Lumo are a brand that have been undergoing a period of acceleration of late. From their inception via a successful Kickstarter campaign to a full collection launch at Red Bull Studios they have been aiming for a sizeable hole in the market. Their stylish and safe cycling jackets will take you on two wheels to two feet and from the office to the pub and back again.
Q. Congratulations on making it through Kickstarter - could you tell us a little more about how it's gone from there?
A. It's apt that we're here tonight actually Red Bull because this is where the idea started, Doug who is my husband who was actually not even my boyfriend at the time, was knocked off his bike on the way to work one day. The driver said sorry mate "I just didn't see you" and he said "well you should be wearing brighter colours". His response was "well I refuse to look like a radioactive lemon in high vis so I'm not going to change" so the realisation that vanity was coming before his own safety made him think I need something that's comfortable, visible and stylish. I don't want to forget about the stylish thing and that's why we started the brand.
He wanted something he could look good in but stay safe on the road in and that when it came to going to a meeting or down the pub to meet his mates he wouldn't have to get changed. So we quit our jobs and started Lumo, crowd funded on Kickstarter and over funded by about 100% and made about £75,000 which is the most funded cycling clothing project globally so we're pretty happy!
Q. Congratulations again on also getting married, that feels like it must have been a very swift couple of years for you?
A. Yeah, it was ridiculous. It was mad we were just literally living in Australia and we set up Lumo, moved back to Chichester where I am from and we got married and moved house and crowd funded. It was just mental so it's been a really crazy 18 months.
Q. What's your favourite ride to do in the UK?
A. Oh good question, so city rides from Shoreditch over tower bridge to red bull is great, obviously Richmond park, Regent's Canal I love because there's good pubs along the way. Then the UK countryside too so I'm from the Southdowns; up around Goodwood it's just beautiful but I'm obviously biased because I'm from there but it's absolutely beautiful and I just love it.
Q. Cycling in the UK has gone through a bit of a boom in recent years with new brands coming out regularly - how do you see Lumo fitting in?
A. We started because there was a need there. There are the Rapha's of this world that do an amazing job of catering for performance cyclist and I think that their gear's great and then you've got the safety guys like endura and altura that produce low cost high visibility garments which are great too. We sit somewhere between those two. It's lifestyle products that keep you seen, that look incredible and that are made with an incredible attention to detail - the functionality on all of our range is superb.
I'm obviously biased but it doesn't look like cycling gear and that's really where we see our niche. You can wear our Lumo jacket in to a bar and someone will say oh hey mate nice jacket and they go well have you seen this and then they turn the lights and on.
Q. Have you done that yourself?
A. Yeah loads, I'm kind of known for it now but lots of mates do it too.
Q. How did you develop the collection and did you personally wear test it?
A. Yeah massively! So we cycle to work every day and we do longer rides at the weekend as well. We worked with a menswear designer that previously worked with Nigel Cabourn and Hardy Amies and we did that on purpose. We knew what cycling functionality needed to go in to this range and we knew someone that has a very good eye for style. He, Rob freeman, developed the range with us and we added the functionality together. We worked with a wearable electronics supplier to integrate the technology in to the garments. Then we wear tested the shit out of them basically. There are still tweaks that I think that we can make as we progress but I'm really, really pleased with the collection.
Q. What's next and what is the future for the brand in 2016?
A. So we want to make clothes for cyclists that have useful wearable technology integrated in to them and they always have to look stylish. For us things that really excite are wireless charging devices. If you're on your bike and your phone runs out of battery - which is bloody annoying - imagine if the energy from your body can recharge your phone. That's something that we're working on with the university of British Columbia who we're quite close to. We're also working on using nano fibre technology, so harnessing your body's power to create power. Ultimately your feet are going round on the bike. We have a new range in 2016 and it will be a yes to tech that can help you in your everyday life and a no to checking your power output and how many calories you've burnt because that's not what we're trying to do.
Q. The connection with the university of British Columbia - how did that come about?
A. Doug did a masters there so that's actually how the link came about and they got in touch during Kickstarter. They have a huge grant from the Canadian government to invest in wearable tech so we were really interested in that. We've joined a couple of their seminars and are working with their scientists to develop stuff. From a style point of view we'd really like to do a collaboration with a well known designer that's famed for being technical but has got a really nice style angle. I really shouldn't say names yet, we've got someone in mind, but we haven't approached them yet.
Q. Do you see yourself making performance cycling product?
A. In the foreseeable future we won't be doing any lycra gear. It's about that liberating feeling that you get when you ride a bike and just having fun when you ride your bike and you can do shit that you couldn't do when you're on a tube or a taxi or a bus home. Our strapline is freedom of the city and that's what we're about. We want to facilitate that and get as many people riding bikes as possible so it's not about tracking your power output and it's not about wearing skin tight lycra and shaving your legs. It's about getting about your business the best way possible and that's on two wheels.
Q. What is your favourite piece from the collection?
A. The Parka because a) I like the style the best and b) it's completely wind proof and I'm a complete nightmare when it comes to cold weather. I've worn it up in the Yorkshire dales with a load of mates cycling over the weekend and it's great. It's breathable and you can wear it in the spring because it keeps you warm.
Q. What are you are your favourite things to do in London?
A. I love drinking... I shouldn't say that but there are a lot of watering holes in London that I like there's The Book Club, The Princess and The Rose just down the road in Bermondsey [where the interview took place]. London has some really lovely pubs and I pride myself on having quite a good knowledge of them. At the weekends Richmond park just to pedal around is really nice to wind down. Music wise XOYO is always a good night. I'm a big fan of live music so KOKO or where ever else it may be.
Q. What music are listening to at the moment?
A. At the moment I'm quite in to Jamie Woon and I like Jamie XX and Lapsley so quite sort of chilled electro vibes. I get a lot of music from Red Dull Academy site so it's sort of my go to place for new music.
Q. What do you cycle to? Do you have a track which pushes you further?
A. Generally jungle we're in the Yorkshire dales and it's really beautiful scenery and you can hear jungle pumping out of the boy's head phones as we're going uphill so I'd say that.