Sir Bradley Wiggins and founder of cycling brand Le Col Yanto Barker are aiming to get the country on their bikes with a new collaboration.
Tour de France champion and five-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Bradley Wiggins has teamed up with cycling brand Le Col, founded by fellow former professional cyclist Yanto Barker in 2011, to create a men’s and women’s wear collection called Le Col by Wiggins. The 32-piece collection launched earlier this month, exclusively on Le Col’s website, and retails from £15 for socks to £155 for a jersey and £185 for bib shorts.
Wiggins and Barker met more than 20 years ago when they lived, trained and raced together as junior members of Team GB. They chat to Drapers about working together, encouraging the next generation of athletes and bringing a touch of mod style to cycling.
You’ve known each other for two decades. Why did you want to work together on this collaboration now?
Bradley Wiggins: I remember sharing a room with Yanto at a training camp in Lanzarote. We were 18, we had a pile of cycling magazines that we’d bought in the airport and we read them back to back, just looking at what the professional cyclists were wearing. All these years on, now that we’re making our own stuff, it means there’s a dialogue in the design process which I couldn’t have had with anyone else.
Yanto Barker: We have both been involved with cycling from the bottom up, so our experiences and our influences are very similar and run in parallel. When Bradley makes a reference to something, I know exactly what he’s talking about. It’s all about Brad’s style – that’s his thing – but there’s got to be a commercial element, it’s got to have a story, and it’s got to make sense as part of a range, so that’s my bit.
Where did the design inspiration come from?
BW: There’s a lot of British heritage in there – one of the pieces is modelled on a jersey that my Dad (professional cyclist Gary Wiggins) wore in the 1980s, because without him, I’d have never got into cycling. There’s a lot of personal touches, like gold details in a nod to my Olympic past. It’s very clean, nothing too fancy.
YB: What Brad had designed is quite different from the main Le Col line, which is important because there’s no cannibalising of sales and it is something special for the brand that isn’t already in the range.
Why does Le Col manufacture in Italy?
YB: We have our own factory in Treviso, northern Italy. I bought it so I could design and make the product how I thought it needed to be done, and to make sure we didn’t lose that in translation to the Far East.
Will you work together again?
YB: We’re already working on the next stages, and we want to keep designing something unique.
BW: I see this as a long-term relationship. For me, it is also about engaging with people and encouraging them to get on their bikes. One of the main things that has come out of the London 2012 Olympics and all the success we had is the number of people who come up to me and say, “I was so inspired by 2012, I got back on my bike, and I’m obsessed with cycling now.”
Favourite clothing brand
BW Fred Perry. It hasn’t really changed since I was a kid – it’s held on to its heritage and it knows what it’s about
YB I’ve always liked Ralph Lauren
Last fashion purchase:
BW I bought a shirt last night actually – from Reiss
YB Probably just a simple polo shirt!
YB Portugal, but wherever I go, I’m always working
Our Fashion Life: Sir Bradley Wiggins and Le Col founder Yanto Barker