After the Fashion District did the fabulous Tour de Fashion during NY Fashion week in September 2011 (showing SS12) I’ve come across a bunch of London based designer bike projects, spearheaded by the W hotel in Leicester Square’s WOW Bikes Program. Like the Fashion District program, the bikes are also up for charity auction after the program ends this October. Who got that party started? Regardless, it’s a super huge deal if celebrities & media coverage are any measure. The WOW Bikes program is benefiting Elton John’s AIDS foundation (*Elton* was at the launch!), covered in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Road.cc and all the design & hotel blogs, magazines and inflight programs from Moscow to Vancouver – it appears the reverse trickle has finally reached it’s apex.
WOW designer bikes
Tour de Fashion designer bikes
Once upon a time, designers were creatives who influenced major brands, who influenced most people. But the trend to designer bikes seems like a fun, if insane reversal on the personal paint jobs, odd baskets (frequently seen at rather ‘downmarket’ events like critical mass), DIY ‘bling’ and personalization projects that brands and high end designers have traditionally scoffed at. Has street culture scored a major knock out in the name of fun? So it appears.
These are the most enjoyable examples, because they’re unique, they have been personally designed & created by well loved designers. Major bike manufacturers have been heeding the call of the custom paint job for a while. Trek’s got a fancy “project one” website, FELT joined in for 2012 (these are high end carbon fiber road bikes & the custom color options are generally limited to detailing). But the real custom bike paint jobs are in independent powder coating and frame building shops all over. In Boston our friends at GEEKHOUSE do an awesome job, Independent Fabrications paint jobs are *legendary* and Brooklyn’s own custom builder Squarebuilt is so fancy he’s even done super high end espresso machines!
How would Bike Snob approach such a topic? Oh right, he already has.