By Megan Hughes for Love The Mountains
lex Feechan is the founder of popular women’s mountain biking clothing company FINDRA.
Alex Feechan felt there was a lack of representation for women in the women’s bike wear industry, with many companies’ women’s lines simply a smaller, pinker afterthought to the men’s lines. With FINDRA, Alex has created clothing that is both practical and stylish, giving women the best of both worlds. Made in Scotland, these garments are great quality, with women who love the outdoors at their heart.
1: Was there a particular moment when you knew you had to create FINDRA?
I had started mountain biking and really loved it, so I decided to go to my local bike shop to buy some kit. I can still remember standing in the shop in disbelief at the product offering for women, and at that point felt there had to be a better way! I knew then I wanted to create a brand and product offering that was far more considered for women.
2: You use high quality Italian sports merino wool in FINDRA clothing, why is that so important?
I have worked in the fashion and textile industry for over 22 years, in that time I have worked on the collections of a number of high end luxury brands. In recent years I designed luxury golf wear, I worked a lot with many Italian spinner who spun New Zealand merino wool. Merino wool is a fantastic natural performance fibre, its temperature regulating, is odour resistant, self cleaning soft and easy to wear. Spinning this fibre in Italy ensures its fine count therefore it products a really lightweight easily packable functional garment thats extremely comfortable to wear.
3: Have any items in FINDRA’s collection proved especially popular?
Our Marin Cowl neck and Betty neck warmer have both proved to be very popular with our customers, with the Marin winning a Design & Innovation award in 2016.
4: Are there any items in FINDRA’s range that you’re particularly proud of, perhaps something unique to the company?
I am proud of the over all feel of the collection and how we have combined design and performance in a stylish functional yet understated way. I love that our customers tell us that they wear our products for all their outdoor activities and equally love to wear it for visit to the pub and the cafe with friends! The fact that the products easily cross over from activity to lifestyle for me personally is achievement in terms of design!
5: FINDRA’s clothing is fashion led and performance driven, but do these two priorities ever conflict in an item as you’re creating it?
I see FINDRA as being fashionably stylish than seasonal throw away fashion. Our products have a stylish feel in terms of the detailing and the colour choices. I am a great believer in the design principle ‘form follows function’ therefore our products must be particle and perform well, we never add any unnecessary detailing or accessories all design aspects must be relvant and functional. Nothing is done for pure decoration.
6: You’re based in Scotland, do you think that has any influence on the products you create?
It has a very positive influence. In Scotland you often get four season in one day, testing our products in rugged outdoors with changeable weather conditions means we know if they can survive Scotland they will work well anywhere!
7: How important is ethical sourcing of the materials used in your clothing to you?
It’s is an very important part of our product development, particularly our merino where we always aim to use non-mulesed merino wool.
8: What’s next?
FINDRA is at an exciting point in its journey; the brand has evolved and the business has grown substantially over the last 3 years. 2018 is going to be a big year, seeing us grow from the niche of cycling specific products to offer a wider range of styles and designs that can be worn and enjoyed on any outdoor adventure. As a team we are really looking forward to the next stage and the opportunities it brings.