Cycling and Fashion

designer Paul Smith's Window on 5th Avnenue in New York City, Featuring Electra Bicycles

Forces are aligning themselves in this universe so that the convergence of cycling and fashion is all the rage. There was never a more perfect union of man and machine that a human being riding a bicycle. Naturally, we must adorn ourselves and send a flurry of visual messages in everything we do. The sophisticated cyclist; the Gentle Rider recognizes that looking good, dressing well on the bike is more that just poofery, it’s a signal louder than any airhorn, brighter than any reflective material.

So one evening recently I was strolling down 5th avenue (I occasionally walk), where I spied the fantastic window display you see above. The Designer Paul Smith has collaborated on many bicycle projects, but this prominent feature of none other than Electra bicycles in the 5th Avenue location was fantastic! The glowing window was sending out a bold and stylish statement about how great our city is for biking, how cycling fits into the epicenter of style and how cycling and fashion fit like hand in glove.

Paul Smith has collaborated with Merican
Gucci has made a bicycle

Jack Spade has crossed the line from making messenger bags into selling refurbished bikes in a collaboration (temporary?) with someone named Jimbo.

The Sartorialist
, a fantastic fashion photoblog, covers the intersection of cycling and style.

Outlier (urban cycling clothes) – Seems to fit a niche that is wide open right now. Their clothes, Designed in Brooklyn, NY are intended for the urban environment, where you ride hard style then have to look somewhat presentable in your “office”. I like the images of the clothes, they look good. I also like the story they are telling, about the blurred line of what it means to be a “cyclist”.

In particular, they seem to be bent on tackling the issue of jeans wearing out rather quickly from modern normal (urban cyclist) activity. For their workwear, they make an excellent point of referring to how Levi Strauss used the most modern materials and methods of his day. Maybe we can wear modern pants. I am usually not a big fan of synthetic materials used in clothes, but if you want that magic durability, it seems hard to avoid.

Rapha, their approach to cycling is very stylish. Their products appear to be well crafted and designed with understatement, which is a bit of rarity for gear. They’ve introduced a bespoke three-piece suit for cyclists with Timothy Everest

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