After four years in the virtual world of online, isolés has a place it can call home, a location where our brand can be seen, touched and experienced in real time. For us, it’s a dream come true.
Our new home is a physical representation of isolés. It is everything we imagine our brand to be - elegant, stylish, classic, with a uniquely Nordic design flair.
We launched isolés to meet a need for quality cycling clothing which is stylish and most importantly, environmentally conscious.
The clothing we produce is elegant and timeless, informed by founder Henrik Dahl Rubak’s more than 15 years experience in the production of custom cycling clothing. During this time Henrik has gained a deep knowledge of performance materials and fabrics. We wanted to put this expertise to good use by producing the most comfortable cycling clothing on the market.
isolés is a family-owned brand, run by Henrik and Louise Dahl Rubak. A small team compared to the other big European players.
“We believe that it is the product that counts, and the energy that has been put into creating the whole story around it. We feel our customers value isolés as a Niche Danish brand,” says Henrik.
“I’ve been involved in the production of cycling clothing from the very beginning. I know what it takes to create a desirable product. Every detail counts, and first and foremost it is about choosing the absolute best fabrics. There must be no compromise.”
Henrik’s day-to-day responsibilities involve product development and design of new collections, while Louise is concerned with the final decision-making process.
“Cycling as a leisure pursuit is growing and fortunately we are seeing more and more women taking up the sport,” Louise says. “This also means we are introducing female lines to more of our collections. We need to be sure that we have enough styles and that there is a good mix of feminine and classic designs. I have the opportunity to ensure the collections have the right feminine touch.
“With our ECO collections, we try to push for as much sustainability as possible. The fabrics are made from recycled nylon fibres, which most often come from old plastic bottles or fishing nets. This is what makes more and more people choose us, because we are pushing in the right direction.”
At the beginning of June, the new isolés Store & Design Studio opened on Søndergade in Vejle.
A secluded universe tucked away in the middle of the city, not far from some of the best cycling terrain in Denmark. The new premises form the framework for all activities in the company.
All collections are designed from the office on the 1st floor and this is also where the development of each product takes place. These designs and product development are shaped by many hours in the saddle, riding at the pinnacle of the sport.
"I myself have ridden semi-professionally in Italy and lived for three years in Tuscany, where my dream of becoming a professional and riding the Tour de France came true," says Henrik.
"My love of cycling did not disappear with the realisation that my professional racing career might not last. I struggled a bit with back problems, but also had to quickly admit that I simply fell short compared to my teammates Giovanni Visconti and Andrey Grivko when we rode against the likes of Nibali and Pozzovivo weekend after weekend."
It is now 20 years since Henrik's Italian adventure - thus it is easier to reflect on his time in Italy.
“My joy of being on the bike just grew over the years in Italy. The long training rides alone in the mountains gave me enormous peace of mind, and I could easily ride alone for six hours while the others were out racing.
“There was a huge freedom in just riding far up in the mountains, stopping at that little cafe, drinking an espresso or a Coke and then riding down again. No Instagram or Strava to be updated along the way. My few KOMS are stored in my memory or in my old handwritten diaries from that time,” he says with a twinkle in his eye.
In addition to being a Design Studio, the new premises also contain the first physical isolés store. After being a direct-to-customer, online operation for four years, the time had come to give the brand a physical location for people to experience the products.
“In the past, these premises housed a bookstore, and even further back there was a lamp shop and a distillery here. So we have spent an incredible amount of time creating our new store. We want it to reflect our identity - elegant, Nordic and classic, ”says Louise.
Louise is responsible for running the store on a day-to-day basis, but customers who stop by will meet both owners.
“With about 100 sqm of isolés universe, we really have the opportunity to show our collections as we have intended them, as outfits. We can match the products according to style and taste,” Louise continued.
“We are generally seeing that customers are more ready for fresh colours. Where we previously sold a lot of black cycling clothing, today it is very mixed. Many people wear green or brown shorts and throw themselves into both white and lighter beige tones on the jerseys", says Louise.
As with the online shop, the store has a dedicated women's department, where everything is developed specifically to accommodate the female anatomy.
"Fit, colours and inserts have been chosen with the aim of making the hours in the saddle as comfortable as possible", adds Louise.
With his backpack full of Italian cycling passion and good cycling contacts, Henrik returned to Denmark when his stint as a pro in an Italian team was over. It is therefore no coincidence that virtually all isolés fabrics and products are made in Italy.
“Italy has a huge passion and tradition for cycling and I definitely have a penchant for Italian production,” he says.
“Our collections are produced in a family-owned factory just outside Milan, just as the majority of our fabrics are developed in the same area in Lombardy.”
"I'm probably a little perfectionist and nerdy about our fitting and materials, but I know how important it is to ensure a good experience on the bike."
More than 50 per cent of isolés’ sales come from collections produced from recycled fabrics. The brand has set a clear goal, to produce all new collections using sustainable fabrics by 2025. But right now, the lack of development of new ECO fabrics is hindering that goal.
“We always choose a fabric with recycled polyester over traditional polyester, if the quality is the same. The price does not matter,” says Henrik. “Although our goal is clear, we sometimes have a hard time getting hold of fabrics with sustainable fibres.
“All our zippers are made of recycled plastic and all our polybags are made of sugar cane, so we try to make a difference wherever possible,” Henrik adds that he still believes isolés is on track for its 2025 sustainability goal.
Although isolés was created to meet the needs of individual riders, the backyard of the store has been transformed into an event café area, where customers and riders can get closer to the brand and the cycling culture that isolés cultivates.
“Once a month we open the gate and offer social rides for customers,” says Henrik. “We ride a few hours and end the day with some food from local restaurateurs. For us, it is very rewarding to meet the customers and share some good times on the bike.
“We try to keep it intimate with a maximum of 10 to 15 riders - then we can talk to everyone,” Henrik adds.
With the opening of the isolés Store & Design Studio in Vejle, a dream has come true for Henrik and Louise.
“From the very beginning, we have had confidence in our products, and dreamed of the day when cyclists from all over Denmark could have the full brand experience,” says Louise.
“We feel this is what we can offer from the store in Vejle, whether it is by trying and feeling the collections or getting to know the people behind the brand at one of our isolés & friends events.”
The store is open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday - and the rest of the week you can of course shop online.