Photos by @natalierstarr
When I first started out in mountain biking, not knowing my axle from my a-hole, I stumbled upon SHREDLY’s website while looking for cycling kit in a women’s fit. Within a few clicks, I was obsessed. Bold, bright, beautiful colours and patterns loosened the vice-like grip of my reluctant bank account and I made my first ever purchase of women’s mountain bike shorts. In the 5-years since, I’ve seen the SHREDLY brand flourish from just focussing on shorts, to expanding their range to include active leggings, jerseys, accessories and, more recently, new cuts of short to really cater for all size and shape of rider.
I was so stoked with my new shorts at the time, that my curiosity about this indie US brand inspired me to find out more… Interviewing SHREDLY’s Ashley Rankin, head honcho and mother of colourways, was a brilliant way to learn about her passion for mountain biking, for women’s participation and her journey with growing the SHREDLY brand. It’s been five years since Ashley and I sat down for a blether, so a catch-up was way overdue…
There have been some big changes in womxn’s mountain biking since we last spoke. Tell me, in the last 5-years, what have been the biggest changes for the SHREDLY brand?
Mostly our product offerings. We’ve added new categories or sub-categories (LEGGINGS, ATHLETIC SHORTS, TOPS and ACCESSORIES) that complement what we’re best known for, MTB apparel. Most women who mountain bike participate in other activities too. So we thoughtfully design apparel that crosses over to many activities – we view it as designing for life, not just this sport, and that sport.
SHREDLY’s product range has grown massively, especially with the inclusion of the Curvy. Can you tell me how you came to expand the range?
Yes! This style is special to us because it’s the product of years and years of feedback. We collected (sometimes harsh) feedback from a large part of the women’s MTB market that felt completely ignored when it came to the standard-fit of MTB clothes. So we took all this feedback and tried to address as much of it as we could in this style of short. It’s impossible to make a one-model-fits-all (we know that from prior experience) so are careful to not be that naïve, but, we’re in year two with this style and based on reviews there are a few key things that really excited about.
Number one is the fit. It was engineered to accommodate varying body shapes and sizes. Anywhere from women with athletic hips and thighs accompanied by a small waist who always battle the dreaded waist-gap, to women who like their shorts to be a little higher rise and feel more supportive in the mid-drift. Or of course, those who wish they could just live in leggings all day every day.
“We now offer more sizes, styles and colourway options than any other MTB brand. And we’re really proud of that.” – Ashley Rankin, Founder of SHREDLY
Next, the expanded size offering: the CURVY spans size 2-24. This wasn’t the typical size range covered by outdoor brands in general, and definitely not in abundance in the MTB sector. While it poses logistical challenges in production and warehousing (which is why it’s hard for any company, especially small companies to commit to) we knew that as a womxn’s specific brand we wouldn’t be true to who we are if we didn’t offer shorts in a range that mirrors our customers. By no means are we able to now boast about our inclusion as if it’s complete. We’ll continue to build and improve. But we now offer more sizes, styles and colourway options than any other MTB brand. And we’re really proud of that.
Have you seen a change in Womxn’s MTB over the past 5-yrs? If so, what have you noticed?
Absolutely! It’s such a different landscape than it was 5 years ago. There is so much more to choose from when it comes to apparel, events, bikes, skills clinics, community involvement, and information in general. The industry still has work to do in terms of fair and equal treatment of womxn competitively, and womxn in executive and leadership roles, just to name a few. But I think it’s important to view the progress and use it as momentum to keep moving forward.
What has SHREDLY in store for us in 2020?
We’re really excited to have added a CURVY LONG (we launched last year with just the CURVY SHORT). So now all our MTB shorts have the same offerings (whether its short, long, curvy, or straight). We also reimagined our MULTISPORT SHORT and released it this year with a foldable hem so you can wear it short or long. Again, we know everyone loves their options! And some ladies like to wear their shorts a bit shorter, so this feature was for them. We also added a zipper pocket on the side that is a departure from our traditional cargo pocket. This is currently my favourite summer short for all activities.
We have some surprise colourway launches in the pipeline (think past year’s best sellers not already made in the new styles of shorts). With the pandemic shutdowns, our production got interrupted so we are behind on our restocks but have more coming in almost all short styles! So we’re looking forward to getting everyone’s favourites replenished soon.
Bank accounts beware: If you’ve yet to visit the SHREDLY website, you’ll be hard pushed to not come away with a shopping cart full of mountain bike goodness!
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