A bike commuter garment for women

With over 2,655 bike share stations in 65 cities and 90,000 active commuters across the United States, bike commuting is an undeniable trend—but the market caters almost exclusively to men. Versi is launching its brand with the answer to female cyclists prayers: a one-of-a-kind garment that transforms from biking romper to elegant dress in an instant—for the modern woman who needs her clothes to support her flexible, creative, and spontaneous lifestyle. The dress state is elegant, refined, and never wrinkled, perfect for work or an evening event, while the romper state reveals a reflective pattern for safety and features lightweight, durable shorts that can stand up to the wear of the bicycle seat.

Versi was conceived, in collaboration with designers Oscar Pipson and Julia Lindpaintner, as a brand dedicated to getting more people on bikes. We were surprised by the dearth of products that addressed the particular needs of women cyclists, particularly since there was a clear need that was not being addressed by the typical spandex or stretch-enhanced denim.

Once we had identified our goal—creating a versatile, all-in-one bike commuter garment for professional women—we created a set of design principles and began prototyping and learning new skills to meet our own demands:

Fashion comes first
Any garment made would have to meet this bar to be successful; wearing Versi should not limit your ability to be stylish. We took inspiration from clean, modern labels such as Outdoor Voices and Cos. This consideration dictated that the final design of the “dress state” of the garment be relatively understated, traditional, and work-appropriate. It also dictated that the “romper state” be attractive and approachable enough to wear even off the bike.

Designed for transformation
It was important that the Versi garment work for anyone—not just those who have spaces to change at work. We experimented with several mechanisms before settling on the panel approach.

Inherently multi-dimensional
Versi pieces should be layered: their multi-functionality should be highlighted and exploited to create more depth and interest.

Performs for you and with you
Going a step beyond traditional “performance gear,” Versi garments should not only suit but enhance your lifestyle. This meant that the materials had to perform well, and the transition had to be effortless and performative.

Constructed for comfort & safety
Naturally, these were essential qualities. An insistence on comfort informed both material choice and bodice construction, and a concern for safety led us to take a screenprinting workshop, design a custom pattern, and add retro-reflective detailing to the undersides of the panels.

This piece would not have been possible without the advice and assistance of fellow classmate Karen Vellensky—a master seamstress and costume technician who consulted on the design, construction, and material selection. The project was in part inspired by Alisha Wessler, whose complaints about her own bike commuting experience served as key guideposts for the development of the product. The second version of the piece was sewed by Hae Jung Shin and our models were Isioma Iyamah and Ailun Sai.