Like it or not we are defined by what we wear. Our clothing tells the world who we are, it is an indication of our personality, of our taste and our relationship to culture. Clothing is how we define our character to the world, a way to communicate with people whom with we may never share a word. Fortunately, by and large, society gets this, and since the time of dinosaur skin loincloths and rawhide tunics we’ve been feverishly developing and refining the language of clothing. We have a choice of garments that range from couture to I-couldn’t-care-less, the variety of options is boggling. Unfortunately this wealth of possibility does not apply to cycling gear.
For more than a century the consensus has been that racing is the prime directive of the sport, and consequently cycling jerseys have always been plastered with corporate logos, the theory being that cyclists, at their best, are moving billboards, human shills with high anaerobic thresholds. This sensibility has since trickled down, infesting even the most benign jersey with corporate shtick. We love love LOVE Professional Cycling as much as the next person but we firmly believe that racing doesn’t always equal riding.
“If I’m not being paid by Etixx-Quick Step to go on my weekly coffee shop ride, then why do I need to have it gratuitously emblazoned all over my jersey? I’m never going to take dance classes anyway.”
The way we see it, Cycling Kit is an opportunity for Elevated Personal Expression (EPE). As such, we’re proposing a complete break from the hegemonic monotony of Corporate Body Advertising (CBA). Rather than being an unwilling participant in some Business Company’s fall product campaign or industrial gas marketing stunt, why not express your own aesthetic?, an aesthetic that says culture counts, style counts and goddamnit, art counts. While those around you engage in a race to the bottom—Lowest Common Denominator!, Base!, Pedestrian!, Branded Schlock!—with their Hair Club for Men jerseys and their Panera Bread skinsuits. Why not elevate your message to the world? It’s easy, here’s how;
- Don’t be a billboard for a European dance conglomerate.
- Take pride, relate your own sensibilities.
- Be Beautiful.
We know what you’re thinking, sounds great but how do I get started!? Introducing Manual for Speed’s Artist Residency Program Volume One: Chaoscolormotiontracjectory. We gave five contemporary artists the same creative brief; The Greatest Spectacle on Earth is so much more than bike racing but bike racing is in fact the Heart & Soul of the Greatest Spectacle on Earth. But what is it about bike racing that we love so much, is it the Chaos, the Color, the Motion and the Trajectory? Yeah, it’s that. Interpret that.
Why are we doing this, why are we calling for a paradigm shift? Because we care about you. We care about the way you look. We care about the way cycling is perceived in the world. We’re not saying stop wearing spandex. We’re saying start wearing the right kind of spandex. Spandex that says I like music, books, architecture, film and art. Spandex that says I take pride in who I am and where I’m going. Spandex that says I’d do me, would you do me?”