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Philip Siegert’s Upright Cyclist designs menswear for the city cyclist.
Spotlight: Philip Siegert
Menswear designed for the city cyclist.
Founded 2012 | Boulder, CO
“Our goal as a brand is to invite more people to get on bikes because it’s a great experience,” said Philip Siegert, founder of Upright Cyclist. Siegert, who bike messengered for a couple of years after art school, worked in advertising, and then consulted in ecommerce for a variety of well-known outdoor brands including Patagonia, Burton, and Quiksilver. He credits his exposure to great technical products and his discovery that riding a bike opens up the city as reasons for founding Upright Cyclist. For Siegert, meeting his brand’s goal means creating commuter apparel and accessories that perform like bike clothes when called upon, but look and feel like everyday clothes.
After moving to Boulder, CO, and attempting an initial round of prototypes, Siegert traded services with SidFactor, a technical apparel design firm, to move his designs forward. This matured into a business partnership and the addition of Grant Dupre as design director. Dupre, with his long history of creating apparel for premier brands also brought a technical dimension that has really advanced the brand.
“Our outlook is that if we wouldn’t wear it out, we won’t wear it on the bike,” said Siegert. “So we tend to spend a lot of time on the fashion reference and consider the inspirations for styling heavily. Our mindset on functionality is a bit more European. If you’re in the city, your commuting radius is probably under 10 miles (16 kilometers). We try to build our specs against this target and use the appropriate fabrics and construction.”
While the start-up brand is still in bootstrap mode, with small production runs and fulfillment handled in a basement, Siegert is riding a wave of high energy while making headway in a market still mostly tied to competitive cycling.
“We want our brand to have an edge but also be accessible,” stated Siegert. “We are an urban brand, built for creative people that ride, or want to commute, and appreciate their cities as an experience. Riding a bike shouldn’t mean you need a change of clothes.”
Launching Upright Cyclist has not been without its setbacks. “Our initial styles were focused on fall, but we launched in April, and missed spring as a season,” recalled Siegert. “It’s the small brand story.”
Siegert’s focus is now on September. “We have a lightweight Fishtail Parka coming out that is a great piece,” shared Siegert. “It plays on vintage foul weather gear and mountaineering styling, yet feels contemporary. It’s completely seam taped and waterproof, and utilizes venting found in ski garments for breathability. It’s a great piece on and off the bike.”
Reflecting on the progress Siegert has made so far in building the company he said, “We’ve been lucky to work with really talented people who have been involved because they loved what we’re doing. If not, we wouldn’t be here.”