Cosmic Dirt: Designing MTB Trail Apparel for Every-Body

Photo: Ashley Baron

A common refrain across the apparel industry sounds like “there’s something out there for everyone.” Is that true? The phrase implies that fashion and fit are subjective, and “folks can look elsewhere if they don’t like our style.” While that thinking works for preferences around patterns, tech features, and logo placement, it’s not true for sizing. Most mountain bike apparel brands only make clothing within the range that they feel will sell most, and shops stock kits accordingly.

Ashley aboard her park bike. Photo: Chloe Nostrant

Cosmic Dirt founders, Ashley Duffus-Jambor and Heather Kinal aim to change up the game with their current and coming line of trail apparel that’s cut to fit a broader range of body sizes. Last year, Ashley noticed an article about trail apparel for plus-sized riders and clicked through to see what that meant. She quickly noted that none of the included brands made gear in her size. She shared her reaction online and was queried by several friends as to why she doesn’t start her own clothing brand. She had been chewing on that thought for some time and had collected a raft of ideas for better clothing associated with the various sports she enjoys.

Ashley grew up riding bikes to and from after-school sporting activities, and says that she was part of a “bike family.” She is also an avid skier, mixing up sports with the whim of the seasons. She has always struggled to find ski gear in her size, and eventually quit playing in the snow due to frustrations around sizing options and the lack of representation in the sport for people who look like her. Her passion for outdoor activities burns on, and she leaned back into mountain biking several years ago with full fervor. One aim with this new brand is not only to create clothing that fits larger bodies but to support athletes and ambassadors who can be role models for other underrepresented groups of people across our dusty little subculture.

Photo: Cosmic Dirt

As it often goes, “because money” was Ashley’s primary barrier. A social media follower named Heather reached out to her and offered to help with the funding side of things, and the pair are now close friends and business partners. They kicked off their first designs, production, and online sales platform without having met one another, and their success is a testament to their belief in what Cosmic Dirt is and can become. They have since met in person, and fortunately, they also get along well in three dimensions. At the outset, Heather was apprehensive about funding a project and not knowing if Ashley would follow through, and Ashley had some fear around putting in all of the work to create designs and prototypes if her funding might be pulled. They managed to share and assuage those fears, creating a tight bond the business could blossom from.

Photo: Ashley Baron

In addition to making apparel that fits more body sizes, Ashley says that they won’t be gendering Cosmic Dirt apparel. They offer both boxy and form-fitting riding shirts that folks can choose from, and their coming pants and other technical pieces will be gender-non-specific. The first pairs of pants will be designed for a curvier fit, with more cuts coming. It’s as simple as selecting a cut you like in the correct size, and nearly everyone will be able to find a width and length to fit their body. There will be plenty of cool colors and patterns, and everything will also come in black for those of us who prefer to blend with shadows.

While they hope to move production to the US at some point, Cosmic Dirt is currently using an ethically-minded factory in Vietnam that employs women who are struggling with a variety of societal challenges. Their most pressing apparel projects at the moment include a pair of DWR-coated riding pants and all of the other pieces of kit that will allow riders to be wrapped from head to toe in CD gear.

Photo: Cosmic Dirt

The brand also has a new hip pack on the market, created in collaboration with High Above in Ashley’s home of Bellingham, Washington. Packs will be available with two waist belt lengths and you can keep track of their release date on the brand’s website. The first run sold out in just 24 hours, and Ashley says there are more on the way.

Riders who live near Bend, Oregon can sign up to ride with Ashley and company this coming weekend, with a pedal and shuttle on the 22nd and 23rd. The ride is aimed at getting newer riders smiling down the trails. Be sure to check their website and Instagram page for updates on other events, popup shops, and a slew of new products that are in the works.

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