One chilly morning in February 1873, a cabal of riders made their way to Florence to take up their places in the city’s first cycle race - a 45km dash to neighbouring Pistoia. The group, a motley crew of Italians and foreigners alike, had only weeks before christened themselves the ‘Veloce Club’ (Speed club) the irony of which will not be lost on anyone who has ever ridden a bike constructed before 1950. Nevertheless, this enthusiastic peloton of sorts raced their race. An American, Rynner Van Hest, eventually crossed the line first and duly collected a medal and a revolver for his efforts.
The race marked the beginning of the city’s passion for cycling, and not long after, Florentine cycling enthusiasts were able to cheer the construction of the Cascine velodrome. So we were very proud to be able to take our new Brompton Blazer to the Renaissance city earlier this year and have award-winning photographer Garcon Jon shot it for us on the backs of some menswear alumni, namely Robb Report UK editor Paul Croughton, model Richard Biedul, photographers Robert Spangle and Kuba Dabrowski, and style blogger and photographer Chris Burt Allan.
What we love about the blazer is the way that it looks perfectly stylish on each of the guys, despite them all having a quite different aesthetic. From Richard’s 50s-inspired sartorial style, Kuba’s streetwear-informed approach and Paul’s classic tailored look to Robert’s rugged workwear preference and Chris’s contemporary style, the blazer fits in seamlessly. That, in essence, is one half of its raison d’etre, the other half being a functional garment to ride in. It was Oli’s intention to create a blazer that the everyday rider wouldn’t have to think every morning ‘Does this go with what I’m wearing?’
“I wanted to create something that became an automatic choice for a cyclist in the morning," says Oli. "You can screw it up and throw it in its bag but know that when you pull it out later in the day, it’s crease-free and good to go. Being seen on the roads is important but there are also a lot of cyclists out there who want to still look good whilst doing that. I believe this jacket helps to solve that wardrobe issue.”
From a performance aspect, the water-resistant blazer ticks every box: a reflective button loop on the lapel allows you to close the jacket for added warmth whilst riding; a diagonal zip-up breast pocket allows for easy access to keys or your phone; concealed-seam side pockets for easy access and extra pocket space; reflective strips on the underside of the collar and cuffs, with vents and an ‘action back’ system to accommodate for the hunched riding position.
The navy blazer is all things to all men - this one just happens to perform brilliantly on a bike.