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Here in Australia we’re lucky enough to have a fantastic cycling culture and it was arguably our friends from Sydney, Attaquer, that started the current kit revolution.
On the eve of their four-year anniversary we’re featuring a men’s and women’s kit from Attaquer on the CyclingTips Emporium, kits that hark back to the brand’s very first collection. We spoke to Attaquer co-founders Greg Hamer (below right image, right) and Stevan Musulin (below right image, left) about their journey and what started it all.
“When Attaquer began we wanted to explore a side of cycling apparel we felt hadn’t been explored before,” Stevan said. “We wanted to create something disruptive and unexpected based around fashion apparel.
“Even four years on from when we started this ride, we’re still very passionate about the sport of cycling and we still feel it’s ripe for disruption. We love working on ideas which get people out of their comfort zone, and have an element of ‘You can’t do that’.
“We launched Attaquer in/around October 2012, almost four years ago now. Back then Rapha was leading the charge in kit design but they were very gentlemanly — too gentlemanly for us,” says Greg. “We both grew up being influenced by the surf and skate culture and wanted to blur the lines in what was possible in cycling kit.”
It’s no secret what’s needed to launch a new business or brand: an identified need or gap in the market, an unrelenting passion for your chosen field and a diverse and complementing mix of skillsets within the team.
Stevan had been working in the apparel industry for 10 years at G-Star and Ben Sherman, while Greg came from within the cycling industry having been brand manager for a number of cycling brands. It was this mix of design/creative skills and a knowledge of the bike industry that made it all possible. That and Stevan’s sister-in-law.
“Stevan had an extremely beautiful sister-in-law who, as it happens, is now my wife,” Greg says laughing. “Attaquer was a side project to finding true love.
“It made sense that one of us could bring a design and creative element to the business, whilst the other would bring cycling industry and product knowledge,” says Stevan “From there we spent several months researching manufacturers and product, developing samples, designing, setting up the business and website.
“Then late in 2012, my attic was full of boxes and we were ready to launch the brand, starting with our online store and two retail stockists in Melbourne and Sydney.
“These days both of us manage many tasks within the business and no longer work from my attic. We have our own office, warehouse and full time staff,” says Stevan.
To the average Attaquer customer, the real selling point is the brand’s sense of individuality and “reckless confidence” that comes with each of the kits.
“We don’t take ourselves too seriously. Cycling has so many ‘rules’ that sometimes people forget that this is a hobby and we’re all doing it to have fun,” Greg says. “Don’t be afraid to rock up to the cafe in a kit covered in flamingos, or peacock feathers, or watermelons! The majority of the time the guys who’ll criticise you for wearing that kit are the ones falling off the back of the bunch on the first bit of incline.
“It’s true what we say, if you look good you’ll feel good, and if you feel good you’ll ride faster!”
One thing that is now commonplace amongst brands, but wasn’t when Attaquer started, is the fact all limited edition Attaquer kits are sold as a full kit only. No mis-matching allowed.
“We wanted to ensure that the unique Attaquer design aesthetic wasn’t compromised, so we took a gamble and didn’t give the customer a choice of purchasing their jersey and bibs separately — ‘complete kit’ only,” Stevan explains. “I’m not talking about a colourful jersey and black bibs with matching brand logos. I’m talking about a complete look where the jersey and bibs are somewhat integrated in their design, a seamless finish.
“There was a lot of resistance to this concept early on, but nowadays it’s widely accepted and many wouldn’t have it any other way.”