Bringing us yet another fabulous collaboration, H&M for Brick Lane Bikes is an ode to East London’s urban cycling scene. As the UK’s first fixed-gear bike store specializing in building custom made bikes, Brick Lane Bikes is one of the world’s leading custom bike specialists. The 11-piece collection has been designed by H&M and was tested and approved by fixies at Brick Lane Bikes. It is inspired by both vintage pieces and today’s sports performance and the collection is made from more sustainable materials as part of H&M’s Conscious work.
Combining the function of great cycling gear, along with the style of the city, this capsule collection includes materials like organic cotton, recycled cotton and polyester, evidently marking itself as a collection that is sustainable as the activity of cycling itself. Each item is to be worn on and off the bike, with functional details providing both performance and style. Speaking to us exclusively about the collection is founder Feya Buchwald and Petter Klusell, the H&M designer in charge of this exciting project.
When it comes to getting dressed for a typical bike ride, what is the most important element to think about?
Comfort is the most important element, both in terms of how you feel when wearing them on the bike, and also if they will work in whatever the weather conditions that day. That means the garments themselves need to be designed with a riders needs in mind, with flexibility for movement, and the right padding or protection too. Then the pieces need to be able to work with the elements, with breathable fabrics and ventilation, and the ability to layer the pieces should the weather worsen, and take off the layers should it improve.
What is a must-have clothing item for every cycler?
The racing jersey is an iconic piece of cycling gear, and is a true example of how function dictates design. The back of the jersey is longer than the front, because when you are crouched forward on your bike, you want your back to remain covered. It’s a simple detail, and one that is so important for cyclists. Apparently Jan who co-owns Brick Lane Bikes refuses to wear any top that is not longer in the back!
How did the idea of the collaboration come about?
When we decided to make a cycling collection, we wanted it to be authentic. Brick Lane Bikes are the perfect collaborators, because they are at the heart of the urban cycling scene. They now sell their components around the world, yet they have stayed true to their community, and work from the same shop in East London. We were so happy when they agreed to collaborate, and to share their knowledge and passion for bikes with us.
Can you tell us more about the capsule collection? What’s the inspiration behind it?
Urban cycling is now an international phenomenon, yet most men on their bikes either wear their normal clothes, or hi-tech performance garments that they can’t wear off their bike. We wanted to merge the two, and create a collection which is fully functional when riding your bike, and which also looks good when you’re off it. There’s also so much cycling heritage, it’s great to be able to make a collection which is influenced by the look of the past, but which works for cyclists today.
What goes into ensuring that the garments are cycler-friendly?
The most important factor is movement and flexibility. All of the pieces are cut so that the body can move when you are riding your bike, with details like a box-pleat in the back shoulder of the blazer or shirts, and sleeves cut for greater mobility. The back of pieces like the Henleys, riders crewnecks and T-shirts are all longer to cover the back when you’re crouched forward, while there are reinforced areas on the lower sleeves of the shirts and in the crotch of the chinos and shorts for comfort and protection. Fabrics are crucial too, like the elasticated cotton used for the blazer that looks like a tweed, or the water-repellent finish used on the shell jacket.
Is the clothing collection solely targeted at cyclers?
What’s great about functional details is that they don’t just have a purpose, they also look good too. Cycling style is an influence in fashion, and the collection is designed so that the pieces work in everyday life, not just on the bike. It’d be great to see someone wear the pieces that don’t actually ride a bike. Maybe it’ll help persuade them to start cycling in the city too!
What are the key items to look out for in this special collaboration with H&M?
Because each of the garments have been tested and approved by Brick Lane Bikes, they are all key pieces in the collaboration. The collection is a full wardrobe, from the shell jacket and blazer to a rider’s shirt that can act like outerwear on its own, to Henley’s and T-shirts that are the perfect base layer. The chinos and shorts will hopefully become staples that men will rely on, and there’s a rider’s cap and backpack too. Not only are they all key pieces, each one is made from more sustainable materials. We hope men enjoy wearing the collection as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it.
The collection will be launched March 7, 2013 in approximately 180 stores worldwide, as well as online. For more information, please visit www.hm.com/kw.