While we love exploring new locales and finding trails that push us out of our comfort zone, it’s undeniable that Wild Rye is a brand born and raised in the west. From the high peaks of the Sierras to the remote beauty of the Sawtooths, there will always be something special about the mountain ranges we call home, which is why we wanted to use our fifth season of mountain bike apparel to celebrate the landscape we love. Every year, the Wild Rye team comes together to plan the next season of apparel, and in honor of our fifth season we sat down and talked to our CEO, Cassie Abel and our long-time designer Kelsey Van Patten about what made this year different.
Talk to me about what it’s like to be planning the 5th season of technical and beautiful mountain bike apparel, does anything stand out to you?
Cassie: “This is our most cohesive season yet. It’s robust and well rounded. We were committed to making sure every piece of apparel works together and plays together. We even built a pair of bike gloves from the ground up!
Kelsey: “I’m totally biased because I worked on a lot of the prints this season, but I am so excited about all of it. I agree with Cassie that this is our most cohesive season yet because we sat down as a team two winters ago and honed in on a story we wanted to tell.”
How do you think Wild Rye has changed over the last five years?
Kelsey: “Since I’ve been with the brand basically from its inception, it has been SO fun watching it grow up! While we’ll always be rooted in snow and mountain bike Wild Rye is well on its way to becoming a fully fledged outdoor brand!”
Cassie: “I think we’ve learned so much over five years about how to build community and make a great product. And we’re finally at a point financially where we were able host a photoshoot and invite a diverse group of women-identifying riders to Fruita for the weekend. For us, this is a huge change! Our growth has allowed us to move outside of friends and neighbors in Ketchum, Idaho and reach a more diverse group of riders!”
So do you think of this season as a natural evolution?
Cassie: “We’ve stayed true to who we are from the beginning. We want to help make the outdoors a welcoming and safe place for everyone identifying as a woman to recreate. We’re proud of the fact that our language has evolved and our product line has evolved to offer more access points for beginners. From a product standpoint, we’re still bootstrapped and we’ve certainly grown up, but we’re still following the mission we started with when we dreamed up the brand in 2015.”
Kelsey: “From a design perspective, we’ve definitely learned who we are over the last five years. That’s allowed us to become truly focused and play to our strengths.
Where do you see the brand going from here?
Kelsey: Personally, it’s been a goal for the team to get us to a more sustainable place from a materials perspective. This is something that’s important to all of us, and our growth has allowed us to continue to make improvements. Now we’re able to offer a variety of more conscious material choices from garment to packaging, and I’m excited that we’re going to migrate some of our well-known and loved items into this category as we continue our growth. As we've learned more about the wants and needs of our customers over the years, we’ve been able to judge our inventory assortment better and lessen the environmental burden of over-production.”
Cassie: “It’s incredible to have come this far and be thriving. In the coming years, we’re going to continue to show our commitment to being a product-first brand. We’re adding more transitional offerings and expanding beyond our core sports, which is exciting and new. But fundamentally, I want Wild Rye to be the female identifying brand for outdoor recreation.”
In honor of our 5th season of beautiful AND technical MTB collection, we're excited to give you a glimpse behind the design process....
The Color Story: We go through hundreds of variations of colors we believe play together and land on 8-10 colors per season,+ our version of black, "Black Bean". Everything in our new spring line ties back to these 8-10 colors to ensure cohesion and beautiful complete outfits.
Hand sketches: Our designer and illustrators hand-sketch everything in our line. We select specific elements we like and the hand sketches become digitalized and work their way into a print.