April showers are upon us. That leaves style-conscious cyclists and people, who have their hands too full to carry umbrellas, in a tight spot. It’s hard to find raingear that doesn’t make you look like a cartoon fisherman. Even if you forgo old school yellow slickers for Goretex or Tyvek, the styles available are usually bland and unflattering.
Emma Jorn, a fashion designer based in the very rainy and bike-filled city of Copenhagen, was tired of having to sacrifice style for dryness, so she set out to create a line of feminine waterproof clothing. Called Takaokami, after the Japanese god of rain, the collection includes not only a poncho and a jacket, but a rain skirt, dress, floppy umbrella-sized hat, and rain snood for your bike basket. There’s also the Treien, a poncho for up to three people (or Siamese triplets), “perfect for festivals or making new best friends at the bus stop,” as Jorn writes on her website. In shiny black with elegant silhouettes, the collection merges high fashion and practicality.
The designs were inspired in part by a trip to Japan. In Denmark, “rainwear always is designed for survival trips in the Swedish wilderness or a three-month stay on a fishing boat in the North Sea,” she writes, but Tokyoites don’t let rain cramp their style. She saw rainproof stilettos and umbrellas in a thousand colors. The collection’s aesthetic fuses quirky Tokyo street style with traditional Nordic designs.
Many of the pieces have inventive features geared specifically toward cyclists (though they’d work for anyone who’d rather leave the umbrella at home). The rain hat is a mix of a wearable umbrella and an old school Nordic fisherman’s hat, called a South Wester. The skirt stretches in the back and it’s longer in the front, so when you bike, your thighs stay dry (and you don’t flash people). It’s also easy to fold up and snap into its own pocket, so when you reach your destination, you can change and stow it in your purse. The rain dress, with its puff sleeves, zippered front, and cinched waist, somehow manages to make waterproof fabric sexy. “We would love for someone to use it as a wedding dress in the rain,” Jorn writes.
Takaokami has shown at Vancouver and Copenhagen fashion week, and now the collection is funding on Kickstarter. Prices range from $94 for the rain hat to $252 for the three-person poncho.