With the winter months bringing rain and snow no doubt, we have to consider the humble cyclists trying to get to A-B as dry as possible. We chatted to Johnny Ratcliffe founder of The Peoples Poncho on his inspirations, aspirations and thoughts on fashion for cyclists.
How did your idea come about?
I was inspired by my time living in Shanghai, China where I came up with the initial idea of the people’s poncho. Due to unpredictable weather, under the protection of a simple lightweight poncho locals are able to hop from place to place regardless of the pouring rain.
At this time, My sister Iona was living in Amsterdam and she said ‘in this cycling mecca they don’t really have any decent premium poncho’s you’d actually be happy to have in possession’, and then I said lets make an affordable, 100% waterproof high quality poncho!’ and that was the start of The Peoples Poncho.
What or who inspires you?
Patagonia – this brand is the perfect example of a brand built on its ethics and what it stands for. Simple, high quality, aesthetically pleasing and practical clothing. It has set the bar for cool and quality performance wear that is now becoming staple wear in our wardrobes. It has also hit the nail on the head in recent 2/3 years especially in terms of the ‘athleisure’ and ‘performance wear’ trend that has happened in active lifestyles and healthier living.
Who are your favourite brands/designers?
Axel Arigato – shoe brand that has hit the nail on the head with quality shoes at a very good price point. 1/2 the price of Common Projects however just as good and more diverse in its range.
Would you consider yours a family business?
Originally yes, between me and my sister Iona, however for the moment no. She is busy with a different career, and regardless we both have strong personalities that clash in a jokey way. Our father has always has a strong entrepreneurial drive towards us and has always emphasized doing something that challenges every aspect of your day.
What advise would you give to the fashion conscious cyclists in the rain?
Cycling is a lifestyle NOT a sport. Lycraclad cycling is really my nemesis, 3/4 of the time people dressed in lyrca clad gear is a complete farce. 1/2 the cyclists in London feel you have to be dressed in lycra in order to bike well/fast/ look the part, when actually this is NOT true. If you look at the dominant bike cities (Copenhagen, Amsterdam) etc no one is dressed in like that, they simply wear their normal clothes, perhaps a change of shoes and socks but thats it.
My advice – is to cycle a little slower and wear your normal clothes, cycling is not a sprint but a leisurely way to get from A-B.
Will you be expanding your range? If so what?
Kids poncho’s are 100% something we’d like to do. I can just imagine a mother taking her kids to school all dressed in matching coloured family ponchos. However, for the moment focusing on spreading the word and practicality of the adults people’s poncho.
Where can we buy the Peoples Poncho from?
Online at The Peoples Poncho
A couple of shops in London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Mexico City and France.
What trends do you see in fashion that are relevant?
‘Fit’ as a lifestyle status has driven an increase in the wear of practical and functional apparel
As more consumers are trying to lead active lifestyles with an increasing focus on healthy living, the demand for performance and outdoor wear is increasing rapidly.
What was the last thing you saw that made you stop and stare?
A recent trip to Shanghai – I saw a man carrying his gold fish that were attached in glass tanks to his bike cart. He was cycling over a busy intersection whilst all the fish were splashing everywhere on his trailer. He was hoping to sell his goldfish at the nearby primary school. Only in China!!