In a world where automation and algorithms promise to find us everything from a cab to a soulmate, slowing down is antithetical to progress. We do like to ride fast but when it comes to design and production, we won’t succumb to the pressure to speed up.
Much like the Slow Food movement came into being as a backlash against the unsustainable fast food industry, the Slow Fashion movement is a response to fast fashion: the proliferation of brands that are able to churn out incredibly relevant and incredibly cheap clothes at such a fast pace. Slow fashion asks the hard question: what is the true cost of your constantly revolving wardrobe? If it's too good to be true, it probably is.
A search for "cycling shorts" is met with gloriously cheap and generic looking selections. Google can find you a cycling jersey with any logo from your favorite beer to your alma mater.
But where is the quality? When it comes to design, the cycling industry "reinvents" the jersey with sublimation printing, but not a whole lot of tailoring, or detailed construction. No matter what the words or logos are stamped onto your back, they don't make you go faster. They don't make your kit fit better. Words don't make the fabric wick sweat any more effectively.
And how do they manage to make all of this for so little? Countless tales of child labor law violations and dangerous working conditions illuminate the way to low price points.
Lexi Miller came about we wanted better clothes on the bike: better fitting, better looking, better performing, better lasting. And when we talk about sustainability, It's not just about the quality and the ethics behind production. We also believe in creating timeless yet relevant classic designs that will survive, impervious to the whims of fashion, season after season.
We'll always need the functional aspects of a cycling kit, and there will always be improvements that can be made in the tailoring, and we’ll always seek out innovation in textiles and trims. But cycling apparel is not as subject to the tumultuous whims of fashion as mainstream apparel is. Animal prints come and go, and while lace is in this year, it will fade out and be back in a while. The pencil skirt will always be around, but the peplum top is sooo 2013. Heels will continue to be a thing, but platform shoes and the pointy toed kitten heel will take turns eclipsing one another.
Black spandex, shorts and jerseys will always be our staples. We’ll always need pockets in our jerseys, and a chamois in our shorts. We work with these constants and integrate some fresh ideas without veering from the bones. It's not about creating what's hot right now, but finding that balance between relevance and timelessness. We are focused on creating updated classic silhouettes, but we are also open to how to make it better with the slightest adjustments. We like to say we're not reinventing the wheel--just tweaking it, making it look better, roll a little smoother.
In my early cycling days, I added up the cost of the "eh" jerseys and the "ok" shorts. For what I had spent on my search for great cycling clothes, I wished that I had had 2 really great jerseys and shorts that I would be able to wash repeatedly and use for at least a season. I wished that I had one brand to turn to that produced the quality garments that I needed, and actually wanted to wear.
When Lexi Miller was just a fledgling vision, plenty of people in the industry had a quick fix for us. From production houses who would handle the entire process, to fabric vendors who pushed the all too familiar pique scratchy polyester for sublimation printing, since, you know, that's what cycling jerseys are: white polyester stamped with splashy logos and garish patterns.
Um, no thanks. No short cuts here.
We chose to be involved in every stage of the process. We chose to manufacture in California using Italian textiles that are Oeko-TexⓇ certified as free of harmful substances. We chose to do the difficult things, because we believed they were right, even if that meant that they were more expensive. We developed relationships with all of our vendors from our patternmaker to the person stamping the logo on our back pockets. We sewed, we tested, washed, we repeated. Again and again.
We chose to slow down long enough to examine the status quo and ask questions. What about a jersey that doesn’t have a zipper? How about a great pair of shorts that aren’t bibs? What about sewing the contrasting elements and details into a jersey instead of stamping them on?
The result is a collection of modern, curated, quality women’s cycling apparel: a brand that doesn’t put women as an afterthought, an asterisk, or a smaller, pinker version of men. The result is a brand that cares about how we get there. There is a big ethical disconnect in enjoying weekends outdoors on the backs of children who labor for next to nothing. We design functional cycling apparel that is made intentionally and ethically by women for women. We believe in quality first: in our product and in the lives of the people who produce them.