Launching a new brand of cycling clothing in Portland

Former Nike designer and outdoor industry veteran George Nelson has launched Kansept1 (sounds like “concept”), a new cycling apparel company.

George T. Nelson (“GTN”)

Nelson’s apparel design resume includes brands like Pearl Izumi, Patagonia, DaKine, Fox Racing, Merrell and others. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, then moved from Boulder, Colorado to Portland in 2004 to work as a senior apparel designer for Nike’s All Conditions Gear (ACG) brand.

The company’s initial offerings include a selection of jerseys ($120), bib shorts ($175), socks and t-shirts for men and women. The collections went live last week.

Nelson says Kansept1 brings two of his passions – cycling (especially its competitive side) and product design – “come full circle”. “I started bicycle racing when I was living in New York in the late 80s and early 90s,” Nelson shared in an email yesterday. “For most of my time in New York, I didn’t own a car, so my bike allowed me to escape the weekends out of town on long club rides and errands to the county. from Westchester and Nyack and down to Long Island and New Jersey.”

Nelson, now 58, still loves to ride and run and still designs products that he would wear. When asked how he would describe Kansept1’s aesthetic, Nelson replied, “It’s always hard to answer without sounding a little pretentious, isn’t it? But I guess it would be “modern classics”.

Cycling apparel is a fiercely competitive market and Nelson will fight for customers with brands like Rapha, MAAP, Le Col, Eliel and many more. It’s a far cry from Nelson’s debut in Pearl Izumi. “There were really only a handful of bona fide players in the industry, and to be honest, they really weren’t doing a great job on the style and fashion side,” he says. “Today’s rider is more sophisticated and better informed and demands more choice, style and quality.”

Kansept1’s debut collection is road/gravel focused, but Nelson says a much bigger offering is in the works.

Check the Kansept1 website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram for the latest drops and offers.

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