Santa Barbara’s First Annual Bicycle Fashion Show

Last Thursday, I Amtraked my way up to Santa Barbara to attend the city’s first Bicycle Fashion Show. The Show was a phenomenal success and I look forward to next year’s show.

I was very inspired by Santa Barbara’s commitment to  creating an environment visitors and residents could experience without a car, and the cohesion between the various cycling communities that is committed to making Santa Barbara a bicycling haven.

Santa Barbara Bicycle Fashion Show. Photo © Jeff Clark.
Santa Barbara Bicycle Fashion Show. Photo © Jeff Clark.

Two women, Brittany Odermann and Christa Clark-Jones organized the bicycle fashion show. Christa was kind to answer a few questions I had about what it took to put the show together and her answers are noted below.

What inspired you to do the Santa Barbara Bicycle Fashion Show?

I’m most fascinated with sustainable urban design and bike-friendly cities.  I have been researching the Cycle Chic movement for fun and want to amplify the bicycle fashion culture in Santa Barbara.

How did you meet Brittany Odermann? Who came up with the idea of a bicycle fashion show?

Brittany is a regional transportation planner, pedicab business owner, and a spunky bicycle enthusiast.  We met through the Santa Barbara bicycle community while it was garnering support for CycleMAYnia events.  CycleMAYnia is a month-long bicycle celebration in Santa Barbara sponsored by the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, Traffic Solutions, and Bici Centro. We both had the vision, but Brittany initiated the event and has been a great role model and support throughout the planning process.  She worked on event logistics (securing the location, permits, food and drink) and I led the creative efforts (gathering models and retailers, website design, and press).

I noticed that the bike community in Santa Barbara included a wide variety of bicycling groups working together (pedicab riders, recreational and utility cyclists). What do you think is the reason that the cohesion is so strong?

There are dedicated organizations that actively try to mend various bicycle niches. For example, CycleMAYnia, a month-long bicycle celebration, encourages new cyclists to try the cycling lifestyle.

Santa Barbara Bicycle Fashion Show
Santa Barbara Bicycle Fashion Show. Photo © Jeff Clark.

What were some of the challenging aspects of putting this show together?

The beginning of the planning process was most challenging. I had never planned a fashion show and I had to sell the event to retailers and models. It was intimidating. Once Anthropologie committed, however, it was a vote of confidence, encouraging us to create a sophisticated event. I spent a lot of time attending community events to share the bicycle fashion show and I always came home with some great, useful leads.

What are your goals for next year’s show?

I would like to see Santa Barbara Cycle Chic become a leading event in the budding Slow Fashion movement. While the event notably focuses on bicycles, I’ve designed it to feature sustainable lifestyle products such as local designers, reused clothing from The Closet, and Patagonia. The goal is to celebrate the sustainable lifestyle where one feels a strong connection and responsibility to both the urban space and styles. I would like to continue to focus on inspiring women and family cycling, hosting educational workshops and events.

If someone wanted to do a bicycle fashion show in their own city, what would be the first steps you’d suggest they do?

The first and most important step is having the event in a downtown park or building that is accessible to cyclists and pedestrians. Ideally the space has historical significance, creating community identity.


Thank you Christa for taking the time to answer the questions and for inviting me to attend and be a part of Santa Barbara’s CycleMaynia festvities.

Photos taken by Jeff Clark.More photos of the Bicycle Fashion show is available at his website.