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CYCLING APPAREL MEETS FRENCH FASHION
Inspired by the French Riviera, Café du Cycliste is a cycling and outdoor label set to bring style to any adventure. Here, we meet the brand’s co-founder, Remi Clermont.
Whether as a result of a post-Olympics obsession, the governmental health push or the pandemic, cycling has indeed become the sport du jour. As one of the fastest, most flexible and reliable methods of transport, it’s not hard to see why. But cycling has become more than just a way of getting from A to B, it offers riders the chance to reconnect with nature, to get lost in both body and spirit and the feeling of being fully liberated.
But as anyone who has taken to the saddle in recent months will attest to, cycling apparel isn’t as freeing. That is, until they meet Café du Cycliste. Founded by Remi Clermont and his friend Andrew Stewart, Café du Cycliste first began as a small-town café in the South of France that happened to also sell cycling products. Soon, the café’s apparel became more popular than its coffee and thus came the birth of Café du Cycliste as we know it today.
Now producing first-class cyclewear that combines performances with modern French elegance, we sit down with co-founder, Remi Clermont to learn more about the allure of cycling.
On How Café Du Cycliste Came To Be
“I started Café du Cycliste 13 years ago with no experience in apparel and no professional cycling background. It might sound like a stupid idea - and it was very challenging - but it allowed me to stay away from the strict codes that run the cycling apparel world.
At the time, the only concept available on the market was pure racing performance and for me, that was very restrictive. I needed technical cycling products but no brands seemed to consider that cycling could be more than just a racing sport. I am speaking about the spirit here, but of course, that translated into the design of the products and I didn’t like the style of what was available - it just wasn’t for me. So I started thinking about what else it could be…”
On What An Average Day For Him Entails
“I am involved in many aspects of the company and there isn’t really such a thing as an average day at work. But my main focus is our products. I follow them all the way from the design to the development so I would say there is always at least 50% of a given day when I am working on products with designers, developers, and partners at our factories. However busy, I try to get a short escape each day with a ride or sometimes a swim. Often at lunchtime with colleagues. A Col d’Eze (local climb) lunch is always better than a burger lunch!”
On The Favourite Thing About His Job
“After 13 years, what I still find very exciting is to see an idea come to life in the shape of a new product. Especially when we take some risks or do things differently. The first prototype is built and it suddenly becomes real. We try it, test it and it delivers exactly what we expected. It’s always an amazing process and feeling.”
On The Importance Of Sustainability
“It’s important for obvious reasons: we are in the middle of a climate crisis, and for me, it means responsibility. Café du Cycliste, as a business that involves production and manufacturing, has a responsibility to minimise the ecological footprint, and we are working on it with research, better designs and technology. We now have 100% biodegradability in our packaging, we’ve joined the 1% For the Planet initiative and have been working internally with all employees in encouraging sustainability. We have also just relaunched our best-selling bib shorts, which have been improved with biodegradable yarns.
On His Sustainable Hopes For The Future
“As a brand, we enjoy the beauty of the natural world and the need to protect it has always been clear. From day one, I decided to source all our fabrics in Europe (more than 95% of our fabrics are made in Europe) and use factories as close to Nice as possible (80% of our garments are produced in Europe). Today we are still working on improving our behaviour, using more recycled yarns, going toward 100% recyclable packaging, and even biodegradable shorts! More generally speaking, becoming a B-Corporation is one of our major targets to help us move towards becoming a more sustainable organisation. The assessments carried out will help complete major steps, acting as a catalyst for improvement. Becoming a B-Corp is not an end in itself, however, it will be a means of validation as we continue to progress.”
On His Love For Cycling
“It’s where I’m most at home, on the bike, I think. My passion for cycling comes from a love for the outdoors, it is a means to an end. I practise a lot of other outdoor sports. All are amazing since they bring me to a place where I feel good, but cycling is the one that makes me discover the most and gives me a strong feeling of freedom. It’s a sport, it’s a social club, it’s green transport, it’s a shuttle to adventure and a vessel for discovery. It’s life-changing.”
On What Every Cyclist Needs In Their Kit
“As general advice, I would probably say a quality pair of padded shorts is number one if you are going to spend time on the bike. Then wind-blocking or insulation, and breathability are the key elements. But without knowing the ‘brief’ for your cycle, it’s quite a difficult task. The requirements will change depending on where you are going to ride be it the road or in the mountains; or if in Ireland or the South of Spain…”
On The Benefits Of Cycling
“Cycling is about freedom, from the first moment you learn to ride. It’s a sport that can take you to beautiful and unexpected places in just one morning, but also help you discover a new city or introduce you to new friends for years. As long as you don’t crash too often, it’s a very healthy habit. So for me, the mental and wellness benefits are enormous, and connecting us with nature is number one for me.”
Discover Café Du Cycliste and their collection of high-quality technical cycling apparel with a French twist exclusively now at Brown Thomas Dundrum.
MORE TO READ
Inspired by Remi’s love for the great outdoors? Discover a whole host of outdoor activities to enjoy this summer in Sustainable Experiences To Try This Summer.