As we desperately hold on to the final days of summer the shorter evenings are an unwelcome reminder that the winter months are fast approaching. For cyclists this means whipping out the waterproofs and paying special attention to being seen on the roads.
One brand building visibility into their designs by including reflective elements is Dalston based Hitteur. Some of their range was screen printed here at 3rd Rail using a reflective ink made up of a Lycra binder mixed with glass beads. Though the printing process itself is the same for this ink as it is for others we do use a coarser screen to allow the slightly thicker ink to pass through the mesh more easily.
A recent spike in cycling culture in London has brought with it a wave of independent cycling apparel brands. Though many base their designs on a balance between city style and functionality Hitteur are unique because they are able to achieve both whilst also making safety a priority. We decided to find out a little more about them from Adam Richards, the brains behind the brand.
What made you start a cycling apparel brand?
I like riding bikes, I like clothes (and my girlfriend is a stylist/designer) – we have an interest in what we’re doing – and probably similar to most people who start a business they perceive a gap in the market and they think they’re the person to fill it. I’ve never really worked for myself, and although my main source of income is from elsewhere at the moment, eventually I’d like to do this full time. Having watched my stupid, unlucky friends do good stuff, it’s about time I tried…
What are the three most important elements that you consider before designing each garment?
Not necessarily elements but – what – how – and why – are the questions we ask ourselves…
What we’re going to do? – Obviously we’re about making clothes but the practicalities of how to get it done – which manufacturer to use, how long it will take to produce etc. We use reflective inks and materials which are notoriously difficult to use, so finding the right people to work with is really important.
How we’re going to do it? – The functional and technical features of the garment – what inks to use, how long should the sleeves be, what weight should the material be etc.
Why we’re doing it? – What is the purpose of the brand and how is this reflected in the garment?
What makes you different from other cycling apparel brands?
Well none of our clothes are (what I’d describe as) high-end performance or technical items. We’re not about making lycra skinsuits. We’re a fashion brand who sells cycling clothing, not the other way around. One of the reasons we decided to start Hitteur was because of our frustration with what we could (or couldn’t) spend our money on. No one wants to identify as a cyclist if the only clothes you can buy look shit.
What type of cyclist are your clothes for?
I guess we’re inspired by ‘streetwear’ but all of our clothes have a purpose specific for cycling, whether that be a tailored cut or reflective feature. I want to ride my bike to work and not have to change when I go out drinking afterwards, so we make clothes to stop you sweating and getting run over on the way home. Clothes that work, both on and off the bike.
I’d like to think we’re not aiming at just cyclists though – how many people who wear skate brands actually skate? They buy the clothes because they want to associate with the brand/ethos… If people buy our clothes to associate with cycling, that would be nice. But if we can get people to ride bikes because they like our clothes, that would be even better. That’s the dream…
How are you hoping to develop the range in the future?
Clothes are about making you look and feel good and that changes depending on the season. To a greater and lesser extent people want to look good in the summer and feel good in the winter. If we want to sell more clothes we’ve got to be able to sell them throughout the whole year, so making sure we can do this is what we’re focussing on. Sorry it’s not a more exciting answer – but a wider product range – we’ve got some great ideas for the technical parts of future products, so watch out…