Meet cycling’s answer to Chanel
Yoga clothes get all the style props. But cycling fashion is moving into high gear thanks to chic bike stores like Adeline Adeline and Soul Cycle’s foray into fashion design. Its truest champion, however, is emerging Brooklyn designer Nona Varnado, who’s making gorgeous bike apparel right here in New York City.
Varnado used to be a secret among indie cyclists, with her apparel available only through her own website. But starting this month, the trend-setting bike hub, Bicycle Habitat, is stocking Varnado’s designs. Get ready to see her fashion-forward jackets and bike tunics—and come spring, spinning shorts!—around town soon.
“All the awesome cycling apparel is always for men,” says 30-year-old Varnado. “It frustrated me.” So the bike-racing Brooklynite, who studied art at the Cooper Union, took a detour into design, creating an eponymous clothing line devoted to functional fashion for city cyclists. Everything is made in Brooklyn using sustainable production techniques.
Varnado, who was also inspired by the “intense bike culture in Budapest” where she once lived, creates “anatomically based designs” that are also “just stupid comfortable.” We flipped for the technical jackets with flattering silhouettes. The reflective piping helps with visibility, but in Varnado’s hands looks more fashion than function. The jacket collars, some of which have hoods, can be worn four different ways to protect your face from the wind, or flatter your face when you’re walking down Bleecker.
“You want to look pretty no matter what you’re doing,” say Varnado, who spent years commuting by bike to a midtown office. “I was always looking for a job with a good bathroom, so no one would see what I looked like in my grubby biking outfit.” The debut of her tour de fashion clothing line makes that transition from the road to the real world seamless. —Alexia Brue
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Photo credit: Eric Wolfe