In Australia, the kit game is strong. Since our first Wild Style Aussie kits story just over a year ago, the number of Australian niche kit brands has grown exponentially. These young start-ups are commonly being referred to as 'Instagram Brands', where their growth has formed through social media.
With these Wild Style brands building prominence, mainstream global brands are taking notice, each season releasing more kits that are a departure from the rolling billboard and Eurocentric styling we're used to seeing.
With each new brand that pops up (and there are many), we're continually surprised by how small operations can stay relevant on the technical aspects of garments. Using high quality, cutting edge fabrics, many of these small brands are offering similar technology to premium brands like Castelli, Santini and Rapha. Style and materials aside, it's worth pointing out that in many cases garments from the big brands still retain better cuts and fit — likely because of the larger budgets and experience they have in research and prototyping.
We love the things some of these brands are doing, and the others, well, they are unique. We've compiled a long list of the most vocal and 'out there' options, some we have already featured… plus a few newcomers. By no means will these suit everyone (many are certainly best suited to Gen Y-ers out there), but make no mistake - these kits will likely influence future designs from the biggest of brands.
With so, so, so many of these niche brands emerging globally, it’s worth pointing out that there are now many custom kit manufacturers that will make you a kit with your desired design – we’re not saying you should hit the market, but there’s never been more choice for individuality.
It’s pretty safe to say that Attaquer has well and truly blown up. Since we last spoke with Greg and Steve from Attaquer, they have released a Normcore range, designed a kit in collaboration with Manual for Speed, are sold internationally by Competitive Cyclist (US) and Kinko Store (UK), and are now up to season six of their limited edition range.
Check out our review of the Attaquer Normcore kit
Hailing from ‘Radelaide’ (that'll be Adelaide, in case you needed a pointer), Fiasco Ciclismo came to the market with some of the brightest kits we have ever seen. Photos can’t do this gear justice – when the sun hits the fluoro colours they're damn near blinding. Now having moved on from dazzlingly bright getups, Tom Freeman – AKA ‘Tubular Tommy’ – has a few new and exciting designs in the works, including some inspired by his fav tattoo artist, and a collaboration with T-shirt brand Cruex on a merino wool jersey.
The guys at Pedla are proactive with their material innovation, regularly updating us on new garments – and so far we have been pretty impressed with what we’ve used. Not only are they playing with innovative fabrics, like those seen in the TEST jersey they sent us a few months back, but also with non-traditional colours. While many may have concerns over visibility, Pedla's newest #ownthewinter series is based around camouflage and darker shades that shouldn’t fall victim to road spray from wet wintery weather.
“Tall socks just make your legs look more attractive, that’s a fact” – wise words from Dion Shaw, owner of 4Shaw. Since we last spoke, the king of cycling accessories has partnered with the Rescue Foundation to raise money for our four legged friends, and nearly doubled his sock catalogue.
We asked Shaw what he’s been up to, and he was coy about what’s next for 4Shaw. He did however assure us he has some big things in the works – which in his words are going to be “next level!”
Hitting the market in November of 2014, Melbourne firm Maap is bringing simple style to the bike. Its founders Oliver (Ollie) Cousins and Jarred Smith have a combined 29 years experience in design and fashion, with brand names like Stussy, Mambo and Globe on their CV. All Maap apparel is made in Milan, Italy, except for the socks – which are proudly made in Australia.
While most of the brands on this list hail from Australia's capital cities, Stelf is based just a stone's throw from Sydney, in beautiful Wollongong. Another ‘made in Italy, designed in Australia’ kit, Stelf cycling has opted for seasonal limited releases, much like Attaquer.
As with many of these brands, we stumbled across Hunter Bros Cycling while scrolling through Instagram. By the time we checked out its website, the first round of kits had already sold out.
Based in Fitzroy, Melbourne, Hunter Bros has just released its next edition of kits. The second season builds on the styling of their original release, this time featuring doves and roses.
Cream Cycling was a feature in our Wild Style II story, where we compared its stylised minimalism to a 'certain British apparel brand'.
While Cream's new kits are based around ‘Chaos’ and ‘Order’, they're a bit wilder than their previous release – but still maintain a unique style.
Screaming Melbourne bike culture for the past decade, fyxomatosis (AKA Fyxo) has been restoring classic bikes, taking great cycling photos, and overall just being a cycling badass for quite some time now – and he makes some pretty cool kits too.
Fyxo designs all of his kits in house before having them made by the California based clothing brand Endo Customs. Many of Fyxo’s kits have a historical sporting reference, with a modern twist.
South Apparel was founded by a cyclist, an AFL (Australian Football League – not the same as soccer or Rugby) player and a graphic designer who came together to make some interesting cycling clothing.
With three jerseys on offer, South Cycling’s designs are, well… we’ll let you be the judge.
Based in Sydney’s beautiful northern beaches, Cycology started out with T-shirts featuring hand drawn designs. Now adding cycling kit to the online catalogue, the Sydney outfit is boasting premium quality kit at a low ‘factory-direct’ price.
We've just gotten our hands on Cycology's Bike Obsession jersey, which features a range of MITI fabrics, and well placed high quality grippers. The hand drawn designs are something new to the cycling kit world – we’re still figuring out whether they float our boat.
Formerly a Sydney based triathlon clothing brand, when Jaggad relaunched in late 2014 it moved operations to Melbourne. Headed by former Hawthorn AFL player Steve Greene, Jaggad recently brought Malachi Moxon of the infamous Northside Wheelers Bike Shop on as head of cycling to design its bike kits.
Based in Perth, Pedal Mafia is making an offer you can’t refuse – high quality boutique kit, at a price that won’t have Fat Tony breaking down your door asking: “Where’s the money?” More subtle than some of the kits in our roundup, Pedal Mafia has created some bold kits that you won't get whacked for wearing.
OORR (Out of the Rat Race) runs off the mantra 'Performance wear for the planet'. The OORR Original Jersey began its life cycle as recycled plastic bottles. The only things in this jersey not made from recycled materials are some of the stitching, elastic and printing – OORR is still working on finding recycled materials that are up to scratch.
We’ve tried one of these jerseys and there are, thus far, some compromises made in being kind to the earth – the material is quite heavy (so on the warm side), while the zipper seems less flexible than some of the competition. But we're always excited about brands that are focused on creating environmentally conscious products.
Part of the Melbournian contingent, Delord, much like Pedal Mafia has created bold kits that retain a subtle and timeless style.
Delord is nearing the production phase of a new range of kits. The firm isn't quite ready to reveal its new designs, but we're excited to see what’s to come.
Pronounced ‘a-cue-tow’, A’qto means intense in Italian. The proudly Australian brand has just released a few fresh garments that feature plaid, bold stripes, bright tones, and hi-vis camouflage prints.
Black Sheep Cycling
Black Sheep Cycling is offering its kits in limited edition runs, with everything from floral to polkadot patterns making the grade. The third season, which was only recently released, is damn near sold out already.
In a recent development, Black Sheep Cycling has just announced an Essentials range. Similar to Attaquer’s Normcore range, Blacksheep’s Essentials kits feature a few innovative fabrics and subdued styling.
FYF (or Find Your Freedom) is a brand that again focuses on stylised minimalism with a classic flair. Reminiscent of a few pro team jerseys from the 1980s, FYF kits are simple but good looking.
Using laser cut fabrics, and innovative technologies such as pixel reflective fabrics, the kits from FYF are surprisingly technical, despite the brand's small scale.