Published on the NEAT blog June 12, 2015 written by Kayla Browne, Co-Founder of NEAT and Commute by Lara Presber partner

Commute is the latest clothing line by Lara Presber, architect by day fashion designer by night. And somehow I weaseled my way into being her partner in this new fashion venture! Let me make clear, Lara is the fashion designer here and I’m the one who talks to strangers… and give my opinion way too often, which is not based on an formal fashion training, just my overarching need to constantly provide my two cents. BUT we both have a background in architecture and design in general… and work in the same studio and live in the same neighbourhood and both love cats.

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The realization of Commute started when Lara and I spoke about the appeal of creating one garment of clothing and doing that one thing really, really well. As well as designing something timeless that can be enjoyed by women of all ages – we immediately thought SKIRT, but it had to be more than that. We sat on that sentiment and picked up a month or so later with Lara’s philosophy of designing something out of necessity. You know when you look in your closet and think; ‘wow I really wish I had __________!’  This was Lara’s thought when she needed something to wear while commuting by bicycle, going to and from meetings, in at times plus 30, and still needing to look professional (not too much to ask right?!)! Being the classy broad that she is there is the need to look polished, and that does NOT mean wearing those disgusting cycle shorts with the built in seat, sick. Alas, the Commute cycling skirt was born out of necessity and tailored for fashionable commuting.

When designing, the biggest challenge as you can imagine, is the whole skirt fly-up while cycling. We spend MONTHS prototyping and product testing different fabrics, lengths and fastening types. We found that while the fabrics and lengths do play a significant role, the secret Commute fastener in the undercarriage of the skirt really is what saves the day. NO this DOES NOT make a skort people, this does not make shorts this DOES NOT make your skirt look like anything but a bloody skirt (you have no idea how many times I’ve been asked this, give us some credit!). All this does, in the most elegant of ways, is attach the front inner side of the skirt to the back inner side of the skirt on an elastic string that moves with you while you ride… AND WALK! Gone are the days of flashing everyone on that windy cross walk-run, you’re welcome for saving your pride and dignity.

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It gets better, the skirt is one size fits all! The waist fits from a 25” to a 32”!  All you need to do is locate your size (S, M or L) with the corresponding button hole on the inside of the skirt, then match it up with the corresponding belt loop on the outside of the skirt, tie a big old bow and away you go! It comes in two lengths, 21” and 25”, which look great on either tall or short women it just depends on how much leg you want to show. You can see here that I’m sporting the Basic Grey in the shorter length and it works like a dream!

Right now we are offering 3 basic colours – Black, Grey and Navy – retailing at $95 each. We are offering select special skirts all year round of varying colours and prints, right now we have a beautiful Watercolour skirt for May retailing at $125. Because I know you want to buy all 4, we are selling these guys at PARK’s PARKSHOP popup in Chinook June 25th to 27th, and we are selling at PARKSALE presented by Victoria Park BRZ featuring Sled Island in Central Memorial Park. PARKSALE is a free outdoor market with local artists, artisans and designers with live music and delicious food trucks. Come out to say hi to us and try on a skirt!

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Commute skirt in short grey, Club Monaco lavender leopard print sleeveless silk blouse, Leo Monk custom handbag, Market felted scarf, Dune London sandals, Stella & Dot sutton necklace, MAC lipstick in instigator

I could go on and on and on, but I will leave it at this, this experience has been both challenging and rewarding and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in Lara.  We hope you enjoy the fine balance between beauty and functionality in skirt’s design, and our commitment to Canadian made goods. Our goal is to provide worry free fashionable commuting to the urban woman all across the globe, join the Commute movement.

Photos by the beautiful and talented Sarah Knorr.

-KB