THE image of a hardcore biker is often intimidating—that of a heavy-set man in black leather. But when Royal Enfield (RE) partnered with Swedish design label, Happy Socks, to release a capsule collection of leisure motorcycling apparel and accessories—all in bright colours and cheer-inducing motifs—they intended to disrupt this image. “Motorcycle riding gear is mostly in drab shades of black and brown. So when we collaborated with Happy Socks, we wanted to move away from the predominant biking cult and offer riding gear with a sense of heartiness in them,” begins Samrat Som, head of apparel and accessories business at Royal Enfield
The limited-edition collection—which reflects the cafe racer culture and the spirit of street racing from the 60s—includes riding jackets, helmets, sweatshirts, socks and boxers in bright shades of red, blue and yellow with the Royal Enfield insignia. The high-grade leather jacket with cotton lining is adorned with motifs of smileys and multiple riding patches including the larger ‘all ride no work’ (Rs 12,000), while the bright red open face helmet with a chequered flag design is lightweight and has a knit mesh with polyester internals, which is designed for long distance rides (Rs 2,900). The aforementioned pattern also appears on sweat shirts (Rs 2,500). Four customised Continental GTs are also part of the collection, which will be displayed in dealerships in London, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Mumbai.
“RE’s attempts at capsule collections started with the despatch rider, which was a limited-edition motorcycle and riding apparel inspired by the messenger riders of the British Army in World War I and II. The overwhelming success of the despatch rider paved way for the Happy Socks initiative,” adds Som, who also expresses the challenges of the designing riding jackets for India’s tropical climate. “Riding jackets in full leather were originally made for the colder climates of the West, so there is a certain mental block among India riders, who shun them citing heat. But we were able to work around this by introducing complete mesh jackets, which are padded only on the impact points,” he says, adding that urban lifestyle-motorcycling fusion wear is the next in line.