Go from wheels to work in an instant.
Versi—Versatile Garment for Bike Commuters
Fashion / Branding / Packaging
Josh Corn & Oscar Pipson
With special thanks to Karen Vellensky
MFA Products of Design, School of Visual Arts
Guidance from Johan Liden & Rinat Aruh & Aruliden
With over 2,655 bike share stations in 65 cities and 90,000 active commuters across the United States, bike commuting is an undeniable trend—but the market caters almost exclusively to men. Versi is launching its brand with the answer to female cyclists prayers: a one-of-a-kind garment that transforms from biking romper to elegant dress in an instant—for the modern woman who needs her clothes to support her flexible, creative, and spontaneous lifestyle. The dress state is elegant, refined, and never wrinkled, perfect for work or an evening event, while the romper state reveals a reflective pattern for safety and features lightweight, durable shorts that can stand up to the wear of the bicycle seat.
“I change from my biking clothes when I get to work. But if I have to go to an event after work, I don’t bike. It’s so inconvenient to pack two extra outfits.”
Passionate about the personal and environmental benefits of biking, Versi was conceived as a brand dedicated to getting more people on bikes. My classmates Josh Corn, Oscar Pipson, and I—all active commuters ourselves—were surprised by the dearth of products that addressed the particular needs of women cyclists, particularly since there was a clear need that was not being addressed by the typical spandex or stretch-enhanced denim. I see tons of men in suits on Citibikes, but I hardly ever see women in conservative business attire. Women’s fashion is still more tied to context, which makes it hard to find an outfit that will meet all the criteria and still be good for biking. We saw a real need for a piece that would transform effortlessly, cutting out all the planning ahead, lugging around outfits, and limiting activities.
Once we identified their goal—creating a versatile, all-in-one bike commuter garment for professional women—we created a set of design principles and began prototyping and learning new skills to meet their own demands:
Fashion comes first—Any garment made would have to meet this bar to be successful; wearing Versi should not limit your ability to be stylish. We took inspiration from clean, modern labels such as Outdoor Voices and Cos. This consideration dictated that the final design of the “dress state” of the garment be relatively understated, traditional, and work-appropriate. It also dictated that the “romper state” be attractive and approachable enough to wear even off the bike.
Designed for transformation—It was important that the Versi garment work for anyone, not just those who have spaces to change at work. We experimented with several mechanisms before settling on the panel approach.
Inherently multi-dimensional—Versi pieces should be layered: their multi-functionality should be highlighted and exploited to create more depth and interest.
Performs for you and with you—Going a step beyond traditional “performance gear,” Versi garments should not only suit but enhance your lifestyle. This meant that the materials had to perform well, and the transition had to be effortless and performative.
Constructed for comfort & safety—Naturally, these were essential qualities. An insistence on comfort informed both material choice and bodice construction, and a concern for safety led us to take a screenprinting workshop, design a custom pattern, and add retro-reflective detailing to the undersides of the panels.