Studio Visit: Rapha Cycling Denim

Yesterday we were invited to visit the inspiring team over at Rapha – the UK’s leading performance cycle-wear company. We already noticed the brand’s fantastic rider-specific jeans launched at the beginning of this year, and what with new denim fabric developments, cycling ranges and crazy Japanese brands emerging, its a topic thats on everybody’s lips right now.

The offices are based in Camden, North London in an old piano making factory where the company has grown in its six years to occupy five of the warehouse spaces. Everything from design, merchandising, customer service, product development and dispatch are all housed under one roof. We met with the head product developer, Simon Huntsman, who took us through the specifics of the new denim range. We also got to see head designer (and brother of Christopher Raeburn) Graeme Raeburn’s inspiration boards and working space, as well as an archive of Rapha memorabilia and cycling jerseys.

The Jean

We learned so much about the specifics of performance cycling and loved the dedication and knowledge that went into developing this denim hybrid. With Rapha’s focus on training and racing cycling apparel, the company is in the early stages of developing its urban commuter collections and we see great potencial for further expansion in this growing product category.  The jean is currently available in two colors: a limited edition black jean as part of a collaboration with Selectism and this classic indigo version pictured. Here’s a breakdown of the key elements:

Fabric: A performance denim made from nylon, cotton and elastane blend yarns, the fabric (woven specifically for Rapha in Italy) is hard-wearing, stain-resistant and fast drying. Unlike regular denim, the fabric won’t deteriorate at key wear points, particularly around the seat. The stretch in the yarn also allows for ease of movement.

Fit: The jeans are cut for on-the-bike fit, with a high-backed, snug waist,  cut lower at the front. The jeans have been tailored to accommodate the pedaling action with offset inseams to prevent chafing.

Function: The right rear pocket is reinforced to hold a compact D-lock, while the front pockets are cut deep to keep contents secure when cycling.  Inside the waistband there is soft gripper for added support when riding. Details include a reflective Rapha logo inside the right leg displayed when rolled or folded-up. High-visibility pink binding also features inside the legs. There is a contrast white belt loop on the rear of the jeans and each pair comes with a patch of denim for repairs.


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