Here's the english version of Vogue Italia's interview with Milly De Mori, the founder of No Gods No Masters cycling brand.
Milly de Mori tells us the story of the brand she founded, No Gods No Masters, thinking at the needs of women cyclists.
She is a two-wheeler enthusiast herself: "It's a start-up in the sense that I’ve created a brand trying to fill in a gap in the market, which is women’s specific premium products for cycling. I’ve been a passionate cyclist for over 12 years now, I train on my bike regularly all year round.
When I started, the offer for women’s specific cycling clothing was really tight and entry level, those few garments out on the market were aesthetically challenging for the patterns, the colors, wearability, or lacking either technical features or suitable for the real needs of a woman. Splashing pink all over isn’t enough to market women” says No Gods No Masters’ founder.
When I started, the offer for women’s specific cycling clothing was really tight and entry level
“Instead, I was resorting to buy men’s XS or XXS (hardly available) kits from a couple of stylish brands, but I had to make a few compromises with fit and the chamois for example. As I was advancing and becoming more experienced as a cyclist, so I became more demanding to the point where I couldn’t find a garment that was just perfect, because something was always off”.
V: The process of giving life to a brand of her own was not short.
MDM: "It took me about 3 years before launching myself into this adventure and starting No Gods No Masters. It took time to design my ideal products, finding suppliers, searching for fabrics and work on the business side of things, as it’s usually required with starting any business from scratch. The difference between men and women in this sport is huge, both in terms of physiognomy (which impacts performance), and for attitude/mindset.
No Gods No Masters is a call for freedom and emancipation from all those fears and insecurities that as we women we often experience
I’ve first-hand experienced the whole emotional & physical process by going through the various phases from an absolute beginner to becoming a moderately expert cyclist. Through this journey, I’ve found myself more at ease when sharing these experiences with other women and be able to support each other through each stepping stone.
No Gods No Masters is a call for freedom and emancipation from all those fears and insecurities that as we women we often experience, from that subtle inner voice that sometimes whispers in our ears that we are not good enough or that something is too difficult and unattainable.
It’s not true. Each one of us is capable of doing amazing things and with a little patience and openness to challenging ourselves we can achieve anything we want.
No Gods No Masters stems from this conviction. I’d like to define it first as an inspirational / motivational brand and then as a cycling-wear brand.
More over the core is to create a transnational community of women to help each other, to learn from each other and having fun together, feeling free to live this amazing sport we love.”
I’d like to define it first as an inspirational / motivational brand and then as a cycling-wear brand
V: How is the NGNM community shaping up?
MDM: "Slowly, organically through different channels. I’ve created a Strava cycling club (considered as the Facebook-like social platform for amateur athletes) which today accounts for over 300 members from all over the world. Instagram helps a lot in communicating what lies behind NGNM and attracts many cyclists who align with our ethos. It is a slow and very personal process, in the sense that together with my team, we personally curate each relationship with our club members and followers. It’s really amazing to see the community grow and respond so positively to our message. Also thanks to our ambassadors (in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Italy) it’s been a year since we’ve started organizing women-only rides. These are opportunities where we’re all absolutely autonomous and self-sufficient, able to group ride or repairing a flat, and have fun together.
work with suppliers that represent excellence in their respective fields, form fabrics to accessories to manufacturing in order to offer stylish & technically sophisticated collections
V: The fabrics are super technical and the design tailored to the female body: can you tell us more about the "technical" side of the collection and the research for the materials?
MDM: “I’m my first customer, and a demanding one! This’s the starting point for all the technical and design choices in order to develop a product that responds to the highest quality & performative standards. I’ve wanted not only to develop collections around the 100% made in Italy principle, but also to work with suppliers that represent excellence in their respective fields, form fabrics to accessories to manufacturing in order to offer stylish & technically sophisticated collections.
Regarding the technical side of our garments, the bib shorts are cut long enough to cover the imperfections of the legs that for many of us it represents an issue, for example, we’ve substituted elastic borders with silicone grippers engrained to the fabric so that there’s no “sausage effect”, the chamois was tested & selected to accommodate even those women who have wider sit bones, thus guaranteeing excellent comfort even for rides up to 7 hours long, the shoulder straps are light, breathable and gently contour the breasts. Lastly we use an amazing fabric that dries quickly and offers the right ratio between elasticity and compression. When you wear the Performance Bib Shorts you forget you have them on, even after you’re done riding.
The Tri-Summer Cap is a mesh-made hat, highly breathable designed for those who ride in the summer, those who ride indoors and triathletes. While the visor shields eyes and nose from the sun, the cap is so breathable that your hair / head is dry even when worn under the helmet. A soft wipe-sweat tape mounted inside lets the forehead being always sweat-free and leaves no marks.
Each garment is designed taking into account the riding position with the torso bent forward. I like to define it as a “comfortable-racing fit”, which means that we’ve gotten rid of any excess material but without being squeezed in like sardines. To appreciate the cut and evaluate the right sizing it’s necessary to put yourself in a cycling position. So far the response has been very positive.”
Sky's the limit! No Gods No Masters can go in many directions, but realistically it has to grow organically
V: And regarding the future?
MDM: “Sky's the limit! No Gods No Masters can go in many directions, but realistically it has to grow organically. The collection is built around carry-over products, therefore garments that will be offered season after season in new colors and adding progressively adding styles to the collections. I’m currently working on organizing indoor bike rides, so that anyone with a new generation of turbo trainer ride and train comfortably from their apartment with other women cyclists from anywhere in the world. Ultimately, my goal is to empower & expand the NGNM women’s community to new markets and spear head more women-only rides & experiences. The beauty of cycling is precisely in the excitement behind discovery and exploration and I wish for No Gods No Masters to be the enabler for us women".
The original italian version can be read here on Vogue.it