A rebel and rebel brand founded by a dirtbike and a ski bum, Ripton & Co., could be the first company to position cut denim shorts as technical equipment for mountain biking. Call it hokey, but Ripton hit a nerve with the millennial crowd. The company sold its first order last winter. As Action Jorts 2.0 sales are growing at the same rapid rate, expect to see them soon on a track near you.
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I never wore jeans when I lived in Vermont, they were too heavy and too hot, said Ripton founder Elliot Wilkinson-Ray, who named his business after a city in the state of Green Mountain. I moved to California and everyone was wearing denim. It was the alternative mood of the fancy hip.
Wilkinson-Ray has worked with the marketing team at Kitsbow, California, manufacturers of stretch cycling jeans and other commuter-style clothing. This is where his obsession with technical denim was born.
Riding jeans are classic and iconic, but also work great, said Wilkinson-Ray. He threw Kitsbow on Jorts, and they laughed at it. Wilkinson-Ray returned to daily routine, eventually leaving Kitsbows and California for marketing jobs in Utah and Colorado and a return to the mountains.
But the upheavals were still on his mind. Hed bounces the idea off to entrepreneurial friends and friends in the apparel industry after bike rides on beers. All of them encouraged him to make the shorts himself.
One of the biggest problems with commuter clothing, whether it’s from a trendy brand like Kitsbow or a historic brand like Levis, is that traveling is a dull experience, said Wilkinson-Ray. I didn’t want my shorts to evoke the fear of going to work on a Monday morning, but the atmosphere of spending time with friends riding bikes and having fun.
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Without significant business experience or entrepreneurial experience, but with strong instincts, Wilkinson-Ray finally took the plunge. He enrolled at London Fashion School in Central St. Martins to learn model creation and product design.
Other students were training to become the creative director of Gucci, he laughed. No one else was building a business based on cut jeans. While his classmates designed dresses for celebrities on the red carpets, Wilkinson-Ray scoured thrift stores for old jeans and cut and sewn seams. When he found a promising fabric or thought he had nailed the cut, he hopped on his bike and hiked the trails to test them.
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Wilkinson-Ray, his brother Tyler and a few demanding friends donned prototype jorts and toured the world, crossing the United States, Colombia, the United Kingdom, Thailand and Mexico before Wilkinson-Ray be convinced you have found the right weight of fabric for summer bike denim, and the perfect cotton / elastane ratio so that the shorts are comfortable to wear and sufficiently stretchy without being sagged. He hired a Los Angeles denim maker to manufacture for him, and convinced 200 friends to pre-order, who paid for the production.
Jorts is not fanciful for Wilkinson-Ray. We have added technical performance to one of the most emblematic silhouettes of American clothing. Cut denim shorts that fade with adventures are emotionally evocative in a cool way. Were a balance between innovation, nostalgia and form. And I did it with stretchy summer weight denim made in the USA
I wore them, and every time I do, they smile at me and catch the eye of other shredders. And I don’t just wear them for biking. Gardening, camping, relaxing by the lake, barefoot spring skiing and other fun and lovemaking in hot weather are part of this job description. The bellows crotch did not restrict my driving or anything else. And they feel good to wear.
The fact that Wilkinson-Ray was able to sell thanks to its stock of jorts in winter was a good start launched in October and sold out in December. Action Jorts 2.0 is available for pre-order now. Its longer, therefore compatible with knee pads, and available in two washes. Ripton also sells 100 pairs of Limited Edition Action Jorts with an engineer striped back pocket.
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