A triathlete since 1994, Kristin Mayer knows what it is like to go the distance. But in 2010 at the Kona Hawaii Ironman world championships Mayer decided to see if instead of racing – she already had one Kona finish under her belt – she could compete in fitness apparel.
Thus Mayer combined her two longtime passions: triathlon and design. While she had previously worked on one-off projects such as designing the kit for Ironman champion Michelle Jones, and was previously an art director for Triathlete magazine, Mayer opted to make it official with Betty Designs.
Named after the 1990s Southern California slang for a cute, timeless or attractive woman, Betty Designs was born. Mayer opened an online store with the name in 2011 with the goal of providing race apparel that didn’t have to look so much like race apparel.
“My mission is to create bold, unique looks that are different from what is out on the market,” Mayer told BikeRadar. “I try to push the design envelope and take inspiration from fashion and other places.”
This has included healthy use of bright colors notably pink, but done so in very non-traditional ways.
“One of my first kits was The Betty, which is a jersey and bib short completely head-to-toe pink,” she noted. “In February I will launch my snakeskin collection which will have bold, unexpected colors of snakeskin down the center of the jerseys and shorts.”
Part of the goal of Betty Designs is also to provide clothing that better fits the female frame, while also appealing to the female rider.
“My kits have a flattering fit and the leg bands on the shorts are unbelievably comfortable,” said Mayer. “No sausage leg! Jerseys are women’s race cut for a slim, flattering fit and a bit longer than some of the other women’s brands on the market.”
Patterns are different from what most male riders would don. Mayer said her goals have been to create athletic apparel that doesn’t look like an advertisement — or even look like most fitness apparel out there.
“With the prints and graphics I’m using I’m bringing some non-athletic looks into cycling and triathlon,” Mayer added. “In my swimsuit line I have a bikini silhouette – Brazilian bikini – that looks like a string bikini with all the functionality of athletic cuts. I have also been playing with metallic fabrics in the swim line for an unexpected twist.”