Reposted from BikeItalia.it with permission from Pure Velo.
Written by Pinar Pinzuti 24 June 2020
Cycling clothing for women far from the usual patterns: the goal of Pure Velo, a company with headquarters in the United Kingdom but which produces in Italy and looks to the world, is to give women who ride the bike the opportunity to wear comfortable and feminine garments, while maintaining the characteristics of technical fabrics (such as lightness, breathability and resistance). Something you can pedal comfortably with but can carry without problems even after getting off the bike.
We interviewed Claire Offley , founder of the British brand Pure Velo , who had the idea of creating this clothing line after returning from a cycling holiday: technical design garments dedicated to women who love cycling and want to feel feminine .
What gap in the Pure Velo market do you want to fill?
I couldn’t find the right clothing for my summer cycling adventures. I used to ride with the sleeves rolled up to avoid tan lines, which are not particularly elegant when you wear a cute summer dress to go out in the evening. I looked around and most of the women’s sports shirts had feminine colors or prints, but none really had the feminine touch or cut that suited our shapes. I had the feeling that women’s sportswear was nothing more than a slight variation of men’s. And after talking to some friends and the ladies of my cycling club, I realized we all thought the same way. From here began the journey of Pure Velo.
How did you turn your idea into a cycling clothing brand?
I started out by designing what I thought was my ideal cycling outfit. With my tan line and my cycling style in mind, I designed sleeveless tops, off-the-shoulder tops and shorts that are a little longer than the standard. Then came the Halterneck , the shirt with an American neckline. The challenge here was to make an elegant top, uncovered on the back but at the same time comfortable for cycling.
It took a couple of years to launch the first line. How was this “journey”?
After brainstorming for several months, the entrepreneurial “journey” began in early 2018. At that moment I was blissfully unaware of how much work it would take to transform a project from a drawing on paper into a real garment.
I started by looking for companies that could make my garments, hoping that those already in the business of cycling clothing could help me put the various parts together. In the UK, many companies claimed they could help me, but they didn’t understand what I wanted to achieve.
I decided to change my approach. While I was looking for every single piece to make a high-level sports garment and while I was finding some large Italian companies to work with, I heard about a world textile fair in Munich. I made the decision to participate in order to find some experts who could direct me to quality producers. A successful journey. I felt that the turning point had come, so I extended the trip from Munich to Italy to visit all the companies I met during the fair.
It is said that all roads lead to Rome and in my case it is true. Everything that I considered necessary for Pure Velo was made in Italy and so the ‘made in Italy’ that characterizes the product took shape.
While the whole world produces in Asia, why did you decide to produce in Italy?
Italy is famous all over the world for being a land of cycling so it is not surprising that all the skills are in place to produce excellent cycling clothing. These skills, this talent, have been present in Italy for generations, which shows that the innovation capacity of Italian companies is winning and competitive.
In a male-dominated industry, what was the real challenge for you?
In the beginning, without a brand and without a website, it was difficult to be taken seriously. I don’t think most men understood where I was going with my ideas or what I was trying to achieve. My emails were being ignored and phone calls were complicated too. At one point I was even told that my ideas were a whim.
What I see now is that many of my suppliers have a lot of women on their staff and some companies are run by women. It makes a big difference when I tell my ideas and I know that I am understood.
What is the feedback from your customers?
Very positive. Our customers love feminine design and leave appreciation for how the models dress and the quality of the materials. It seems that being able to wear fabrics that guarantee both performance and greater skin coverage represents the real success of the line. And reducing tan lines is also highly appreciated.
Pure Velo garments are beautiful and feminine without compromising the sporty look. What are the solutions adopted, for example, to avoid the sausage effect on the legs?
Uh, the sausage effect! It is a difficult message to convey, but it is a clearly perceived problem. I tested various leg lengths for shorts and different types of cuffs with or without elastic bands. I decided to insert a slightly deeper cuff in a soft but supportive fabric and to remove the elastic bands. These tricks, along with proper leg length, avoid that unpleasant sausage effect.
The Halterneck is by far the jersey with the most complex structure and it took 8 prototypes to find the right torso support. The support is at 360 degrees, thanks to the presence of a multilayer panel incorporated in the torso.
All Pure Velo jerseys are a bit longer than the traditional ones and also fit well beyond the bike, which is not bad if you have to go to a restaurant or a cafe. After all, we all like to look good both on the bike that just got off, right?
Pure Velo was born for the summer, for cycling holidays, right?
Definitely. Pure Velo was born thinking about cycling holidays and pleasant weekends. It is the companion of a day on the bike, interspersed with stops in some nice places remaining chic all the time. For our shorts, Halterneck and Racerback we even used a fabric that does not stain with sunscreen.
I love to say that Pure Velo was tested under a blue sky and checked with a cake and coffee.
Does Pure Velo have a physical store or can I order online?
Pure Velo does not have a physical shop although we are talking to some independent and trendy bike shops around the world.
Ordering on our site is clear and simple and we accept payments in multiple currencies.
We ship from the UK to all over the world free of postage. Usually for Italy it takes 3-5 days but with a small additional cost you can have delivery the day after the order.
To visit the Pure Velo website click here .