VCC IS A NEW WOMENSWEAR LABEL CREATED BY TWO LONDON BASED DESIGNERS & MOTORCYCLE ENTHUSIASTS GEMMA HARRISON & NAMIN CHO TWO FOUNDING MEMBERS OF THE ALL-FEMALE BIKE COLLECTIVE VCC LONDON - INSPIRED BY THEIR LOVE OF THE ROAD & THE CITY THEY LIVE IN. REDMILK EDITOR FABIOLA DI VIRGILIO SPEAKS WITH LONG TIME FRIEND GEMMA ABOUT THE BRAND.
Hello Gemma! Can you describe the passion behind this project and where the name comes from?
The name VCC is an extension of VC London (the motorcycle collective that we are co-founders of) which got its name from a close friend of ours who called the three of us a bunch of vicious cunts…. How can you ditch a name as good as that?? It just kind of stuck. The extra “C” can mean whatever you want it to mean.
How did you decide to turn your fashion skills into designing a collection that fuses London streetwear style with motorcycle gear?
It was sort of natural progression from us from riding & the road trips that we were going on together. We first met whilst designing for Pringle of Scotland together in London (Namin designed the menswear & Gemma designing womenswear). I’d already been riding a few years and Namin had just started so we started to hang out together in our spare time riding & messing around with our motorcycles. When we started look for hard wearing womenswear to wear for riding but also something that wouldn’t look like standard safety gear when we were off the bike there was nothing really available that we would actually want to wear. Thats when the idea for VCC really started developing. At the same time we were starting to meet alot of other women from all over the world through our involvement in VC London that were not only into motorcycles but skating, riding bikes & doing some pretty exciting shit & we realised it was an attitude & personality that we shared that was bringing us all together. Its these women & that attitude that have really gone on to inspire the brand & our aesthetic from the beginning. The fact that seem to be more & more women are getting into this stuff now is pretty incredible.
Its amazing for us that styles that we originally designed for riding our motorcycles (like our wool bomber jackets made with a hidden abrasion proof Kevlar® inner layer) have started to be picked up by alot of women who cycle, skate & live their lives doing outdoor stuff & need the same hardwearing gear too. In the end we’re just letting the brand organically become what it wants to be rather than pushing it in a particular direction & so far that seems to be working really well.
Safety or Fashion first in your clothes?
It all goes hand in hand for us. Even the pieces that don’t have technical protection are crafted to high standards using tough high quality fabrics & details like double stitched seams used in motorcycle leather racing jacket constructions. We also make most of the collection in England which means we can just jump on our motorcycles & work closely with our factories to develop everything until were really satisfied with it. The interesting thing for us is that coming from over 10 years experience in luxury fashion companies we’ve been able to lend that high standard & aesthetic designing for a demographic that hasn’t really been catered for yet. Looking at this not only style perspective but to solve a problem or for gap in the market is something really interesting coming from luxury where excess can so often be the case.
How would you describe VCC style in 3 words?
Ride or die.
How was it to approach a world that is primarily male oriented?
I think, although there is a new wave of women riding motorcycles I think that we’ve been treated the same as anyone else even though motorcycles are seen stereotypically seen as a mans game. Everyones pretty equal on the road. We all experience the same feeling & take the same risks.
Are women bikers as addicted to motorcycles as men?
I dont think its a man / woman thing with motorcycles. Once you’re in you’re in it sort of takes over your entire life. It gives you a freedom that I think anyone, guy or girl, falls for.
Which other place apart from London could host a project like this?
I think we could have started VCC from anywhere really but it would never look the same as it does now if we weren’t in London. Whats going on here & the streets we ride around every day will alway have a massive impact on what we do.
Your next ride?
This year we’ve got plans to do more riding in Europe & hook up with friends that ride over there. We’re also planning a road trip in Japan too thats gonna be pretty awesome. Travelling & road trips have to always have to be part of the business plan with us it seems.
Upcoming projects: can you tell us something about?
We’ve got a couple of really great collaborations lined up for this year which were pretty stoked about but we’re also sponsoring some incredible women involved in adventure & motor sports this year to try inspire more to get into their sports. For now the adventure is only just starting & as long as its something that makes us happy it’ll carry on.
Photos courtesy of James Grant, Vivianna Gomez Morales & Andres Titcombe