Upside Apparel
By YP Contributor

Cycling-Friendly Clothing

Cycling had always been the preferred mode of transportation for husband-and-wife Raffael Iglesias and Krista Ozolins. But it wasn't until a professor who had taught them both a few years apart introduced the two at a 2001 art opening that they teamed up.

Both Raffael and Krista studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD). After graduating, Krista went on to study fashion design at George Brown College and sold clothing on consignment in various shops around Toronto. Raffael, on the other hand went to Europe where he discovered concepts that inspired him to create a bike-friendly clothing line. “Wouldn’t it be good if somebody made fashionable clothes that were also cycle-friendly, using materials that are water resistant and a little bit stretchy without sacrificing any style?” he had thought.

The combination of Krista's design experience and Raffael's idea lead to the in-house line of Upside Apparel ― men’s and women’s cycling clothing that, at first glance, would look at home on the racks of any modern clothing store in Toronto. But that’s precisely what Raffael and Krista are hoping for.

“The whole idea was to create hybrid clothing,” Raffael says. He goes on to explain how the majority of bike-themed apparel makes its wearers look like “something between Tron and you’re in the Tour de France,” with a laugh.

Instead, Upside’s clothing allows you to ride your bike with ease and go about your day unnoticed. “If you’re riding your bike to an art opening or brunch, you can’t tell once you get off your bike that you’re wearing something that’s made for a bike,” Raffael points out. “But you’ll be able to feel the difference when you’re riding.”

Wouldn’t it be good if somebody made fashionable clothes that were also cycle-friendly, using materials that are water resistant and a little bit stretchy without sacrificing any style - Raffael Iglesias, co-owner
Upside Apparel

Subtle Modifications for Comfort and Ease

Krista picks up an Upside Apparel men’s jacket to further demonstrate the practicalities of her clothing. The jacket itself is casual yet sharp, simple and unadorned with clean lines and vintage appeal. But without Krista’s description of the features, or perhaps wearing it yourself and hopping on your bike on a rainy day, you wouldn’t know that it’s cycling-friendly.

“This jacket is water repellent and has arm vents,” Krista describes. “So that when you move forward on your bike, you have more room. The sleeves are a little longer.”

Aside from the bike-friendly clothing, Upside Apparel also stocks an assortment of accessories like bells, helmets and bags as well as a growing selection of vintage-inspired bicycles through a partnership with the Dovercourt bike shop Riders Cycle & Board.

Upside Apparel

Locally Designed and Manufactured Clothing

At Upside Apparel’s storefront you’ll see the words ‘TORONTO MADE’ proudly emblazoned on the front window. “I design the clothing, make a sample and then when it’s time to do multiples, I hire a contractor located in Chinatown,” Krista explains.

While this method of manufacturing makes sense for Upside’s smaller-scale demand, it’s also a process that fits right in with Upside’s concept. “We like the idea of people riding their bikes around the city instead of driving,” Raffael notes. “We don’t want to import things from anywhere and everywhere. We want to keep things local and environmentally friendly.”

Upside Apparel
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