The town of Squamish sits deep in the mountains of British Columbia - a place known for its incredible offering to the outdoor sports. 7mesh was born here, from a passion to ride - a desire to embrace the elements during winter, summer, and everything in between.
We talked with our cycle clothing buyer, and the founders of 7mesh, to discover what makes this new brand tick, and what makes them stand out from the rest…
Rumours become Reality - 7mesh comes to Wiggle
Words by Richard Land (Wiggle Cycle Clothing Buyer)
Rumours. They abound in the Cycle Industry, normally in the quiet parts of the year they surface, and some end up having legs, while others fizzle out. How this one started was someone mentioned to me that one of the founders had left Arcteryx, and another had left Assos, and they had formed a new company.
These are two incredibly innovative and interesting brands, which were now having their DNA mixed together to create a new apparel brand. My curiosity had been spiked. In reality, the statement above was true, but the back-story was a little deeper, as both Tyler and Bobby had worked together at Arcteryx.
My first response was to send an email. There was no contact number so I could not get in touch with them on the phone. Nothing. It went cold. The original mail was sent sometime around Feb, and I waited until the Eurobike show that August as this was my first chance to see it. I was impressed!
The quality of their manufacture was like looking at a long established brand, especially when I looked at their Gore-Tex jackets. This cemented that 'want', to make sure we have the best brands on site. Looking at 7mesh, I knew we would have a bunch of customers who this would resonate with, and others that would aspire to own a piece or two.
We talked. It felt a little bit like dating again, but only that I had the parents in the room at the same time. In short it was awkward at first. Nothing happened from that first encounter, except to firm my resolve that one day we would get to present this exciting brand to our Wiggle customers.
I chased the brand for the next couple of years; saying hello, exchanging emails, and then last year at Eurobike we got to talk at length about our businesses. What I logged, was that the 7mesh are good people, and ood people are those that you want to do business with. At the end of the discussion, I left with an agreement that we would start stocking the brand. I left the stand struggling to contain my excitement and looking forward to the day we would launch the brand to our enthusiastic customers.
What makes 7mesh unique?
What is exciting for me, as a long term Apparel Buyer, is that this brand is all about the attention to detail. You won't see busy complicated graphics on 7mesh products; the colours they choose reflect the environment that surrounds them. Some of the colours still pack a punch though, as Mother Nature has an amazing colour palette. I often think of 7Mesh garments being a bit like Dr Who's Tardis; as when you look at them, on the inside there is a whole lot more going on than first meets the eye. Turning a jacket, jersey or shorts inside out, you can see the details that end up delivering the fit that is designed to function.
As a rider, I love that they are taking a tailored approach to athletic wear. Much in the same vein as a tailor, they look for the correct fabrics to hit the design brief. That is 7mesh way...
5 Questions for 7mesh
1. "Lunchtime rides and late night design sessions. Design fuelled by passion and passion fuelled by coffee. Much more than fabrics and details" The story behind the people at 7mesh is one of experience, diversity and passion. Tell us a bit about yourselves… and, what is the coffee that fuels those sessions? We know most bike riders loves a good brew!
Well, there is the usual truth about being passionate lifelong cyclists in all sorts of disciplines, but what is more unique are our backgrounds making top end technical apparel. We know a lot about apparel, we love apparel, and we work hard every day to learn more and refine our craft.
As far as coffee, we are much like anyone else that likes to do things at speed – of course we love great coffee, but in a pinch anything dark and strong will do! Our friends at Galileo Coffee created a 7mesh Espresso for us when we started out, so give it a try there, or drop by our office and we will make you one!
2. 7mesh is a new brand, but one built on many years of experience. What sparked the genesis of the brand, the company, and the ethos behind it?
Technical apparel has gone through a total revolution in the last 20 years, and we were always lamenting that cycling gear had not kept up. Ultimately, we started saying we should do it ourselves, and after dreaming enough, and believing enough, we quit our jobs and got started.
3. The 7 in '7mesh' refers to your '7 Guiding Principles' - the gospel rules that your brand is formed around: testing, developing, innovating, designing, simplifying, supporting, and enjoying the ride. How much testing and development does a 7mesh product undergo before it reaches the hands of a customer?
'7' means a lot to us! In our logo it represents Mt Garibaldi, the symbol of adventure and beauty that overlooks Squamish. We also launched the brand in 2015 with 7 people on board, and we wrote our 7 principles.
Regarding testing, the simple answer is A LOT! Our debut collection reflected 100 years of technical apparel experience, and required 18 months of R&D, countless prototypes, dozens of test athletes, and hundreds of rides. We design, we prototype, we ride, and repeat. We are also blessed with an incredible pool of local riders, pro and amateur, so their feedback is easily accessible and quickly incorporated into each iteration. Cranking out a new prototype in days rather than weeks makes a huge difference in driving innovation.
4. Location. It is the starting point: the inspiration, and the foundation. What is unique about Squamish, the birthplace of 7mesh? What are your favourites rides? On-road, off-road, gravel road?
Squamish is a really unique place, and perfect for product testing. We live in a coastal temperate rainforest, but we are surrounded by mountains and glaciers. So, we have cold winters, very wet shoulder seasons, but also very warm summers. Add in the nearby BC interior, which is a rolling high desert environment (complete with rattlesnakes!), and it means we can test in very hot conditions as well. Combine this with the huge melting pot of athletes and riding terrain that Squamish and BC offer, and we have a lifetime worth of adventures and riding feedback all around us.
5. The cycle clothing market is brimming with brands; all claiming to give you those marginal gains or great looks. What does 7mesh mean for the rider though? What sets your fabrics, fit and features apart from everyone else out there? What are your product highlights?
Our experience with climbing and skiing as well as riding gives us a unique perspective on high performance athletics. Staying safe and comfortable means moving fast and light, staying dry, and if you do get wet, drying very quickly. So every product we make incorporates a focus on moisture management, whether it’s from rain or from sweat, to help you stay drier, lighter, more breathable, and more comfortable. We also go through extensive patterning effort to build apparel that fits perfectly in the riding position.
For materials we scour the globe, work directly with many vendors and mills, and develop and use the most advanced construction methods. Then we focus our design on removing rather than adding - stripping out excess, rather than building in bells & whistles. As a result, every 7mesh product is light, clean, durable, and functional. Our mantra is simplicity without compromise.
7mesh apparel is a pioneering brand, built upon the ethos of 'Ride. Test. Develop. Deliver'.
Wiggle are excited and thrilled to be stocking the brand.