This week, we’re talking to urban cyclewear designer Megan Aylott, founder of MEAME. Megan designs beautiful, classic tailoring with innovative fabrics and features. The result is high performance, luxury cycling apparel with timeless styling and cutting edge materials. We’re big fans.
We did some training rides for the Prudential with Megan, and in a last minute change of plans, she even rode a bicycle from the Vamper stable… Surely the ultimate justification for the N+1 rule is being able to help out a friend in crisis?
1. What inspired you to move into the world of cycling apparel? What influence does your fashion background have on the way you approach cycle clothing through MEAME?
After the Boris Bikes came out, I started to enjoy commuting in the city in a different way (finally off stuffy tubes and buses) so Steven, my husband, encouraged me to start cycling and bought me my first bike in London – and first bike since I was a teenager!
After arriving at meetings dripping wet, and worried about how visible I was I started looking for something suitable. The obvious choice is a hi-vis, but they aren’t exactly flattering… Stylish and sophisticated waterproof jackets, that would work all day long whatever I was doing, didn’t seem to exist. After finding out more people felt the same this prompted Steven and I to start a performance fashion brand that worked for cycling, work and beyond. MEAME was born.
My fashion background aids the way I approach functional clothing mainly through styling and quality. Clothing doesn’t have to look like sportswear to perform well. We wanted to develop a sophisticated range that is versatile come rain or shine, night or day.
2. What sort of cycling makes you happy? Where do you like to go?
I like lots of different cycling, but firstly commuting around London is great. Discovering new routes you don’t normally see and having more freedom in such a congested city is liberating.
But since training for the Prudential ride I’ve really started to enjoy road cycling around the countryside, too. It’s nice to escape the city, see some great scenery and reflect.
It’s really nice to ride around Yorkshire, partly because it’s close to where I grew up and because it’s just beautiful. Hilly, green and quiet, then when I’m staying with my parents I get home from a ride and dinner is cooked a wonderful change to a busy life in London.
3. If you could go for a bike ride with anyone at all, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I think Victoria Pendleton would be great to cycle with: she’s an incredible cyclist, and the way she has fought her way through tough times is very inspiring. She’s a wonderful role model to encourage girls into sports.
For comedy value…
Liberace. I just think it would be hilarious. I mean, can you imagine what he would wear? A fur coat, a glittery suit… It would just be so impractical I’d laugh all the way round.
4. What is the best thing about being involved in the cycling industry in 2016?
Well, it’s our first year live, so the best thing has been meeting customers at cycling trade shows and getting such a great response to the MEAME brand and clothing. The feedback is so important, and will affect the way we develop our next range.
5. What cycling trends do you think will be big in the next 12 months?
I don’t really follow cycling trends or sportswear trends. Personally, I am influenced by everything around me, and fashion and art. I then integrate technical fabrics and features to make performance fashion tailored for city cyclists.
On an inkling. .. I’d say bold monochrome graphic patterns.
6. What song is guaranteed to get you in the mood for a ride, no matter what time you went to bed?
Faithless, I can’t get no sleep. Or…. My Sherona, by the Knack.
7. What has been your cycling highlight of 2016 so far?
I set myself a challenge this year to do something I’m not used to. With MEAME being a city cycling brand, The Prudential Ride London seemed an obvious choice! I’ve never been an endurance rider, never craved riding up hills with joy and definitely never ridden 100 miles. So it was a real challenge, and the training (which I didn’t do enough of!) was really rewarding. The event was such a great day – so many people raising money in such good spirit, and so much support from the public. I loved riding past an old folks home where they were all out with the nurses cheering us on. It kept people pedalling, it was brilliant.
8. And finally: what’s in store for MEAME? What can we expect to see from you in the coming year?
We’re developing our next range right now, so you can expect to see more lifestyle choices. We’ll be developing more technical clothing that works for everyday to make life more comfortable – and of course, without sacrificing style!
We’re currently doing a survey to get a better idea of what people want and how they would like to see the range develop. After all, we’re designing it for the undercover athletes that is in all of us.