Making the Leap
“I sold my rig, my harness, everything. I bought a car and a sewing machine, rented a house, and started making jumpsuits.” —Tony Uragallo, founder of TonySuits, which makes jumpsuits, tracking suits, and wingsuits for skydivers and BASE jumpers
One jump as a British Army reservist made him fall in love with skydiving. And England’s dank weather made Tony Uragallo move to Zephyrhills, Florida, where he set up TonySuits after winning a team skydiving event there in late 1979. Uragallo got started in London, where he sewed his first jumpsuit on his mother’s machine. When skydiving friends demanded copies, the former brickie turned it into a business. In the 1990s, he focused on designing wingsuits. Today, TonySuits sell for $1,000 to $2,000 each.
Flyboyant Uragallo, 64, became a top wingsuit competitor wearing outfits he created. The R&D? Sew. Try on. Exit plane. Head back to the sewing table for adjustments. “You have an airplane that you are wearing,” he says. “And I loved that totally. To this day, I still make prototypes. You jump and test it and see how it feels.”