Presumably if you’re a fashion designer you can’t help but create clothes that other people want to wear. Lay your hand to anything and it will probably end up desirable almost by accident.
It shouldn’t really have come as much of a surprise then to Danish designer Karl-Oskar Olsen, standing atop Alpe d’Huez with his friend Peter Madsen in custom clothing they had designed and had made for their attempt at La Marmotte, when fellow riders started inquiring about it.
“A British couple came up to us and asked us where we could buy the kit. We said, ‘oh I’m sorry but you can’t buy it, we just made it for us’,” Olsen says.
“We rolled down the mountain and we started to think, ‘maybe we should do something about it.’ To start with we just wanted to make our own look but in the end it wasn’t a hard decision to start selling the kit.”
Pas Normal Studios was born.
The starting point was a frustration with the offerings of other cycle clothing brands that didn’t represent what Olsen, whose label Wood Wood has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the business, was looking for.
The end point is the holy grail of cycle clothing; high performance materials and a ‘race-fit’ cut combined with a restrained aesthetic of clean lines and subtle colours. Or, in Olsen’s words, his own look.
“I don’t think that people look good in fluoro yellow, I think that people look good in navy blue or a dark grey,” Olsen says. “There is a lot of statement in being subtle and a bit more understated than crazy.”
The clothing is manufactured in Italy before being tested and refined by a fiercely fast collection of friends and employees, who ride around their home city of Copenhagen and Lucca, where one of their number – Orica-BikeExchange media officer Brian Nygaard – lives.
The name ‘Studios’ indicates Olsen’s wish for it to be a creative platform rather than simply a line of clothing. The name ‘Pas Normal’ – a highly loaded phrase in cycling parlance – is a somewhat alternative spirit shining through.
“It is also taking the piss a little bit, putting in a bit of humour. But it’s about saying that we want to be on our own platform,” Olsen explains.
Embarking on its second season of clothing, Pas Normal Studios is on the cusp of unveiling its spring and summer collection for 2017.
“I try to bring some of the elements of my fashion design, which reflects the trends and colours of today,” Olsen adds. “So the subtlety and graphics that I like, I’m trying to bring that into cycling.
“It’s a reflection of the time we live in. And it should make people look good.”