This week, we’re putting the spotlight on one of our most iconic collections: Flyte. A favorite style of the Oiselle community – Flyte has continued to serve birds everywhere as both a must-have-basic and high-performance design for years.
To understand what it takes to design a collection this in-tune with its wearer – I sat down with Sally and the design team to discuss the collection’s birth and evolution through the years.
Megan: Tell me about Flyte? What makes it special?
Sally: Most "seamless" apparel uses quite a bit of spandex in it to create a compressive, close to body fit. We've always wanted something with more drape and ease.
When we created these styles back in 2012, we knew as runners and athletes, we wanted to get away from the "sausage casing" look and feel a lot of seamless brings. Flyte is an ultra soft, ultra light nylon-poly blend. The nylon gives you durability (tough!) and the poly gives you softness (touchable).
I still remember getting our first Flyte sample. I can't see the future, but I had a flash, a moment of intense insight on that day, where I knew the styles would take flight in a big, big way. That doesn't always happen, so it was a special moment I still remember!
M: Flyte is a seamless fabric – what does that mean? How is it made?
S: The easiest way to describe it is that seamless is made in a tube. Similar to sock construction, each tube has a size/circumference, and the garment is knit into the finished product. The most exciting part of this approach is that any design can be knit right into the garment, and is integral. Words, graphics, shapes, birds... you name it.
Our birds on the Flyte styles are created by a "drop stitch" in the garment which gives it a different appearance and lighter weight.
M: What inspired the designs? How do those emotions come through in the garment?
S: Birds. We love em. And our classic flock, as we call it, shows up throughout our brand - from packing to graphic tees to store signage.
Capturing this beautiful, evocative imagery of birds is quintessential to what we know and love as runners: the feeling of freedom and flight.
Throwback to the many years of Flyte #flystyle, in flight!
M: Flyte is an exercise in minimalism and restraint. How difficult is it to stop adjusting a great design? How do you know when you’ve gotten there?
S: Designers love to design, and we are sometimes our worst enemy in terms of moving fast. We frequently create great styles, and then just keep changing or creating new - when we should leave well enough alone. Fortunately, Flyte is one of those styles that was so strong out of the gate, and consistently year over year, that we knew not to mess with it.
M: When the fabric is perfect, how does that change how you think about color?
S: Color is powerful, emotional, and my favorite sandbox. With Flyte, you'll notice, the lighter the color, the less heathered it looks. And vice versa with more saturated color. Heathering is interesting in that it can change a strong, primary color like red into a soft, more rosy hue (considering the white poly yarn that does not take the dye).
Bottom line, Flyte looks good in almost any color, so it just becomes a canvas for us to paint on.
M: How has your own experience and relationship with running shaped how you think about designing a collection like Flyte?
S: Despite complex training plans, newfangled workouts, and the love of nerding out about gear (myself included) - the act of running is simple.
When I get ready for a run, it's where I seek simplicity the most. A top that fits great, that looks fantastic, and that holds up - run after run, and wash after wash.
It's that same desire for simplicity that drove me to start the company with our first short. When I surveyed the market, I felt that the offerings out there from the big companies didn't hit all of those criteria. I sought - and still seek - products that are straightforward and honest, well designed, and super durable. Flyte checks all of those boxes - and embodies my hopes and dreams for the line.