Seattle-based designer Ann DeOtte has been biking for years. As she became more comfortable going around the city on her bike, she realized that she didn’t have to limit her riding apparel to spandex. And while she believes that bike enthusiasts like her don’t need to buy plenty of gear to ride, the pieces that women invest in should be functional and fashionable, i.e., items that can be worn both on and off the bike. Hence, in early 2010, she founded fashion startup Iva Jean to inspire more women to “get on a bike and ride with the style, personality, and confidence they bring to every other aspect of their lives.”
In 2011, DeOtte unveiled her first product, the Rain Cape. Over the past year, she and her team of local designers, seamstresses, and manufacturers have been working to expand the Iva Jean line. Now ready to launch, the spring 2013 collection consists of an improved Rain Cape and new pieces. The Reveal Skirt is a tailored, straight skirt made of Schoeller-Dryskin fabric that unzips in the back to expand the garment for easy pedaling. The skirt also features a higher waist for coverage while riding and a hidden pocket for small items. The 100 percent organic cotton Daily Blouse provides a tailored fit, extra room, and additional coverage all at the same time, while the Two-Way Reflective Vest offers high visibility and style.
DeOtte launched the Rain Cape with her own money and through a line of credit from another avid biker. For Iva Jean’s spring 2013 collection, she turned to Kickstarter and successfully raised $26,500, exceeding her original goal of $15,000. As part of her mission to encourage women to incorporate biking into their daily lives, DeOtte plans to create “the perfect city pant” next. “I want women to see my products and feel inspired,” she says.