Babes, Leather & Exhaust – The Atwyld Interview
Inspired by the freedom of the open road and bolstered by an independent spirit, Atwyld creates world class motorcycle gear and apparel for women who ride. Raw, yet refined, and independent without being apologetic, this generation of women is dead set on navigating their own path. Conceptualized and manufactured in the heart of California, but worn and tested on dusty highways near and abroad, Atwyld is leading the charge of a new movement of moto and lifestyle enthusiasts.
With a driven mission on one hand and proof of concept through product on the other, Atwyld has the perfect combination of purpose and passion. With its participation in community riding events like Babes Ride Out and a focusing on products designed with fashion and function in mind, Atwyld is at the head of the pack. We had the chance to catch up with Atwyld co-founder and brand director, Anya Violet, to find out how the brand started, to chat about her roots in moto and to learn some of the ways Atywld is fostering a community of female motorcycle enthusiasts.
Who are you, what do you do and how long have you been riding motorcycles?
My name is Anya Violet and I am the co-founder and brand director for Atwyld. I have been riding dirt bikes since I was 7 years old and street bikes for the past 6 years.
How did you get your start riding motorcycles? Was it something you always wanted to do?
My family loved to go camping and we all kind of got into riding dirt bikes together, but I was the only one of my two sisters that really fell in love with it. I have always enjoyed the rush of adrenaline and speed. Riding a dirt bike can take you to some of the most beautiful places the earth has to offer.
We saw you ride with your mom – what’s that like?
It is an absolute blast. My mom was my very first riding buddy and is still one of my favorites. We love to go on adventures together and both really really love to ride!
What are some of your favorite rides?
I love riding on the central coast of California because that is where I’m from. It’s still kind of a hidden gem and full of awesome back roads. I would have to say riding up HWY 1 into Big Sur is one of my favorite rides.
What is it about exploring and camping by bike that is intriguing to you?
Going by bike kind of forces you to be a minimalist because you can only pack the essentials, which I like. I think riding inspires you to take different routes than you normally would, in an effort to find some fun canyon roads and open highways. I also enjoy the quiet time to myself in my helmet.
What was the motivation behind starting Atwyld? Did you see a void in the market from what was being offered to what female riders like yourself were looking for?
There was a giant gaping hole in the market where there should have been an offering of riding apparel for women that looks and feels good, on and off the bike. The super protective race suit market is well covered and the uber techy, high-function gear is covered. What none of us could find was apparel that had protective qualities and features but looked more like streetwear. There has been some traction on the men’s side but most brands feel there are not enough women who ride to support the category. Or they simply don’t employ people who know much about women’s apparel. This left a big white space which is why Atwyld was born.
Atwyld seems to be a solid blend of current fashion styles and real-life functional products. Can you talk about why this was an important goal for the brand?
Concepting the product has come really naturally because we basically design pieces we wish we had. As riders ourselves, we have a fashion sensibility but also want the confidence you feel when you have a solid layer between you and the road. We are super inspired by other women we ride with and we love seeing them wearing our product.
How do you see a brand like Atwyld being beneficial to women in moto?
Our goal is to get protective apparel on women who do not normally wear any gear. It is so easy to not wear gear because most of what has been offered is just not good looking or flattering or comfortable. We hope that by offering pieces that look and feel more like everyday street clothes, women will be more likely to to wear it on a ride.
What is Babes Ride Out and how did it get started?
Babes Ride Out is a women’s only motorcycle campout event. We host three annual events and our biggest event in Joshua Tree, CA, is officially the largest women’s moto event in history. The event had really humble beginnings though. My friend Ashmore and I started it without really planning on it becoming an actual event. We just wanted to meet more women to ride with. After the first campout the energy was so amazing and we had a lot of requests to keep it going. Five years later we are looking at over 2,000 attendees.
What do you feel is the importance of an event like Babes Ride Out to women’s moto?
I’m not sure I would call it important, but it sure is fun. I do think it is a great atmosphere for women from all walks of life to come together and enjoy a weekend on two wheels together. We like to promote camaraderie and safe riding, and hopefully inspire more women to ride.
Getting on a bike and joining the culture can be an intimidating thing to many people. Do you have any advice for women who are interested in being a part of this but aren’t sure how to go about it?
Just do it!!!! haha. It’s actually a very warm and welcoming community! As far as learning to ride goes I could give advice all day, but I will say a few things. Learn on dirt first, take your time and don’t let your boyfriend teach you!
Aside from Babes Ride Out, what other ways Atwyld is involved in women’s moto?
Atwyld has been at several events like The 1 Moto show, Born Free, Mama Tried, The OG Moto Show, Dream Roll etc. We have big plans as the brand grows to get involved in a lot more ways as well.