Kit Design: Lauren Ayers
Interview with Lauren by Tayler Rae Dubé, Photography courtesy of Tenspeed Hero
Everyone knows we love Tenspeed Hero. Their crisp, bold, and colorful kits set them apart from a sea of solid jerseys. What you might not know is that behind some of TSH's most notable designs is Lauren Ayers. Senior designer for branding and marketing conglomerate VSA (you may know them from their work with clients like Chanel, Nike, and Converse), Lauren is no stranger to working with fashion companies. Pair her aesthetic with the athletic and Art Nouveau style of Tenspeed Hero and what do you get? We think a pretty cool kit.
What makes for a good kit design?
Assuming they’re as comfortable and functional for the rider as they need to be, my favorite kits are a lot like my favorite clothes and art—teetering somewhere between playful and restrained.
What challenges do you face that are unique to designing a kit?
I've let go of the ideal seamless layouts as they exist in my digital files—in reality, bodies are not flat and cyclists in particular move quite a bit. Arms don't stay in one perfect position, torsos get bunched up, things get dirty. I try to work with this movement rather than against it. Knowing that patterns will break and distort across different sizes, I camouflage seams where I can and highlight them with color shifts when I cant.
Some of your most notable designs (Sherbert and Cloud Jerseys) were made specifically for women before becoming options for men as well. How do you design differently for women than for men?
We actually had the Sherbet and Cloud jerseys for both men and women from the very start. I don’t really think about assigning gender to the pieces while I develop them because ideally I’d want anyone to wear any jersey they want to wear. In cases when we can’t produce something in both men's and women's cuts (due to costs, etc) we just try to divide them equally so everyone has a variety of colors and prints to choose from.
Do you pull your inspirations from anywhere outside of cycling? If so where?
I do! I pull from all over. Art, design, fashion. Life. I knew I wanted Resort 2015 to be pretty bold and whimsical, so I spent a lot of time looking at Marni, Dan Flavin’s work, and Cartoon Network. When I worked on the CWEC kit, I wanted to create something as tough as it was pretty, so I looked at a lot of armor designs and zoological illustrations of scales.
Outside of branding, what do you take into consideration for color selection?
At TSH we have a history of making nods to late greats like Elsworth Kelly and Donald Judd because those guys were brilliant with color. And then sometimes, eh, I go with my gut. Dreamy sherbets and bright oranges and pale pinks (specifically warm, peachy, easy-to-look-at pinks) are so much fun to play with, and hopefully that comes across in the kits.