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Vicious Cunts

Vicious Cunts are the gang bringing fashion to bike culture

This all-female collective is a passionate, fashion-forward bike movement coming to London for girls who love the roads

In a garage space in East London there’s motorcycle collective of a different kind. These aren’t your ordinary ‘babes on bikes’, just riders with a passion for biking that has led them to encouraging more women onto the roads. They’ve organised a UK version of the American ‘Babes Ride Out’ event and also organised CBT moto training for riders. As two of the founding members (Gemma and Namin) have a background in fashion, it is unsurprising that they have turned their attention to designing a collection that fuses London street wear style with some of the practicalities of bike gear.

Starting out by making some dirt bike jerseys for friends, they decided to use experience that they both had working with luxury brands such as Ferretti and McQueen, and combine it with their other love – motorbikes. We caught up with them before the launch of VCC.

How did you both meet and how did the collective start?

Namin: Initially, we met through work. We both work as designers and I was just getting into riding when me and Gemma first met.

Gemma: You mean, you were inspired by me… ha, no, we started riding together as well as boyfriends and girlfriends of people who wanted to start and we began hanging out together. Then we got the workshop about two years ago. 

The name, Vicious Cunts, how did you come up with that one?!

Gemma: It wasn’t us! It was someone’s birthday and we got quite drunk. We were cackling in a corner about how we needed a name for our riding group. My husband’s oldest friend saw us and said we were like a bunch of Vicious Cunts so that’s when we acquired it. 

Namin: Then, we started the Instagram that night and couldn’t back out of it. Now, it is just stuck.

Gemma: It is quite difficult because once it gathered momentum we had to tell our parents… so, I have actually had to say this and explain to my mum. She still won’t wear a t-shirt even if I say it is ironic.

Ah, t-shirts. So, tell me about the brand VCC?

Gemma: We’d both been working in luxury fashion for a while but never really had an inkling to start our own brand…

Namin: I guess as a designer it is an ultimate goal to have your own brand. But, for a while, I suppose we felt like the world didn’t need another luxury brand. 

Gemma: Especially not in London when there are always so many great labels starting up! But, through the motorbike world, we started noticing holes and having problems when we were looking for gear! After a while, someone said “you guys work in fashion why don’t you do it”? Initially, we were like “no don’t be stupid we just love riding & messing around with bikes…”

Namin: But, then, it just made more and more sense to do it.

What practical and stylistic things have you brought to VCC?

Gemma: I think what is interesting about our aesthetic is that we don’t fit into just one genre of the biking world. We ride different styles of bikes, from bobbers to dirt bikes, and our style doesn’t always stereotypically match the style of the bike we are riding at that time. It’s a mix of all those influences. We aren’t just one thing. Also, we couldn’t find dirt bike jerseys with sleeves that weren’t too long for us as most are made for men and in the limited womens’ styles they usually come with a huge pink flower! 

Namin:We are bringing an element of safety to some of our clothes. For example, we have a heavy cotton worker jacket and you can choose whether you want it with Kevlar lining or not. This will be a big part of what we offer. We wanted to be able to make the same fashion choices as we do every day but have the option to feel a bit safer when we ride. Although we have kevlar in some of our styles, we aren’t trying to compete with armoured bike gear. 

Namin: It is more of a hybrid. A fashion brand with hard wearing features and different motorcycle references.

“We want to make these things okay and be approachable and not have the ‘you can’t hang with us’ attitude”

You also run lessons to teach other women to ride bikes as well?

Gemma: Yeah. We just realised that there were not many outlets for women to have their first try if they didn’t know someone with a bike. The way that I learnt was through my husband. Generally, the way people start is by giving it a go for the first time with someone you know, on their bike,  as you aren’t just going to go out and buy a bike! There are now a lot more women wanting to get into biking and we thought well if these girls don’t have a bike and they don’t have a mate that can just take them to ASDA car park, how do they start ? So, we just put a post on Instagram inviting girls down just to give it a go… since then, we have taught about 50 girls to ride! And then we started linking with a proper training school so that they can qualify them with a CBT.

And you're bringing Babes Ride Out, an American female biking event, to the United Kingdom. Can you tell me a bit more about that?

Gemma: When we went there, we realised how the women’s riding scene is much bigger in the States than it is here. Even though we are in London it is seen as a bit unusual. So, when we went to “Babes Ride Out”, I got in contact with them to link up and bring the event here to encourage more women to start riding and to get more riders across the UK to meet.

Namin: There are already some great women’s riding groups across the UK so hopefully this event will be able to bring people together.

Gemma: Exactly. We aren’t trying to lay the claim that we are the first women to ride in the UK but it does feel like there is a new wave for women riding at the moment. You know, there are all those stories like I wanted to give it a go but my boyfriend laughed at me or I fell over once so I never did it again. I fall off all the time and I have been riding for five years. What I am trying to say is, we want to make these things okay and be approachable and not have the ‘you can’t hang with us’ attitude. If someone wants to learn, we will give them a hand.

Whats next?

Gemma: Lots! We’ve got a ladies flat track event coming up next . So, we are hooking up with the DTRA (Dirt Track Racing Association) to do some beginners days to help get more women to try the sport. There is currently only one woman competing at the moment, Leah Tokelove. Shes only 18-years-old and she absolutely burns all the guys, which is quite satisfying! We also have Babes Ride Out coming up in August and then we’re launching the label!

Keep up with them on Instagram and on their website