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Clothes that change the cycle

Want to cycle in style? Antoniya Ivanova's label Chance of Rain keeps you looking good while you bike -- and you can help her fund it on Kickstarter.

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Photo by Monika Maslanek

Photo by Monika Maslanek

Through her new Kickstarter campaign, Antoniya Ivanova is asking Berliners to help fund her fashion line, Chance of Rain, and keep girls sitting pretty on their bikes.

Antoniya Ivanova got wet in Paris. When she lived in the French capital, the Bulgarian fashion designer loved cycling through the streets… until the weather put a damper on things. Now, through her line of bike apparel, Chance of Rain, she wants lady cyclists to stay dry and keep riding – in style.

Ivanova, 35, promises that no matter the forecast, her clothes will keep you covered (literally). Her women’s apparel is elegant enough to wear to a fancy dinner, but the garments are made from high-end, water-repellent fabrics that are also ideal for pedalling around the city. Ivanova is based in Berlin these days, where she’s launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $25,000 to fund production and manufacturing of two signature pieces in her collection, the Alex trench coat and the Laura cape. 

If all goes well, she’ll bring more of the biking clothes she’s designed to market: She’s got a cool, Berlin-inspired bomber jacket in the vault, as well as a metallic raincoat that college girls and drag queens alike will envy. It helps the label has nods of approval in the form of the 2016 German Design Award for Excellent Product Design and the Kultur and Kreativpiloten prize.

Admittedly, the Chance of Rain look is almost a little too polished in a city where wrinkled hoodies and ripped jeans usually work just fine. But Ivanova embraces her love of Parisian-inspired silhouettes and explained to us why she thinks the label will do well.

Tell us about yourself and the Chance of Rain label. 

I’ve been designing clothes since I was a little girl. Growing up in Bulgaria, I wanted to be a fashion designer for a long time. I moved to San Francisco and got a bachelor’s degree in fashion design, and then after many years, I decided to go to Paris. That’s actually where I got the idea for Chance of Rain. I started biking a lot there – I really discovered the city on a bike. In the fall, it started raining. I needed a raincoat, but I couldn’t find anything cool and stylish, and I’m a fashion designer so I couldn’t go around in a sports jacket made for the mountains. I couldn’t find anything in the shops, and then I said, “Okay, well, I’ll just have to make it myself.”

Do bikers really need such a fashion-forward option?

I wanted to create something where you don’t have to think about the weather. You put it on, and these are the clothes you actually wear every day… I also find it a little disappointing when you have these clothing brands, and you spend so much money on a nice coat or jacket, but then if it rains, it’s ruined. I took a really long time to research fabrics that were really functional as well.

What’s so special about the material you’re using?

I spent a lot of time researching textiles, and the ones I use are water-repellent and breathable. The Alex trench coat is made from soft, water-repellent Italian fabric. The Laura cape is also made from soft Italian fabric, and it’s also microsatin. When it rains, the water forms little pearls and they roll right off. Both have reflective details everywhere so you can bike at night, and both have hoods that you can add or remove. 

The style is simple but sophisticated – very Parisian. Do you see it fitting into Berlin?

It’s inspired in Paris, but I think it’s cool because everybody has a different way to wear it. A girl with sneakers and baggy pants tried it on in Berlin, and she looked so cool and edgy. But you could also put the belt on and thrown on high heels, and it transforms into an elegant look for going out. It’s quite versatile, I think.

Best reaction so far?

There was one girl in Paris who said, “I’ve never waited longer for clothes – I have waited four years for your line to come out!” There are so many cyclists all over who bike to university or to school, and they don’t have the right clothes, actually. 

The worst reaction?

People who don’t understand the concept are the people that don’t cycle, because they can’t appreciate all the details of the clothes that make cycling effortless. Still, I’ve been lucky that some even people who don’t cycle sometimes buy the jackets because they like them aesthetically, and all the cycling details are quite hidden, so it’s not like you are going around town in a rubber jacket.

On Kickstarter, donating €220 gets you the Alex trench coat at a discount, and the minimum €2 gets a thank-you. What about a smaller donation? What will you give people if they support the brand by handing you a couple of cents?

I have an idea then: They will get to see a “behind-the-scenes” video of me getting a bucket of water poured on me… This is what I have to go through in the name of making my dreams come true.

Deadline to support Chance of Rain is June 11. Help support the project here.