Then there’s Atwlyd, which is “a totally made-up word,” according to the company’s creative director, 33-year-old Corinne Lan Franco. “It’s the single moment between fear and thrill, because you’re captured in that moment when you’re riding.” Atwyld launched in the summer of 2016 after Lan Franco, 31-year-old Anya Violet and 40-year-old Jamie Dempsey stopped stalking one another on Instagram, had a real-life conversation, and started riding together. One day when they went on a ride up beautiful Angeles Crest Highway, just north of downtown L.A., they realized they were all wearing shirts and jeans from Urban Outfitters. “It was really easy for me not to wear something protective, which is sad,” says Lan Franco, pointing to the absence of any attractive women’s riding gear.
They decided then and there that Violet’s love for apparel design, Lan Franco’s career as an artistic lead, and Dempsey’s background in product development gave them everything they’d need to start a seriously cool apparel company. “Now — right now — is the time for this to happen,” says Violet. “We ride with our target customer all the time, and she’s not wearing gear. She’s not wearing anything remotely protective, and I understand that. You just want to have some sort of identity when you’re riding your motorcycle. We’re creating protective apparel for women who don’t wear gear, who don’t give a fuck. Our job is to make our gear look so good they go, ‘Oh, I’d wear that,’ and then hopefully one day it saves their ass.”
Atwyld sells gorgeous jackets, chic pants, fleeces, and zip-up shirts, all with protective features. “It’s so rewarding to see girls trying on this product we’ve been working so hard on, and to see it look good on so many different types of bodies,” says Dempsey. Atwyld is currently transitioning from direct-to-consumer sales to a wholesale model after only six months, and the partners are already developing future lines and exploring ways to give back to the motorcycling community, like sponsoring an all-female racing team or using education courses to help women become better, more skilled motorcyclists. “We’re going into uncharted territory,” says Dempsey. “We don’t have that much to rank ourselves against, so it’s like the world’s our oyster. We can create whatever we want to create.”