With a bright smile I’m welcomed by Iris Slappendel into her little corner of the space shared with Parallel Handbuilt. As we talk over a coffee she goes through her ideas and how everything came about. One of the first things I spot is a little Japanese book next to her laptop.
“I was given this book up by a friend on a recent visit to Japan and it shows what colours work with each other. It has been the basis for the next line I am working on”.
While we talk about her career as a pro-cyclist, bikes and the event we will both by attending you can see how passionate Iris is about her label and where she aims to be in the years to come.
“Outside of cycling I have worked as a freelance designer and won a competition to design a new jerseys for the leaders of the season-long classifications of the UCI Women’s Road World Cup which was used in the 2014 season”.
“In 2016 I retired from professional cycling and knew I wanted to build a contemporary label, with modern designs and with limited run. Having been part of the pro-peloton for over a decade gave me deep insight into what works on the road. I’ve been able to use this knowledge throughout every aspect of the design process but most importantly, I believe that technical function must not inhibit style. I have tried to bring together performance, innovation and contemporary fashion so that everything I want from a garment is there for others to enjoy”.
For those that are not familiar with Iris Apparel it is hard to understand why. With a strong following, high-end fabrics and lines running at only one hundred pieces each, they sell out extremely quickly due to the popularity and quality. Iris’s clothing line has also been plastered cover to cover in magazines and on the internet, all of which means her brand is gaining strength.
It is nice to see that Iris produce clothing for all sizes compared to some companies seem to aim only at stick thin models. “We started with both male and female lines but it soon came apparent that women are looking for something a little different and are far more adventurous then men when it comes to colour and brands. As we (women) come in all shapes and sizes I aim to make sure that no matter what size you are you can ride in style”.
As we drink our coffee Iris allows me to see some of her ideas and designs for future lines. It is refreshing to see so much colour and bold design in a contemporary label. Clearly knowing her customer base and with the limited run of each design means that these will no doubt sell out extremely quickly.
If you are thinking of picking up some new clothing in the coming seasons and are looking for something a little different then I strongly suggest you head over to Iris and take a look.