huzaini Ibrahim started running, cycling and swimming as part of his personal fitness regime. At one point, the 38-year-old was running every other day and taking part in races often. “I was running so much that the soles of my shoes gave way in the middle of my Pocari Sweat 10km run in 2013 and I had to run barefoot for the rest of the race all the way to the finish line,” he laughed.
Back then Huz would wear a mixture of 5 to 6 different brands to run, in an attempt to find a comfortable combination for his style and needs. When he joined PURPOSE in April 2019 to handle business development and operations, he tried the trisuit and found it so comfortable that he would use the trisuit for running instead.
“I was introduced to PURPOSE when I met Noor in Vung Tau, Vietnam, during a triathlon event. It was love at first touch for me; I liked running in the trisuit so much that I pestered Noor to produce a running top and bottom. I felt that runners would benefit from such comfortable gear designed for the demanding weather conditions of Southeast Asia,” he said.
A running top prototype was hence produced and put through several rounds of testing. The PURPOSE running tee is now available and the full PURPOSE running collection will drop later this year.
Huz did his first triathlon in 2012 – the OSIM Triathlon – and he is intending to take things to the next level. He aims to secure podium finishes in his age group in local and international triathlons, and also to complete an Ironman next year.
With his competitive sailing background and also as an international sailing instructor accredited by the International Sailing Schools Association, Huz understands the needs of athletes and demands of high performance wear. Bringing his experience both as an athlete and coach to the brand, Huz has been invaluable in developing the business and also the products for PURPOSE.
Every day after work, Joe Faizal will diligently commit 1 to 2 hours of training and on weekends, he will put in longer hours. The avid cyclist got into the sport three years ago because he wanted to get healthier.
“My first bike was a foldie and for two years I was riding for leisure. I lost about 11kg as a result of my change in lifestyle,” he said.
“One year ago I started to get interested in road cycling because I wanted to go further, so I got a road bike and that’s when I participated in cycling events. I’ve done the Audax Pink Ride Malaysia BRM200 four times and I’ve also done the Powerman Malaysia duathlon twice. My next goal is to do the Audax BRM600!”
Joe has always enjoyed being active – running, trail running, hockey, swimming, football and hiking are some of the activities he has done. His main sport is now cycling and his strong involvement in the sport as an athlete is an asset to the Purpose brand.
Working as a full-time senior graphic designer, Joe extends his passion for design to Purpose - he is the main man behind the design work for our trisuits, cycling jerseys, and social media posters!
Cheryl Tay used to suffer from eating disorders when she was younger, often feeling insecure about herself and how she looked. For over a decade, she counted calories and starved herself, while exercising excessively and trying almost every slimming product on the market.
Cheryl eventually found her confidence through fitness, discovering how remarkable the human bodies can be. “Our bodies are capable of so much and the mind is the limit. Since I started doing Ironman triathlons three years ago, I’ve been amazed at how far the body can go. I am now focused on performance, rather than the digits on the scale. My days of being a slave to the scale are over!”
After overcoming her struggles, Cheryl founded a body image movement Rock The Naked Truth to help others who are battling with insecurities about themselves. She also has a running club ROCKrunners.
An Ironman triathlete, fitness trainer, triathlon coach, body positivity advocate, running club lead, event planner, content creator, photographer – Cheryl wears several hats on a day-to-day basis.
Digital marketing, social media, community engagement, athlete management – these are some of the responsibilities that Cheryl will handle at PURPOSE. With her passion in community building, her experience in content creation and digital marketing, coupled with her zest for fitness, Cheryl is excited to be part of Team PURPOSE as it works its way towards the global stage!
Our team is growing and we have the newest to the PURPOSE family, Cheryl Wong, who will be responsible for market strategy, paid marketing and amplification.
The former competitive basketballer started cycling when she was living in Beijing, where she was part of a social enterprise that teaches people how to build bamboo bicycles. Her bamboo bike has lasted 6 years and is still in good condition!
Experienced in ecommerce marketing, Cheryl was on the pioneer marketing team that launched Decathlon in Singapore and she was also the regional lead for Under Armour's 3x3 Youth Competitions across Southeast Asia.
"It's exciting to be part of a homegrown brand! Comfort wear is so important for an athelete to perform and everyone on the team gets that. So far the feedback and reviews have been very postive, which is encouraging for us.
"From here the plan is to make PURPOSE the go-to brand for athletes globally and for the community to have fun with us on this journey," she said.
Tired of his unhealthy lifestyle, Ziq Junaidy decided to do something about himself four years ago. “I was about 85kg and all I did was eat, sleep, repeat. I was bullied in school and people made fun of me all the time, calling me names like ‘Gemuk Pendek Hitam’. “Then I got tired of unhealthy and as I started to get more involved in the sports community and being surrounded by active and healthy people, I felt encouraged to change my lifestyle,” the 24-year-old said.
Beginning with 3 times of exercise a week and a change in diet, Ziq lost more than 20kg over time and he has now taken his journey to the next level. “After I lost weight, I wanted to challenge myself further. I was running and taking part in races up to a half-marathon. It was really for fun and I just wanted to keep myself healthy.
“But in life there’s another type of person that wants to test how far one can go, and I changed my mindset to that. In March 2016 I took a plunge and signed up for the Powerman duathlon (sprint distance) and then I did my first ever triathlon, the Port Dickson Triathlon.
“From there I just kept going, training with TeamTIMETriathlon, and I’ve secured second place finishes at Ironman 70.3 races in my age group. My proudest achievement is being the second Malaysian at the national duathlon SEA Games selection. Yes, I will be representing my country in the super sprint duathlon at the SEA Games 2019 in Manila!”
Balancing a full-time human resources job with his training for SEA Games is demanding, but that doesn’t stop PURPOSE’s athlete-in-residence from fulfilling his passion in community engagement. Based in Malaysia, Ziq leads the PURPOSE Fellowship rides, training sessions and community events.
“I believe in PURPOSE, its vision and its dream. I want to help elevate this brand to a world-class level and I believe it is very possible with the determination of the founder Noor and the passion of his team. I am really looking forward to seeing this brand grow and become the best trisuit brand, especially in the heat,” he added.