There are so many reasons to be excited, scared, considerate, cautious and reckless with that two-word concept, that it’s hard to know where to start explaining the story. It’s often a challenge for us – to tell our story – and we hope that our garments convey the richest parts, but there are more stories to be told. You may not know, for example, that we began by bribing the Italian tailors on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive with bottles of wine for scraps of their wool. And how much enjoyment we got when (on the good days) the wine charmed and Renzo would talk about Coppi and Bartali. You likely don’t know how many pointed laughs we’ve endured, as the old-style men of a broken garment industry dismissed ideas of finding small-scale suppliers producing quality textiles in first-world countries. It’s very possible that you don’t know that, for the most part, Cima Coppi has been and still is just a two-person effort (with some great summer help from Eryn). Everything we produce (sewing products, designing websites, taking photos), has been done primarily by two pairs of eyes and hands, from start to finish.
“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”, Miguel de Cervantes (Don Quixote of La Mancha)
So, yeah, we moved. From a city we were sometimes very critical of, but truly loved, to a place with the same ‘doubts’ and ‘setbacks’ and ‘impossibilities’ all over again. Despite that we moved to grow, and not in that shitty way, but in a way that may prove to be the most interesting part of our story.
Our goal from the beginning of this project has been to make visually exciting, custom, performance cycling clothing exclusively from natural materials. Our vision is to do this in a flat, worker-led, factory-free process while paying attention to sustainability (and to hell with those who have made that a pejorative, or devalued, or a hippy thing). We’re cyclists and we love the outdoors, and our 9-5 work can contribute to killing it, or keeping it. It’s odd when people say that distinction isn’t valued. Additionally, we’re owners and makers and those qualities are as mobile as we are. Safe to say, none of the above goals and visions will change in Spain.
We’ve selected Northern Spain for its proximity to our existing EU providers. As a small-scale manufacturer, our relationships with our suppliers are critical. By moving we can reduce the embedded ‘carbon footprint’ of our items. Simply put we ship a conservative estimate of 30% less waste around the planet from our new location – just 2km outside of Oviedo and 12km from the foot of Angliru.
But, again, this is just one part of the story. The other part is more personal and, among other things, involves a land prime for cycle touring, with beautiful, natural landscapes in a country with a rich cycling history. And the food… oh, the food! We hope to invite more people to visit our studio and to explore our new home on two wheels. Whether that be virtually through this blog or in person, as we already have with our first cyclotourist Martin.
It hasn’t been easy to leave Vancouver behind: Coastal BC has been an incredible backdrop for many of our cycling adventures, and we’ve been lucky for the support of the shops, caffes and cyclists in that community in particular, and in Canada in general (GO WINNIPEG!) We’re committed to continuing to serve our North American clients from our new location, and have plans to maintain select production in Vancouver.
But we’re also in Spain because it’s been our dream. Informed by sports things like this, this or this. Informed by traveling things like this. And informed by things like learning the merino sheep originated from the Iberian peninsula and, even though the Spanish merino and textile industry are in dire straights, even though it may be laughable, we can’t help but ask how crazy is it to explore and source from that industry, how laughable is it to try and make our little company how it should be.
Maybe this is mad. We’ll find out.