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Words and Photos by Brandon Van Haeren // Video by Simon Birk
Pas Normal Studios launched its inaugural Mechanism collection in 2015, instilling co-founder and artistic director Karl-Oskar Olsen's renowned experience from the sub-culture-influenced lifestyle brand Wood Wood into his ardent passion for cycling. Regarded less as a reference to professional cycling's dark past, the defining impetus for the development of the Pas Normal Studios brand is the pursuit to create something new and original - not only limited to the visual representation of the brand but the physical and emotional experiences we encounter when we ride.
We look at what it is that is motivating us to go out riding and how we can challenge our patterns to ride more. From the social aspect of riding in a group of friends to the personal reflection, one achieves during the solitude of a solo ride, we are all chasing after a different experience when we set out at the beginning of the day. And more often than not we end up coming back home at the end of the day with an experience that went beyond our expectations. The Pas Normal Studios collections occupy this same space - a brand motivated by exceeding all expectations.
There is an inherent expectation when we purchase technical apparel for the amount that we pay to be representative of the quality of the product. Designed with a commitment to utilitarian minimalism, Pas Normal Studios has adopted a borderless approach to its design processes and production methods, refusing to operate under the limitations of normality. This has provided an unrestricted avenue towards the development of a brand that exceeds all expectations.
The driving force behind the Pas Normal Studios design process extends far beyond a simple ambition of exceeding what its users may expect from their clothing. Rather, what inspires the development and progressive innovation of each collection is the belief that your clothing can help you break beyond the borders of what you expect of yourself. We look at where and how people are riding and strive to create a product that is capable of changing that individual’s perspective on what can be achieved from cycling with the implementation of the right gear. This is where the design process starts: from an individual idea of what we want that product to accomplish, and the collections begin to grow from there. It is a process that allows for a product to be built from the ground up rather than from the concept down.
Though the technology and materials influence the applications of each evolving collection of cycling clothing, it is the creative direction of Karl-Oskar Olsen which drives the aesthetics of each piece. The idea that your subjective perception by visual stimulation of your clothing, whether it be influenced by its colour, style, fit, or fashion compatibility, can affect your motivation to ride is an instrumental component of how we believe our expectations may be overcome. This ability to instil an elevated sense of confidence or comfort through our apparel is strongly related to the intimate relationship which we hold with our manufacturers.
The elements of playfulness that appear throughout select collections, such as Road the Nowhere and T.K.O., are often inspired by various works of music, poetry, or art. The implementation of these elements into each collection is often not possible through traditional production methods. It is in these situations that new innovative production methods must be developed to allow the artistic expression to be accurately captured in the product.
The necessity for a complete kit that is capable of keeping you cool on a challenging climb while preventing chilling on the descent, or providing sufficient ventilation on high-paced intervals is a continuous challenge that must be addressed. As a result, it is the functionality of the kit that defines the capabilities of the rider. The challenges that are faced in the design and production of every Pas Normal Studios piece are addressed and resolved in a manner that is aimed at improving the performance of the user. The products should inherently drive people to change their patterns - to challenge how far they think they can go and what they believe they are capable of accomplishing. It is only then that we can truly break past our borders and set a path towards encountering new experiences.