Lumiere has just put out the mantle piece to their first collection of cycling kits. Designed at home in the city of Melbourne, Australia by founders Matt & Joe, Lumiere received a lot of early hype around their dahlia and banana leaf graphics but held back to perfect the product line before releasing the botanical inspired kits.
My first introduction to Lumiere Cycling was through their Instagram feed but they are also active across all the major social mediums (Twitter, Facebook). The following review of the Natural Stripe Jersey is part one of something new for the blog. Adding to the reviews I do, I am going start adding a spotlight to the people and process behind the design. Check back tomorrow for a Q&A with Matt & Joe.
Click on any of the images to see them in a larger lightbox view.
The Lumiere Cycling Natural Stripe Jersey arrived at my door in less than a week of travel time. It came in a plain white box with the Lumiere logo stamped in the corner and a hand written note to me attached under the black string holding the box closed. Inside the jersey was wrapped in white paper. Simple and clean.
My first impression of the jersey when I saw it in pictures was definite excitement but my first impression when I opened up the box was "Oh dear god it's as small as the baby tee my highschool girlfriend wore." Honestly I was worried that I was going to look like a grown in man in a tiny top. It's bad enough I'm walking around the coffee shop in lycra, nobody needs me in a tiny crop top too. Fear not, all those self conscious worries went away once I put the jersey on. I'll expand on that in detail in the fit & function section below.
Visually the jersey did not disappoint on initial impressions. I LOVE a good monochrome design but this one has to be seen first hand to really appreciate. I'll say early in the review that if you're looking for a kit that looks the part without hitting you over the head with bright colours, think seriously about this one.
design & construction
The Natural Stripe Jersey is built around Matt & Joe's belief that fit comes first.
According to Lumiere, the textile of choice is Italian manufactured lycra from MITI and final manufacturing takes place in China. Both which the inside tag confirms. At 117 grams (size medium) the jersey is firmly in the lightweight category and a good pick for warm weather. The MITI fabric has a UPF factor of 50+ which is measured when the fibres are unstretched. The jersey is constructed with a combination of single and flat lock stitching throughout and considering the high elastic stretch of the jersey, there don't seem to be any visible or perceived stress points. The use of raglan sleeves are a very welcome as it helps ensure there are no fit issues across various should sizes or shapes like mine. Above the pockets and through the side panels, the Natural Stripe jersey has mesh panels for increased breathability. When on the body the Natural Stripe Jersey is held in place with a healthy 5mm wide strip of silicone on the bottom hem. Some jerseys use less, some use more, but 5mm is plenty to keep it in place when overtop of bibs
In terms of specific design elements, the Natural Stripe Jersey has all the usual suspects. There are 3 rear pockets that are deep enough for your modern large screen phone, food supplies, your emergency repair kits, and surprisingly a rolled up rain shell fits easily. .The jersey is fronted by a full length YKK size 3c coil zipper with a cam lock puller leading up to a low height drop collar.
The graphic design of the Natural Stripe Jersey is a is a bold mix of monotone patterns that compliment while oppose each other. The top half of the torso is a black & white banana leaf pattern that plays on the popular trend of floral graphics while the bottom is black and white horizontal nautical style stripes. Somehow Lumiere has managed to bring these two opposite trends together into a mashup that is better together.
Some if not too many companies think that logos are the key ingredient to good graphic design. However itt should never be used as a crutch and the Lumiere Natural Strip Jersey does well in keeping brash branding to a bare minimum. In total there are 3 brand placements on the jersey and each more subtle than the last. The front left chest has a script logo in the same line weight and colour as the graphic print so it almost disappears into the design. The inside of the collar has a high contrasting white script logo against the black collar alongside the garment info. While present this branding would never be noticeable to anyone but you. The back of jersey has a small coloured tab with a script letter "L".
fit & function
Lumiere have a fit guide posted on the product page. According to that fit guide, I'm a size Medium with my 42" chest which to be truthful is a bit of a shock. My chest size usually puts me at the limit of Large or mid range of XL for every other jersey. I contacted them directly to make sure I made the right choice. After giving them my usual dimensions they suggested I size down.. two sizes. I resisted.... they insisted. They even went so far as to look through my reviews and Instagram feed to look at pics of me in jerseys for comparison. After all that they were sticking with their recommendation.
Well it's been here now for a bit and the jersey has a definitive race fit. This is not your club fit jersey but it doesn't feel like your wrapped in a tight sausage casing. True to Matt & Joe's words the jersey takes on a new fit when you put it on and even more so when on the bike. As much as it doesn't feel too big, it doesn't feel too small. It definitely doesn't give you that 'want to suck in my stomach' feeling you might think it would. The closest comparison I can give is to a Santini SMS race jersey like the ones used in the Giro D'Italia. If you like that level of stretch and lightweight you're going to be spot on with the Lumiere Natural Stripe Jersey. Trust their fit guide.
The biggest fear is what happens when things don't go that way. The fear of the unknown.
I can confidently say that my experience with Lumiere was pleasant and top shelf. For each inquiry I made I received a fast response, sometimes almost immediate. Consider I'm also half a world away in Canada on opposite time zones. Every communication was clear, friendly, and personable. As a customer it's important to know that your interests are addressed and considered. For me, I felt comfortable dealing with Matt & Joe.
When you're ordering online there is an expectation that things will move quickly and that you'll get exactly what you are expecting. There is NOTHING worse than buying something online only to wonder why you haven't received a shipping notification after days and days, then only to watch it make its journey to you at a painful pace. End to end the jersey took less than a week to leave Melbourne and arrive to me by Australia Post. Considering that it travelled half way across the world, I'd say that is better than expected.
With the Lumiere Natural Stripe Jersey there are two things I'd call attention to and think any potential customer should be aware of.
Personally I'd like to see a little bit more length in the torso of the the jersey for taller folks yet it's current sizing isn't going to limit my use or enjoyment either. The approach to race fit that Lumiere has put into their signature cut means it's a race fit so if you're looking something more on the comfort side of things, then this may not be it or you could try sizing up.
While the current trend is to longer sleeve lengths in modern kit designs, the sleeve length on the Lumiere Natural Stripe Jersey pushes the boundary right to the limit. Literally. On me, the medium size jersey has sleeves that go all the way to the elbow with a tiny bit of bunching (for reference I have a sleeve length of 34 1/4".) If you're one of those people who prides themselves on your sharp crisp tan lines you may end up with a tan line that you can't hide with anything less than long sleeve shirts.
The Natural Stripe Jersey from Lumiere is a race fit jersey with a dynamic stretch based fit and striking monochrome graphic design from two friendly guys in Melbourne. Most importantly the jersey feels as good on as it looks on the hanger. While I'm not the typical race shape cyclist, for me it's a really happy addition to my cycling closet. I'd prefer shorter sleeves and a bit longer torso in the pattern but I've been enjoying the jersey a lot and don't see that changing anytime soon.
Check back for the Q&A spotlight on the people behind the design with Lumiere Cycling.