Milltag, which is situated in the United Kingdom, began in 2010 as a small kit business working in collaboration with artists and designers from all over the globe to develop cycling jerseys that were intriguing and unusual. Six years later, Milltag is now the official kit supplier for the Tour de Yorkshire, which is organized by the ASO, as well as the professional women’s team Matrix Pro Cycling in the United Kingdom, which includes the current British Road Champion, Laura Trott. Not to mention the fact that Kenny Van Vlaminck’s Top Bonk Schleppers was a legendary cycling team.
In order to learn more about the history of Milltag and its founders, Ed Cowburn and Pete Kelsey, we had a conversation with each of them about their personal experiences.
Both of them have a solid foundation in design; Ed’s love affair with design began when he was a teenager and he discovered a flair for painting indie band logos on the schoolbags of his classmates (years later he ended up designing the 20th Anniversary boxset for one of those bands – The Stone Roses). Before venturing out on his own and establishing his own design studio in London, Pete served as the head of design at Universal Music during the Nirvana era (where Ed now works).
In 2006, the couple connected while participating in a charity bike trip from London to Paris, which marked the conclusion of the Tour de France (the Landis one). Pete hired Ed at his design business since the two of them had a passion for design, independent music, sport, and being from the North (of England). It was then that the concept of Milltag started to take form.
“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,” the pair says when describing the purpose behind the brand, and it is clear that it is very much led by their heritage in design: “To give people the opportunity to wear the most original designed cyclewear available.” “We also like working with designers whose work we respect and appreciate. It challenges our ability to go as far as we can with the print and raises problems about the appearance of cycle wear.
Notable is the fact that they are affiliated with cycling great Kenny Van Vlaminck and the Top Bonk Schleppers team (Kenny Van Vlaminck is the alter ego of GCN presenter Matt Stephens):
“We’ve known Kenny since an accidental encounter in Bruges in 2008, when he was organizing a vegetable carving class (of elite cyclists) next next to the pub where we’d dropped off to get a drink in between Christmas shopping. At the time, he was carving vegetables with professional cyclists. He had reached the halfway point in sculpting Jürgen Roelandts out of turnips. We had a conversation, and ever since then, the two of us have been carving together. When Kenny phoned us about Top Bonk, of course we didn’t hesitate to seize the opportunity. The individual is a great genius despite the fact that he is often misinterpreted. This generation may not be ready for some of his concepts since they are somewhat ahead of their time.
Milltag’s products are ethically tailored by hand in their factory in Europe. They come at an affordable price point and have a distinctly British retro feel to them. We are pleased to feature them in our Emporium, including their complete women’s kit in striking maroon, which consists of a jersey and knicks.
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