Here’s another custom builder, but one who uses textiles rather than tungsten.
Katharine Andrews has an eye for design, a passion for bicycles, a mastery of pattern making and sewing and may change the way you think about clothing. I discovered her custom clothing label, Telaio, at Hub and Bespoke in Seattle a couple of years ago. There it was: the little black dress that has become my personal go-to for all special occasions, cycling and otherwise. Made of a lovely, lightweight stretch wool, it made riding in a dress a reality. Wide, flattering neckline, beautiful, deep v back, dropped waist styling with side hand pockets and invisible zippered pocket on back waist seam. Plus, there’s a hidden snap on the hemline that turns the skirt into a riding gaucho. I’ve worn it many, many times, with and without a 3/4 sleeve tee underneath or a bolero as cover.
Lucky for all, we have engaged Katharine to make the Everyday Bike Dress for you this year. It’s the kind of dress that defies season, needs very little care (wool is naturally self cleaning — just air out the dress and it’s good for multiple wears), insulates appropriately, repels water, wicks away moisture, breathes and is naturally anti-bacterial.
That’s the dress, here’s the dressmaker (compliments of her website):
Birth of a seamstress. Katherine has been making clothing professionally since 2008 and unprofessionally for much longer. She spent her teenage years mostly in clothing that was self-made or modified to suit (often despite the trends), working out techniques and reaching towards self expression. In young adulthood, she attended Seattle Central’s technical/vocational Apparel Design program and graduated at the top of her class, earning an industry award that provided the seed money with which to start a business. The daughter of a master carpenter and a gifted caregiver, she approaches her work with a loving and skillful integrity that is evidenced in each piece of clothing.
A not-so-little mission. Clothing embodies the intersection of necessity and art. While it is an intimate experience of material on skin, it also presents one’s public image. Apparel manufacturing is a global industry in which many are exploited and it is also an avenue for individual and collective empowerment. We all participate in this arena to some degree. Telaio Clothing is a one woman operation. Katharine hand builds high-quality, original clothing that people truly love.
Katharine’s inspiration, as quoted in Drift Journal:
The bicycle is a beautiful and useful human invention. It’s a masterpiece of design and contributes to life in a pretty much uniformly positive manner. When you ride a bicycle, you become attuned to your body and to the world around you in a special way—you not only see the hills, but feel them in your legs and your lungs as you climb them, the wind and the pull of gravity as you descend—and your experience takes on an integrated quality: time, distance, movement, gravity, effort, exertion, perception, sensory input and purpose are all linked. I used to ride my bike to apparel design school, five miles up and down hills each way, and my clothes failed me! I’d arrive at school warm from my ride, but as I cooled down, my cotton clothing remained damp and gave me a chill for the rest of the day. I tried wearing a waterproof raincoat on rainy days and found that I was as wet inside, from sweat, as I would’ve been without the coat, getting rained on. I wanted to create clothing that would work with the body and the bicycle and look good enough to be integrated into daily life. Wool was the perfect choice because it is naturally insulating (meaning it maintains and regulates body temperature) even when wet. It wicks, breathes, is naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial. Wool has historically been the fabric of choice for outdoor activities. One cycling club manual I read from the 1880s advises its members to wear only wool on the bicycle—if you wear cotton, it says, you may get caught far from home, catch cold and die—literally! So wool was a great choice for creating clothing that performed on a bicycle and was also elegant enough to wear off the bicycle and in daily life. The goal is to look and feel as good on your bicycle as it looks and feels on you! *Telaio is an Italian word that means “bicycle frame”, “frame of a loom” and “skeleton”.