UK-based Milltag started out in 2010 as a small kit brand collaborating with artists and designers from around the world to produce interesting and unique cycling jerseys. Fast forward 6 years and Milltag are official kit suppliers for UK professional women’s team Matrix Pro Cycling (including British Road Champ Laura Trott) and the Tour de Yorkshire run by the ASO. Not to mention cycling legend Kenny Van Vlaminck’s team Top Bonk Schleppers.
We spoke to Ed Cowburn and Pete Kelsey, the two men behind the brand, about their story and to find out how Milltag came to be.
Both have a strong background in design; Ed started his love affair with design as a teenager when he discovered a talent for painting indie band logos on friends’ schoolbags (years later he ended up designing the 20th Anniversary boxset for one of those bands - The Stone Roses). Pete was head of design at Universal Music in the days of Nirvana, before branching out and starting his own agency in London (where Ed now works).
The two met in 2006 on a charity bike ride from London to Paris and the culmination of the Tour de France (the Landis one). A mutual love for design, indie music, sport and being from the North (of England) saw Pete employ Ed in his design agency where the idea of Milltag began to take shape.
When the pair speak about the purpose behind the brand, it’s clear it is very much led by their heritage in design: “To give people the opportunity to wear the most original designed cyclewear available - whether it’s designed by us, or with our help to create bespoke custom products.” “We also love to collaborate with designers we admire. It tests how far we can go with the print and questions what cycle wear should look like.”
Of note is their association with cycling legend (and alter-ego of GCN present Matt Stephens) Kenny Van Vlaminck and his Top Bonk Schleppers team:
“We’ve known Kenny since a chance meeting in Brugges in 2008 where he was hosting a vegetable carving workshop (of professional cyclists) next door to the bar where we’d stopped off to grab a beer in between Christmas shopping. He was half-way into a turnip bust of Jürgen Roelandts. We talked and we’ve been carving together ever since. When Kenny called us about Top Bonk, of course we jumped at the chance. The man’s a little misunderstood, but a true genius. Some of his ideas are just a little too ahead of their time for this generation.”
Milltag’s products are ethically tailored by hand in their factory in Europe and at an affordable price point with a distinctly British retro feel to it, we’re pleased to feature them in our Emporium, including their complete women’s kit (jersey and knicks) in striking maroon.