I think the fashion business is one of mankind's sillier creations. A massive industry is based on consumers (not customers) throwing out perfectly good clothes just so they can look like the anorexic models, both male and female, featured in the latest fashion shows and magazine ads.
The New York, Paris, Milan, etc, designers have created a paradigm of absurdity, yet cyclists have managed to exceed even their silliness. Not only do many cyclists strive to dress like Tour de France riders, but they pay absurd amounts for kit plastered with advertising. Think about it, the advertisers pay the pros to wear jersey's advertising plastic flooring (Quickstep), hearing aids (Phonak), early pregnancy tests and lotteries (Predictor Lotto), and TV channels (Discovery). Most riders, however, actually pay big bucks to buy the same clothes; in other words they pay for the privilege of advertising for these companies. Is this all in hope that they might be mistaken for Lance?
Beyond the obviously ludicrous, there is the question of stomping about in road racing shoes when stopping for lunch because MTB or touring shoes you can walk in aren't deemed cool on a road bike. Plus, many of us no longer look our best in tight fitting Lycra.
As usual, the Japanese are a bit ahead of the curve in this. As this International Herald Tribune article explains how bicycle fashion is being recreated by some Japanese designers.
Also in Nakameguro is a shop called Hosu, where the doorway is flanked by a beautifully assembled Italian bicycle and a heavy-duty, multitiered tool box. Like PedAL.E.D., Hosu's clothes are all originals and geared toward the fashion-conscious, urban bicyclist. Hosu designs are marked by an understated edginess, like tweed or wool-like pants that are, in fact, made from polyester (for fast drying and easy wearing). They come with small slap-on coils that go around the left hem of the pant leg. This is so the pant hem will not get tangled in or soiled by the gear chain. The coils attach to the belt loops with an attractive metal ring, also good for hanging keys and other paraphernalia.The PedAL. E.D. shop also creates clothes that work both around town and on a bike. But more importantly their clothes are made of organic cotton, hemp, and other "responsible" fabrics. If you watched the talk by Yvon Chouinard that I linked to a few posts back, you know that non-organic cotton may be the most environmentally destructive crop in the world. And most plastic clothes, Lycra, pile, polyester, are made from oil, yet recycled polyester is one of the least harmful fabrics. Even wool raised on non-organic industrial ranches is questionable.
There are also jackets that come with small, detachable buttons that glow in the dark and alert drivers that a cyclist is on the road.
Jun Kurokawa, 34, a Hosu fan and rookie cyclist, said: "Just because I'm into bicycles doesn't necessarily mean that I have to dress the part. I like Hosu stuff because you can't really tell they were designed for bike lovers. It's a little bit like being part of a secret society."
By the way, some of the best advice I ever received was: "Don't date women who wear gold shoes or say their hobby is shopping." And, "Style is not the same as fashion."