Traffik-Free Christmas // Victory Chimp
Tell us a bit about yourself and Victory Chimp
Victory Chimp is an independent cycling brand producing high-quality, design-led performance apparel, casual clothing and cycling-inspired art. Dreamed up on the roadside and worked out in the studio. It’s also the alter-ego of me, Ryan O’Reilly, a Northern Irish bike-riding designer and illustrator.
When not busy at my desk, I’m often either scribbling down my own ideas or riding around the country on my bike. When the latter started exerting an overwhelming influence on the former, Victory Chimp was born. One crash and several weeks away from both bike and computer later, I had plotted a course to bring together my passions for art, cycling, fashion and the great apes.
Our art prints are locally-printed and hand-signed in limited numbers. Our casual clothing range is hand-printed in the UK on ethically made garments using water-based inks. Our performance cycle wear marries the latest Italian fabric technology with our signature graphic style to create stylish and durable technical apparel for you to love.
Outside of Victory Chimp and my design practice I’m mainly looking after Mini Chimp and Boycie the Schnauzer who both enjoy joining me for head clearing mountain bike rides. With Mini Chimp #2 on the way we’re hoping to trade up to a cargo bike to take the whole crew along.
When it came to sourcing production for your products was it important to you that they were produced ethically?
Coming from a service background, the whole process of product development and manufacturing was new to me. I quickly became aware of the much greater environmental and social impact this kind of business can have, along with a desire to manage this responsibly. As a consumer I’ll admit to finding it difficult to always shop ethically, but as a maker I wanted to be accountable at each stage, reducing our impact and creating positive change where possible. It takes an investment of time, and maybe a slightly smaller margin, but in the end you know you have produced the best possible product and done it the right way.
Currently our art prints and casual clothing lines are printed by hand in the UK using water-based inks and sustainable papers. We found a UK-based supplier of organic cotton garments, all low carbon, ethically produced and, importantly, excellent quality – the perfect combination. When we began to expand our range to include technical performance clothing, sourcing manufacturing partners who maintained these same standards became more difficult. We have been fortunate to work with other small family-run businesses across Europe who share our values.
What would be your one word of advice to someone wishing to shop or source ethically this Christmas?
Shop local. Go to the markets, fairs, pop-up shops and events where designers, and makers are exhibiting their work. There are a huge number of benefits, not least because you’ll get no greater insight into the provenance and production of an item. Buying from independents supports creative entrepreneurs, fosters community and boosts the local economy. Also, you’ll find a really unique gift, made with love.
Now that we know more about Victory Chimp, how can we get our hands on some Victory Chimp products this Christmas?
We sell directly from our website https://www.victorychimp.cc, as well as through a number of independent bike shops locally and internationally. You can find also find me at our Velo Café Magasin, Belfast on 15 and 16 December for ‘Love Local’, an expo of all the great bike brands we now have in NI.