London’s designers putting cutting-edge style into the cycle lanes
by Andy Jones
31st July 2009
LOOK round London and you will see a cycling revolution taking place. In every borough, fashionistas are gliding through the city on fixed-gear riders, mountain bikes, or vintage-style ladies’ cycles.
Owning a bike used to be about saving money and getting fit, but now it is a style thing and Londoners who make up the 545,000 bike journeys a day drive an industry centred on looking good.
Although there is still an army of cyclists decked in Day-Glo and hi-vis wear each morning, many of London’s two-wheelers are opting for a more unique, stylish look, which involves more than just reflective gear and weather-safe shorts.
Partly driving this is the fad for fixed-gear bikes, and the interest in sub-culture sports such as bike polo. London’s bike polo devotees, who play three-a-side matches on ball courts across London, will lock horns at the European Bike Polo Championships at Southwark this weekend. Around 40 teams – four of which are from London – will take part. The event, as much about looking good as it is about winning games, will even have a best-dressed team award. This fashion, whether from classic cycle website Rapha, or the laddishness of Chunk’s bike polo range, is inspired by demand for style.
In east London, Cyclodelic has designed feminine “bra bags” fitted to suit the shape of the body so they don’t move when riding, while Bobbin stocks tweed flat caps which reflect the light of
In Notting Hill, Two n Fro designer Karta Healy has made a reversible tuxedo which on one side is a dinner jacket but on the inside has the pockets, zips and reflective hi-vis qualities of a cyclist’s jacket.
Amy Fleuriot, 23, from Dalston, who created her Cyclodelic range in 2006 at London College of Fashion, has seen the market for cycle fashion explode. “I have seen it grow from the cusp to be a mainstream fashion trend.”
The brand, launched from Amy Fleuriot’s Dalston front room, has already had a line in Topshop Oxford Circus and is sold in Fitzrovia’s Velorution.
The line includes silk cycling caps, wool sweaters with reflective details and panniers which unclip and can be worn as a shoulder bag. The key to the success of the brand, says Fleuriot, 23, is its attention to ergonomics. “We test it all. We have bags which hug the bodyshape so they don’t swing around while riding and riding capes which look very elegant but have special fibres which reflect car headlights.”
Cyclodelic is aimed at women aged 25 and 35, says Fleuriot, who buy big sellers such as bejewelled ankle clips. “We have lots of interest from City women as we do bespoke bags designed to fit the Brompton fold-up bike.”
Best buy: Ladies’ cape (£230)