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CycleStyling with Joyce – London

7th September, 2010
Jenny Butler
Tuesday 7th September 2010

Oh my! Today Joyce's world cycling tour continues in London, where she chats to Guy Hill about cycle culture in London, and Guy's amazing textile / fashion design company Dashing Tweeds - you've never seen bike couture like this! - Lucy x

Cycling threads - London-style from Dashing Tweeds!

Hello again, it’s Joyce from CycleStyle. Our second destination on our cycle chic worldwide tour is London, England.

When you think about getting around London you don’t necessarily think of bikes – it’s all about black cabs, red double-decker buses and the Tube. Well, I lived in London for two years and riding my bicycle to work, to do my shopping at Portobello Market, along the restful Regent’s Canal, to the Sunday market mayhem of Brick Lane and to watch ballet and opera at the Royal Opera House are some of my favourite experiences of cycling. My heart would always skip a beat riding across the Thames at dusk with the London Eye and Charing Cross station sparkling around me.

London Cycling Celebs - Agyness Deyn & Vivienne Westwood

If you don’t believe me, check out this video that musician Mark Ronson has just produced for Transport for London which reveals the joys of cycling in London.

In London we’re popping onto our Barclays Bike Share bike (fondly known as a Boris Bike) to meet Guy Hills, one half of the unusual textiles company Dashing Tweeds. Unusual because photographer Guy and weaver Kirsty McDougall produce, amongst other fabrics, swathes of beautiful wool tweed which is threaded with 3M reflective yarn. Their Lumatwill means that in the day-time you’re going about in dapper English wool, and at night your garment reflects light for extra visibility!  The fabric is sold at Savile Row tailors, who can make up your bespoke three-piece suit!

Guy Hill of Dashing Tweeds models his favourite cycling suit! (they have reflector thread woven through the tweed, people!)

Some of Dashing Tweeds different dashing wool tweeds

While most of our climate is not really suitable for head-to-toe tweed, I’ve brought a bit of Lumatwill magic over to Australia by offering Dashing Tweeds’ funky reflective legwarmers, which are knitted with the same 3M reflective yarn. Handy for cycling and for discos! Their ladies Lumatwill cape has also been the inspiration for our Jenny Reflective Cycling Cape, which is a reversible cape with reflective elements for night-time wear.

Dashing Tweeds Ladies Lumatwill cape!

A dashing portrait of Dashing Tweeds Guy Hill & Kirsty McDougall

Joyce chats to Guy Hill of Dashing Tweeds

How would you describe cycle chic style in London?

Cycle chic style in London in really a new concept that at the moment appears to be take up more by girls than boys. There is an eclectic mix, I saw a beautiful girl riding in long leather boots and with a horse riding hat the other day.

Eloise Moody makes fabulous reflective sailor tops for ladies and my girls’ Dashing Tweeds Lumatwill cape looks great with hot pants and tights. Obviously my personal interest is to dress myself, I have been observing other men's cycle wear but have to say chic men at fewer and further apart. There is a lot of lycra posturing or else the Boris Johnson look of just tucking the suit trousers into the socks and heading off (not that there is anything wrong with this!).

What is your favourite cycle chic outfit?

My favourite outfit is my urban check Luamatwill cycle suit. Luckily I have just got it back after a year of it touring with the V&A exhibition Fashion vs Sport.

I love to wear plus 4s they give you the feeling of an adventurer and are of course are the most practical cycle option. They can look a little eccentric when off the bike which is why I have designed a pair of trousers which can be worn as plus 4s.

Cycle Suits made from Dashing Tweeds fabric and Plus 4's (cycle pants which sit 4 inches below the knee!)

What is special about cycling in London?

For me there is no real option where transport in London is concerned. Cycling is by far the best way to get from A to B on time regardless of traffic. If you know the back routes you can fly through town and since London has such beautiful parks you are often cycling on great surroundings and admiring the change of seasons. The only thing I hate is getting wet, however I cycle every day of the year in London and only find myself getting uncomfortably wet for 1 or 2 days in the whole year. For light rain nothing beats tweeds for keeping you dry.

Where do you go for cycle chic inspiration?

Since I'm in the great position of designing my own cycle clothes I get inspiration from all over the place and then make samples in my studio before visiting tailors. I've been inspired recently by medieval armour at the Wallace Collection, the Pikemen who guard the Queen, back catalogues from Brooks cycles, 1930's mens capes, 1970's sci-fi movies and  hi-tech nano technology concepts.

Tomorrow we cross the pond and head to the Big Apple!


Dashing Tweeds’ funky reflective legwarmers available from CycleStyle

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