Women’s Biker Fashions Revisited

I started Diva Customs three years ago out of the frustration of not having any nice clothing to ride in. It seemed that everything on the market for women riders was originally designed for a man, just downsized for a woman.

–Tami Walker, Diva Customs

This same sentiment is what motivated me last March to write the post “Women’s Biker Fashions.”  I also submitted the article for First State HOG’s newsletter, which was then forwarded to the regional manager and drew the attention of high-ranking officials at Harley-Davidson MotorClothes Division!

Admittedly, even at the time I wrote the article I had begun to see some improvements in the ladies’ apparel at Harley-Davidson.  Nonetheless, H-D officials contacted our HOG chapter in an effort to draw recommendations of what our lady riders would like to see in the MotorClothes line.

I am very glad to see the many improvements that have been made in the past few seasons.  The MoCo really does have an eye out for its market, and is constantly working to satisfy our wants and needs.  Harley-Davidson has made so many improvements in the ladies MotorClothes selections that I felt it appropriate to post a follow-up to my original article.

I recently contacted Kathy Whalen, General Merchandise Category Manager, and was able to ask her a few questions regarding the changes in her division.

Q – I have noticed great changes in the MotorClothes offerings in the past year, particularly in attire that is appropriate for lady riders to wear to work in their professional-type careers.  Has that been a focus of your attention of late?

A – We understand that the passion for the Harley-Davidson brand continues after the ride ends. Offering lifestyle-appropriate apparel along with riding-appropriate gear allows people to express their passion no matter where they are or what they are doing.

Q – Thank you so much for eliminating the “boob pockets” that previously adorned so many of the ladies tops.  Have you received a lot of feedback regarding that particular feature?

A – We listen to our customer’s feedback when designing products. When we develop new products, we look at every way to make it flattering for as many customers as possible.  We strive to provide a balanced assortment of product that appeal to our customers’ diverse needs. We feature products that are custom designed for women, so they are much more than just scaled-down versions of men’s products.

Q – In what ways do you typically conduct research to determine what women are looking for?

A – We talk to our customers throughout the year, especially at events like Daytona, Sturgis. We also gather feedback through our dealer network and receive input from letters customers send us. In fact, our recent Skyline helmets for women were developed after specific customer input to MotorClothes staff at Daytona Bike Week.

Q – A few years ago, H-D offered a purple-trimmed reflective rain suit for lady riders.  I was in love with that thing, but as a brand new rider I wasn’t really planning on doing much riding in the rain.  By the time I decided it was a necessary evil, my purple rain suit was no longer available.   Any talk about bringing it back?

A – That rain suit received a lot of attention…in fact women’s gear in any color (more than just basic black) continues to be in demand. I can’t really comment on future products, however, we have a variety of new rain gear designed just for women with more feminine styling and graphics, including the Women’s Jettison Rain Suit and Women’s Spirited Rain Jacket & Pant, which changes pattern when it gets wet.

Q – I see you have recently unveiled the new Black Label clothing line for men.  Can you give us any advance hints of what is coming in the ladies department?

A – Right now, the Black Label line currently features only men’s styles. However, we’re always listening to customers and will take their input into consideration.

Q – I am so pleased with much of the new selection in women’s MotorClothes, but I still have to do quite a bit of shopping around to find everything that is available.  Obviously every dealer cannot afford to stock every item in their inventory. I see items at Harley-Davidson.com that are listed as “in store purchase only,” but I also see items in stores that are not even shown on the MoCo website.  And the seasonal catalogs I get in the mail only advertise the hot new merchandise for that season.  Is there any plan to provide one central resource that would show everything that is available?

A – Because there are so many products available and availability can change from month to month, it’s not always easy to show absolutely everything available all the time. Harley-Davidson.com is always a great starting point and will show you the newest products available to you.

It appears that women’s biker fashions are taking some giant leaps in a good direction.  I hope to see even more improvements in the riding seasons to come.   (I still want that purple rain suit!)  Until then, let me leave you with this video fashion show featuring me and all of my wonderful new Harley-Davidson apparel… and my new vest.