Long before Iris Slappendel retired from professional cycling, it was clear where she was headed next. Throughout her twelve year career, which saw her ride for the Cervelo Test Team, Rabobank and win the Dutch National Championships, she was never too far away from her sketchpad.
Prior to hanging up her wheels, Iris worked on designs for clothing brands Milltag and Strongher and helped Bioracer with the Dutch team kit for the 2016 Olympics. Most recently, she’s collaborated with Kask on a helmet and jersey that bare her etchings.
The transition between professional cycling to civilian life isn’t always this easy, but Iris enthuses about her new 80 hour a week work schedule. Similarly to when she was racing, it’s now her brand that’s her driving force. Do what you love and you never work a day in your life, right?
Iris doesn’t categorise designs for gender, they’re available in both men’s and women’s versions. Same design, different fit. For spring, Iris has launched a new range including the Ditch jersey (pictured). Each jersey tells a story. In this case, falling into a ditch. Whether figuratively or literally, it’s unclear. Either way, the Ditch jersey embodies her unique style.
The whole Iris collection is very personal to its creator. Follow the Instagram account and you’ll see just how so. Iris posts stories of her creating samples in the studio and packing up orders and then delivering them to the post office to be shipped off around the globe. It’s all her own work. There aren’t any teammates anymore.
Each jersey combines aesthetics with technical features. The jerseys are longer – Iris’s bugbear was having her jersey ride up over her belly button on ill-fitting team kit – as is the sleeve length. Each jersey has a low profile collar and a patchwork of different fabrics to enhance breathability and aerodynamics. You can take the girl out the of the race, but you can’t take the racer out of the girl after all.