A Chat with our Cat (Product Development Specialist)
Many of us have taken a punt on cheap cycling jerseys we've found online...
Only to find that the £19.99 size Large you ordered has crazy dimensions that would only fit someone with a body like a bike frame.
We've spent years riding in kit that never quite ticked all the boxes, often looking great but falling apart after the first long ride (and associated wash cycle), or offering bulletproof design and construction, but looking like it belonged in a cycling safety video from 1985.
It was this kit conundrum which formed the basis of PARIA – wanting decent technical kit which delivers functionally, combined with strong standout designs.
Our development process has been based on customer feedback, rider knowledge and a desire to do things a bit differently.
Since 2015, we’ve developed our full range of technical cycling kit organically, alongside a growing collection of athleisure and commuter wear.
A great example is our utility hoodie, which has become a firm favourite, offering with unique cyclist-friendly features.
We’re always looking to innovate and evolve, but we knew that our experiential approach would only take us so far, and we’d need specialist help to up the ante and make our ideas happen.
We needed someone with excellent knowledge of the latest developments in all things fabric, construction, and sustainability
We’d been working hard to find someone who could support us on our developmental journey and help to craft our range.
Through pure serendipity, we met Cat – a product development specialist who offered exactly what we needed. Detail orientated with exceptional creative, analytical, and problem-solving abilities, coupled with a can-do attitude and a down-to-earth outlook, she knocked our socks off straight off the bat...
Read on to hear more about Cat’s background in sportswear design, her love of traditional/contemporary mash-ups and what the future holds for Paria…
CAT DOYLE: PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST
So… what’s your name and where do you come from?
Cat Doyle – I’m from a little hilly town in central Scotland.
Could you tell us a bit more about where your career started?
My career began working with Lowe Alpine (for those that don’t know - a pure outdoor apparel and soft goods brand), working within design & development, creating a myriad of technical products for outdoor sports including climbing, hiking and mountain biking.
It was an ideal 1st job, combining my love of the outdoors with innovative, technical designs and fabrics, it was an inspiring brand to work for; a synergetic, passionate team of outdoor enthusiasts creating beautiful, innovative, technical products.
I then moved on to design & develop performance sportswear ranges for several branded and own label businesses, creating technical ranges for sports such as snowboarding, cycling, golf and sailing before moving over to work with Fenchurch (a skate/streetwear brand), their collections were highly influenced by skate & BMX subcultures, they were well known for their crazy, original graphics & regularly collaborated with contemporary graphic artists and UK rapper and hip-hop artists. My passion for screen-printing originated at Fenchurch whilst researching and developing print applications with global print houses.
There’s an outerwear theme here! What was the attraction to working with these brands?
I love bringing together apparently opposing categories – at the time fashion/streetwear with technical outerwear. It was the early days of the athleisure explosion and the beginning of bringing innovative graphic design into rather traditional categories.
Twinning functional technical design & fabrication, quality production combined with contemporary aesthetic really moved the segment forward. Musto was a great example of this, where we took a niche, traditional product and gave it a street/lifestyle handwriting.
So, onto your move into the cycling world...
I had a pivotal move in my career in 2012 when I went to work with Rapha as a senior product developer. I had worked with them previously on several occasions, firstly, designing & developing their 1st launch products, then again when they launched their first women’s collection, so I knew the brand well.
Working directly with the performance staff and pro athletes was an eye opener, understanding the training/racing/working needs of every individual on each team was key to creating and delivering innovative, fit for purpose, next level product.
What attracted you to working with Paria?
A couple of standout reasons – the strength of the brand, the team and where I can see the business going. The designs are always on point with some crazy collabs which gives Paria’s collections a real point of difference.
The culture in the team is really close. There is a family feel to the brand - everyone wants to make a real difference in everything Paria undertakes. The feeling of collaboration is contagious and sits at the centre of it all.
What do you think the future holds for Paria?
The business has developed organically so far (and, from what I have heard, on minimal budgets!) and it’s going to be great to be involved in building on this, with product development, launching new ranges (like the Hoban collection) and evolving what the team have already delivered with some strong innovation.
Thank you, Cat! We're thrilled to have you on board.