Dakine’s MTB Marketing Director Gabe Schroder said they don’t have a set formula on which athletes they pick to work with on collections, but when they were launching a new women’s bike line, it was a no-brainer to work with Casey Brown on her own signature line.
“I am excited to celebrate one of the gnarliest riders of our time. We can all learn from Casey’s bravery and approach to life, and this collection symbolizes our commitment to Casey, and women’s riding in general,” said Schroder. “Aside from Casey being our top female rider and our desire to promote our updated women’s line, Casey also fits in perfectly with our theme of Progression for 2020. What she is doing on her bike, and where she has come from to get there, is very inspiring and the definition of progression.”
Graham Agassiz has had a signature line with the brand for several years and they've done signature lines with some of their female snowboarders and surfers, but this is the first time that Dakine has created a mass-produced signature line that celebrates one of their female riders. I reached out to Casey Brown to find out more about what her input into the design was, what having her own signature line means to her, and how apparel can help your riding.
How did the discussion start? Did you approach Dakine or did Dakine approach you?
They came to me at Rampage and they wanted to renew my contract and do a custom kit that was my signature line. I’d always seen Aggy’s line and other people that have their custom stuff and it’s all for sale and you see people wearing it in the bike parks. So that was a pretty cool opportunity and I went for it.
Did they basically give you a blank slate to create anything you wanted to?
We went back and forth a lot. I’m pretty particular about what I like to wear when I ride. I thought it was a cool opportunity to give that side of me, the artistic side, a go and a chance to figure out what a good kit for girls could look like in my eyes. I threw around a few ideas and I ended up with one that I’m psyched on.
You're a pretty artistic person, is that right?
I mean I like to draw sometimes. I’m not great or anything. I enjoy it though. It’s kind of a meditative thing for me.
What was the inspiration behind the final design of the kit?
I had a few ideas. I wanted to have it look semi-casual and have a little bit of an old school feel - old school moto vibes. That’s where the design came from, the colours and having it mostly black and not too busy. I think I did an okay job on making my ideas come to fruition.
It’s very different from a lot of women’s kit we see out there. Do you struggle to find women’s mountain bike gear that appeals to you?
For sure. I would mostly just wear a men’s small T-shirt when riding because I’m pretty particular. I don’t want to wear something I’m not stoked on. I feel like it affects my riding. You have to feel good to ride good.
A lot of the riding you do has pretty high consequences. Do you put different care into your kit depending on what line you’re attempting?
For sure, it’s all the little one percents. Like if you’re on a bike that you’re not super stoked on, it’s all those little things that will get you in the end. If you want to do the most and progress as much as you can, then I think it’s all about the little things. Even just having your gloves fit nice and feel good on the handlebar. I think all those little things are so important.
What are some of those elements that people might not notice when they see a photo of the collection online. Things that you worked with Dakine on that aren’t visible to the naked eye?
I’ve never liked gloves that have padding in them because I feel like it creates a barrier between you and your bike. I want to make sure I’m feeling everything that’s going through the bike from the tires. The more you can feel through your bike, I think the better you can ride and react to the terrain. It’s a super close-fitting glove with very thin leather on the palm that feels really good on the handlebar. When you put it on, it’s tight but it feels ready for performance.
The jersey isn’t super tight, it’s got more of a loose casual feel to it. It's nice to have the breeze go through your jersey a little bit. I’ve worn tight jerseys before and then you sweat and it sticks to you. It’s those little things that can get in the way of performance sometimes. I think having a super comfortable kit that performs well is super important. Another thing is that the jersey is made out of recycled bottles so I think that’s a pretty cool side of it as well. It’s better to use the resources that we’ve already got out of the Earth, rather than bring new resources out of the Earth to consumers.
How long did the process to design the kit take?
It took about a year. We started on it 14 months ago. We knew it was a 2020 thing so we had the time and wanted to make it not a rush job obviously. Good things take time. We went back and forth... I don’t even know how many times. It would always be those little emails like ‘could you put the stripes on the back too?’ All those pretty logos on there are pretty cool too like my dog Snuff is on there too. It’s cool and tough-looking but it’s still super cute.
What does it mean to you to have a collection designed and named after you?
It’s pretty surreal. I never even thought I would make it as a pro mountain biker. I thought it was a pipe dream. To have my own line is a dream come true and I hope that I’m making all those young girls out there that are getting into mountain biking stoked on it, and I hope they enjoy the kits.
Who are you hoping will purchase this jersey and wear it?
Well, I’m hoping every girl will want to purchase it and wear it but I’m also hoping to make the guys super jealous because they don’t have one because that’s what I’ve been dealing with my whole life. Like damn, that doesn’t come in a girl's size? The idea is to make a jersey that stokes the girls out and the guys as well.
What do you think your reaction will be when you first see someone wearing the kit?
I’ll probably hand out some high fives if we’re allowed by then.
I imagine your plans for the summer have changed as have most people's. What are you focusing on in the next couple of months?
I think it’s a cool opportunity. At least we’re in a sport where we don’t have to be in big groups and we can come up with creative ideas to still ride and entertain. So we’re working on hopefully a road trip around BC if we’re allowed to this summer. I want to ride the zones that don’t get hit often because they’re just a little bit too far and people don’t want to put the effort in to get to them.
Try and do a little road trip like that, a lot of camping, and enjoy BC while I can. Because we don’t often get to be in our home country that has the best riding in the summer months because we’re always travelling during the summer months. So it’s actually quite nice to potentially have a summer in Canada.
Are there any riders that you would want to ride with or do some filming with?
There are so many people that I see at contests and at Crankworx and stuff. We see each other all the time but we never get to do the casual fun rides with. So hopefully we get more time to do that kind of stuff. Like our buddies in Squamish - ALN and Miranda and stuff. Those people that you see all the time but you barely ever get to ride with causally. So hopefully we get to do more of that kind of stuff this summer.
You can see the Casey Brown Thrillium jersey here
and the Casey Brown Thrillium gloves here
. Watch Casey's latest video "Forward" here