First look: Ride with Wolves


We chat pack mentality, style inspiration and cheese with Ester van Kempen, the woman behind London-based clothing company, Ride with Wolves

Take a look at the first collection from Peckham-based clothing company, Ride With Wolves, and you’ll see bold designs that give a nod to the cult movies of the Eighties, such as Lost Boys and Breakfast Club. There's innovation through the use of reflective ink, and a lot of attitude thanks to the brand’s ideology to open up conversations about gender roles, body image and equality. Founder Ester van Kempen tells us more.

What's the design inspiration behind the collection?
We brainstormed what animal represents a cyclist in London and came up with a wolf. In a lot of cultures, the wolf is seen as a spiritual creature, travelling in packs as it goes out to hunt. This is exactly how I feel when I cycle through London. Roos Boye, the collection's designer, drew a wolf inspired by tribes that paint their faces and use camouflage patterns. Look at it in the daylight and you can see the wolf design. But when a car light hits it, it turns into a skull.

How would you describe the ethos behind RWW?

What makes RWW products different?
As a brand I think we have a responsibility, which is why our products are gender neutral, body positive and as ethically made as possible. Our prints come with strong messages and we use the reflective ink in an innovative way. We want to get people out of those awful builders-vests, but still feel safe while they ride.

If you were in a Wolf Pack, what rank would you be?
This is a bit of a trick question… In Ride with Wolves I consider myself the Alpha, but I function best in a group and like to bounce ideas off people, so I guess I would probably be a beta in other surroundings. 


What was the hardest part of launching this range?
Keeping it to myself and waiting until it was ready. 

How do you feel now that you have launched?
Relieved! The response has been great so far and I’m very positive about the future.

What's next?
Ride with Wolves is not only about products. As a brand with a big ideology, we want to open up conversations about topics such as gender roles, street harassment, body image, equality, the clothing industry, animal cruelty, racism, all the other –isms. Bring it on! It’s only through doing this and talking about these things that we feel that we can be a leader in change.

Killer question: what’s your favourite cheese?
I love cheese and had to text my mum in the Netherlands to find out what the name of my favourite cheese is. It’s called fourme d'ambert, which is a blue cheese, with a bit of an edge but still very soft and creamy. Right now, I’m most curious about the vegan cheese range that Sainsburys has launched. I heard it’s pretty good!

See more from Ride with Wolves@RIDEWITHWOLVES
All Ride with Wolves photography by Owen Richards
Portrait by Kathryn Younger and concept by Lorna Harrington

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