By Patrick Cain
Fashion is largely about looking good, but a major part to that equation is staying in shape. There’s a problem with that though, nobody trying to get in shape should squeeze into spandex.
One of the best – in terms of joint health and caloric burn – forms of activity is also one of the greatest fashion culprits out there — cycling. Are you aware of these attires? They’re ridiculous. Though, there are some exceptions and they’re greatly based around one brand, Rapha.
Rapha’s late-20th century Italian feel was cool to begin with, but this year they’ve upped their game considerably. Their lead designer Graeme Raeburn tapped his brother to help with a new collaborative collection. This in-the-family approach is a recipe for disaster, unless your brother is Christopher Raeborn, whose ethical design slant inspired Vogue to write “”Remember the four R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Raeburn.”
Cycling world, prepared to look good.
While the Raeborn duo didn’t reinvent spandex, they did what any rational person would do: They covered it up.
Cyclists ride for hours, burning thousands of calories and work up a sweat. In doing so, riders ride with layers. Arm and leg warms that can removed easily or slid down while riding, gloves, wind vests and jackets are all used to stay warm and cool on a day that may fluctuate by 30 or 40 degrees on the ride. One of the most distinctive items in the new Rapha collection is it’s riding jacket that resembles a horse jockey’s coat.
Top layers for cyclists have a distinct flair to them. Other than to look ridiculous, there’s function to this. The brighter, flashier you are, theoretically, the more visible you are on the road. Now you can look good in a neon orange, theoretically, but something tells me nobody will be saying “black is the new neon orange” any day soon. That said, the Raeborn do incorporate orange as well as an army green and, wait for it, polka dots and stripes. Recipe for disaster? Quite the opposite, a recipe to both avoid on-bike disasters while keeping the Raeborn brand strong.
Keeping with Christopher Raeburn’s tradition, the Rapha partnership uses repurposed materials, keeping his eco-friendly feel. In addition to the jacket, the special edition capsule collection also features jeans and a Henley for the city cyclist.
For Rapha this pairing makes sense. If there’s one cycling company that constantly makes riders look good – or as good as possible, it’s the Portland-based brand. Their in house design team, which is lead by Graeme Raeburn, consistently puts out functional riding gear for both the urban and team cyclist that reminds me of 1960s Italian soccer teams.
Graeme’s designs are available year round on Rapha’s website www.rapha.cc. The brother’s collection, however, is not available yet. The Spring/Summer is expected to be released April 12. The jacket retails at $450, the Henley sells for $190 and the jeans $275.