Wheels & Heels pumps cycling fashion

London designers demo style with practicality

While most people around the world spent the evening wooing their sweethearts on Valentine’s Day, a fashion show was staged in East Londonto woo people onto their bikes.

The trendy Columbia Road in Hackney was closed to traffic for the evening to become a catwalk for local independent talent and established designers with the aim of making cycle clothing that bit more glamorous. Held as part of London Fashion Week the flood-lit event saw a variety of designers showcasing their clothes in front of a large, enthusiastic, but very cold crowd, which was also entertained by a bit of bicycle ballet.

The event, titled Wheels and Heels, was organised by Hackney Council and Tower Hamlets Council with the aim of achieving a greater uptake of cycling by women by showing how cycling ‘can influence a girl’s wardrobe’ in a way that’s not dictated by traditional Lycra.

Emily Fleuriot, the editor of Fashion Monitor, said of the event, “There’s definitely a common misperception that you can’t be stylish and cycle. You can – but it’s a challenge. As one of fashion’s bicycle enthusiasts I welcome all pioneers of functional, style-conscious clothes, which mean I can cycle AND look the part, whether at a hot showbiz party or a business meeting.”

As an event it was great to watch and as a council backed concept it was commendable. However, I did overhear one local resident talking on her mobile phone who said, “It’s a load of rubbish, just a lot of people on bikes.” But, hey, it’s going to take a lot more than natty threads alone for cycling to win over the hearts and minds of the British public.

Designers at the show were: Boulder Boutique; Jan Cicmanec; Dashing Tweeds; Cyclodelic; Smeear; Hoai-oanh Vu; Archie’s Grobags; b:inc; Two N Fro; Rose & Buck.

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