Unless you’re planning a Christmas party in a golf club or dressing some elves in a shopping centre in Scotland, bright green, deep red and an argyle pattern are not design elements you necessarily want to have to work with.
Combining the three elements into a new kit for the Cannondale-Drapac WorldTour team while maintaining a clear sense of identity and a soupçon of style in the peloton is certainly no mean feat.
“It has been, how should I say, a balancing act,” says Monica Lindström, product manager at POC somewhat tactfully.
“We had to be creative. It was a challenge, but it was a nice challenge.”
Argyle has been the common thread tying together every iteration of Jonathan Vaughters’ Slipstream team since 2007: from the garish orange and blue of the team’s first identity as Garmin-Transitions to the subtle blue argyle of Garmin-Cervelo, the green stitching of the first year as Cannondale and the bright green and red of Cannondale-Drapac in 2016.
Yet pulling together the required elements of this cycling kit was a lot easier said than done.
The colour green was a stipulation from bike brand Cannondale and red came from property fund managers Drapac. Both brands have desired logo types which they wanted on the kit, while POC themselves wanted to invoke the Swedish company’s distinctive look.
Oh, and did we say Lindström, below- who worked in fashion before joining POC – had less than a month to do it all?
“Right now we’re working on the POC collection that will launch in Spring 2018, but with a team you have a couple of weeks!” she says.
Of course it helped that POC produce the kit for the Swedish national team and so had established relationships with fabric producers in Italy. It also helped that they had a working relationship with the team from several years of supplying helmets and glasses.
The key to success was to embrace contrast, not fight it. The result is a departure from the brand’s modus operandi but a design which was undeniably POC.
“We were obliged with the colours to also do a kind of contrast,” Lindström says. “We have a specific curve on the back of the jersey and on the bottom of the side panel.
“We have been really determined to keep that curve. When you see the kit I really believe that you will recognise the new Cannondale-Drapac pro team compared to what we’re regularly doing.”