When we think of Italian design we tend to think of beauty and quality and Huez cycling Apparel is no exception. This is probably why women have been asking for a women’s collection since Huez first launched the men’s range in 2014. Well, we bring good news; the women’s specific apparel is on its way and due to launch in just 2 weeks. Total women’s Cycling contributor Lorena was invited to the Huez press launch to find out a little bit more about the brand and put the new women’s kit through its paces.
Since the launch of their men’s range in 2014, Huez apparel have always wanted to provide a women’s collection, however they acknowledged that there was a greater demand for men’s cycling clothing at the time and that initially focusing on the men’s range gave Huez an opportunity to find their feet as a brand and take in a few learns en-route.
Women’s cycling is very important to Huez and the continual request for Huez women’s wear provided an affirmation that what they were doing appealed to a female audience. “It feels like the right time to launch the range," Lorenzo tells us, and whilst he admits that the initial capsule is small, he hopes it will be the precursor for an even playing field across the male and female collections moving forward.
Whilst so many other brands were looking back and were praising the qualities of well-established materials such as Merino wool with a retrospective view, Huez aimed to adopt a more progressive approach. They wanted to modernise the sport using the technology available to improve cycling clothing in a style that would appeal to a younger generation and “make people aware that they could lead and active lifestyle without the need to change their clothing – there were materials out there that had so much more to offer" Lorenzo explains. With this in mind, they offered their creative director Nicholas Bond a brief that would highlight Huez against the monotone backdrop of existing apparel.
From a design perspective, Huez aim to create a standout collection that can be used both on and off the bike and have no intention to compete with everyday fashion. This year Huez have responded to this growing appetite for the sportswear with the intention to provide a 50:50 split for urban and sports clothing across both the male and female ranges and moving away from the 70:30 urban:sports split that they once were.
“Hopefully what you see, such as the purples and the overall colour scheme is the same that is used in the men’s collection"
Now that the ball is rolling, Huez aims to smooth out the typical Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter launch pattern that is seen with so many clothing brands. They want to introduce new items more frequently to further engage with the interest and excitement of their fans. “It means that you are constantly dropping, constantly exciting … and there is always something new." Huez intends to create a core range to which smaller capsules of limited seasonal items can be added and mixed and matched throughout the entire collection; “We want you to feel special when you put the kit on" Lorenzo highlights.
How does the new Huez women's kit fair?
On first impressions alone the TWC team think Huez’s women’s specific apparel looks great. Made from a high-end material you can feel the quality of the kit immediately. The sleeves and legs are longer in length in comparison to many other brands; a feature that is often associated with high-end pro-team cycling clothing it also helps avoid the sausage leg phenomenon that so many women dread. To further compliment the fit of the shorts, Huez has opted for bib shorts within the initial collection. Of course, some women may steer away from using bib shorts for the sake of convenience breaks, but Huez has thought of this too and opted for a clip that slips over the head and fastens the shorts at the breastplate thus allowing for easy access.
The seamless collar is soft and folded in such a way to allow for greater comfort and add to the high-end pro image of the kit. Whilst the mesh back provides some relief from the Tuscan heat it will be interesting to note the amount of protection it provides from the sun.
The focus on high-end design thankfully hasn’t left a shortfall from a safety aspect. It is evident that whilst safety has been a key element in the design it has been approached in a subtle and professional manner as opposed to leaving the rider feeling somewhat like an off-season Christmas tree; in addition to basic strips of reflective material on the shoulders and back of the shorts, the rock pattern on the rear pocket of the jersey seems also to provide an element of reflection.
It’s not just about women’s kit, Huez wants to support women’s cycling from the ground level. With this, they have selected a number of female brand ambassadors to acknowledge that “women that are doing amazing things and pushing the barrier." Lorenzo enthusiastically explains “It’s no longer about the coffee shop ride, women are challenging men at the highest level … and I don’t think there has been the accolade given to the lady that pushes the barrier even further."
One of Huez’s sponsored riders is Red Hook rider Brooke Philips. There are only 80 girls in the Red Hook, comparatively few in relation to the total population of cyclists and Huez feel that Brooke has an amazing story to tell. Taken down during the New York criterium with just one lap to go when another rider clipped her rear wheel, Brooke consequently lost her position in second place last year.
Therese Sundstrom is another female ambassador. Perhaps not the social media frenzy that most brands want from an ambassador, Therese is a real cyclist and with a limitless enthusiasm for cycling. “That’s what you really get from her – no matter who you are on the bike you share that passion". Therese’s enthusiasm to take challenges on is what Huez consider inspirational and they hope it inspires others to push their own boundaries in turn.
The future looks bright for Huez
Huez encourages the opinions of their fans. They are conscious that many women do not feel that they are catered for specifically and by obtaining feedback from their ambassadors and the wider community Huez want to improve their understanding of the areas that are missing and/or missed with the intention of developing a range that fills those gaps.
That’s where you can get involved; Huez have always held and will continue to hold a number of quality circles throughout the year and they ask women (and men) to join them and share their opinions (positive and negative) on the Huez range and existing products from other brands. Sign up to the Huez mailing list and social media platforms to hear more about the rides, coffee mornings and quality circles that they organise.
As a young brand, Huez has strived to be the brand that speaks for, responds to and actively explores the opinions and ideas of their riders. “We are a young brand and we want to work with you, so maybe one day you will see your influence shine through in the range". Despite their desire to grow and develop they hope never to lose the connection they have with those wearing the kit.
Huez has come a long way since their first range in 2014. Face to face, their passion for women’s cycling has been evident from the start and now, backed with a stronger brand identity and associated direction, not to mention the reinforcement that their kit appeals to the female market they are ready to jump in.
From the offset, the kit looks great and it seems that Huez has successfully incorporated the elements that many women feel are lacking across other ranges. After a bit more testing, a few more rides, and of course the all deciding factor of washing the new kit, we will come back with a more in-depth opinion on the current women’s collection.
You may also enjoy: