They do things differently in the fashion industry. It’s a fact that made last night’s Red or Dead and Raleigh bike launch all the more interesting from the perspective of the cycle trade.
From the just-off-Carnaby Street location, to the walls of the venue decked out in shabby chic framed retro Raleigh adverts and promo pics, to the cocktails and, most importantly of all, to the bikes themselves.
The bikes are being pitched as fashion accessories first and bicycles second. It’s a concept likely alien to many in the bike trade, but with numbers of female cyclists pitifully low in the UK, it’s an approach that some would argue is long overdue.
Evans Cycles currently has exclusivity on the bikes, but BikeBiz was told many other retailers came along to the launch and gave the range the thumbs up with hints at a much wider distribution at retail further down the line.
The two British brands have produced an small initial range of bikes for women, including the Seaspray, Bikeland and Ruscia Rose – the former retailing at £399.99 and the latter at £299.99. The bikes all come with matching bike covers and sport handlebars and saddles matched to the designs on the frames.
"It’s been a long journey," Red or Dead brand president Julia Massey told BikeBiz. "We’ve taken the best of what Raleigh do and made it more beautiful."
A full report will appear in July’s BikeBiz. In the meantime, here are some more pics.
The Bikeland, complete with matching bike cover.
There will be a line of accessories from Red or Dead and Raleigh, arriving at retail shortly after the bikes.
Fashion students took part in a helmet design competition, with prizes handed out for the best at the launch event.