With over 2,655 bike share stations in 65 cities and 90,000 active commuters across the United States, bike commuting is an undeniable trend—but the market caters almost exclusively to men. Versi is a fashionable, durable, and versatile piece that can go "from wheels to work" in an instant.
Versi is a beautiful piece of clothing that transforms from biking romper to elegant dress—"from wheels to work"—in an instant.
Passionate about the personal and environmental benefits of biking, Versi was conceived as a brand dedicated to getting more people on bikes. Second-year designers Josh Corn, Oscar Pipson, and Julia Lindpaintner—all active commuters themselves—were surprised by the dearth of products that addressed the particular needs of women cyclists, particularly since there was a clear need that was not being addressed by the typical spandex or stretch-enhanced denim. “I see tons of men in suits on Citibikes, but I hardly ever see women in conservative business attire. Women’s fashion is still more tied to context, which makes it hard to find an outfit that will meet all the criteria and still be good for biking,” explains Lindpaintner. “We saw a real need for a piece that would transform effortlessly, cutting out all the planning ahead, lugging around outfits, and limiting activities.”
Versi is proud to present a one-of-a-kind garment that transforms from biking romper to elegant dress in an instant—for the modern woman who needs her clothes to support her flexible, creative, and spontaneous lifestyle. The dress state is elegant, refined, and never wrinkled—perfect for work or an evening event—while the romper state reveals a reflective pattern for safety and features lightweight, durable shorts that can stand up to the wear of the bicycle seat.
Once they had identified their goal—creating a versatile, all-in-one bike commuter garment for professional women—the designers created a set of design principles and began prototyping and learning new skills to meet their own demands:
Fashion comes first
Any garment made would have to meet this bar to be successful; wearing Versi should not limit your ability to be stylish. The designers took inspiration from clean, modern labels such as Outdoor Voices and Cos. This consideration dictated that the final design of the “dress state” of the garment be relatively understated, traditional, and work-appropriate. It also dictated that the “romper state” be attractive and approachable enough to wear even off the bike.
Designed for transformation
It was important that the Versi garment work for anyone—not just those who have spaces to change at work. The designers experimented with several mechanisms before settling on the panel approach.
Versi pieces should be layered: their multi-functionality should be highlighted and exploited to create more depth and interest.
Performs for you and with you
Going a step beyond traditional “performance gear,” Versi garments should not only suit but enhance your lifestyle. This meant that the materials had to perform well, and the transition had to be effortless and performative.
Constructed for comfort & safety
Naturally, these were essential qualities. An insistence on comfort informed both material choice and bodice construction, and a concern for safety led the designers to take a screenprinting workshop, design a custom pattern, and add retro-reflective detailing to the undersides of the panels.
“I see tons of men in suits on Citibikes, but I hardly ever see women in conservative business attire. Women’s fashion is still more tied to context, which makes it hard to find an outfit that will meet all the criteria and still be good for biking.”
Looking back on the project, the designers' biggest challenge (and biggest success!) was their lack of a fashion background. "We were very proud of designing and constructing a well-made, functional, and beautiful final garment. We learned how to drape fabric, follow sewing patterns, make the patterns from existing pieces, and select textiles appropriate to their use."
Postscript from the design team: "This piece would not have been possible without the advice and assistance of fellow classmate Karen Vellensky—a master seamstress and costume technician who consulted on the design, construction, and material selection. The project was in part inspired by Alisha Wessler, whose complaints about her own bike commuting experience served as key guideposts for the development of the product. Our wonderful model is Ailun Sai."