Lumenus — Founder Jeremy Wall’s take on Form, Function and the Future of Cycling
Lumenus makes no compromises on form or function. Their cycling jackets look like cycling jackets. The ultra-efficient LEDs are subtlety weaved into the overall design. Light settings are fully customizable. They can even strobe to keep you on pace for training. Meanwhile, the key components of what makes Lumenus “smart apparel” remain the primary focus of the design.
Lumenus is some high-tech apparel. You’ve considered just about every motion, scenario, and challenge associated visibility. Do you think the final products are more the result of necessary design or of opportunities offered by the accessibility of current mobile technology?
That’s a great question. It’s actually perfect timing based on what technology is currently available and being developed coupled with the growing needs of urban cyclists! It came from necessity, but has flourished because of the truly amazing litany of technologies that exist and can be integrated into our products. Wearable tech and smart clothing has finally reached the mainstream, but it’s functional fashion that is leading the charge. We feel we are a pioneer in the industry!
We’ve designed beautiful technical performance apparel that alone could be your favorite piece of gear. Then on top of that we’ve added integrated hardware and developed incredible software that maximizes the product even more.
Safety alone is inherently lame… if I am in a reflective hi-vis vest, I don’t feel cool because I look like a construction barrel.
Washable electronics are something we’ve really had to create new standards for. Waterproof didn’t make the cut so we’re literally inventing methods for this category. Also, it’s our ability to access affordable LEDs, flexible circuit boards, and low-energy Bluetooth that hasn’t existed previously that allows us to make Lumenus a tangible consumer product and not wildly expensive or elitist. The real goal is to save lives — we can do this by creating something that fits into your existing lifestyle.
I love that you’re all about safety. How did you go about designing Lumenus apparel while keeping safety your primary goal?
Safety was the goal and is at the heart of Lumenus — but safety alone is inherently lame. It’s true, if I am in a reflective hi-vis vest, I don’t feel cool because I look like a construction barrel. We took notes from the helmet industry. It doesn’t matter if a product will save your life; if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle, you won’t be adopt it. Clothing that is reflective and embedded with lights is far safer than anything currently on the market — it also just happens to be great looking, fitting, and performing gear.
When you first came up with Lumenus, were you thinking more about the hardcore trainer, the weekend warrior, or the daily commuter?
The first line of what has become Lumenus covered regular commuter cyclist to the hardcore trainer and everyone in-between. We’ve kept with that strategy today; the pieces are designed to be beautiful but are at their core technical fabrics and fits, making Lumenus some of the best gear on the market. We have lighter and heavy weight pieces along with pieces that transition for any temperature. Our line is really trying to make sure we cover anyone, but we are also creating a full line of pieces which will serve different markets and needs.
The real goal is to save lives — we can do this by creating something that fits into your existing lifestyle.
The current lineup seems most suited for commuters. Since you are design oriented, I have to ask, is there a future for race oriented safety gear?
Panjo gets the early exclusive on this… But yes we’re diligently working to create new apparel. We started with “every day” pieces that can easily transition between ride and life because there’s a huge market need. Riders don’t want to do a costume change every time they arrive at a new destination.
Part of my entire design philosophy is that we’re creating gear that is just as good, if not better, than the existing cycling gear that doesn’t have embedded technology. That being said, we’re putting sufficient time towards making sure we get perfect technical fits and performance out of our more ‘technical’ gear.
We are already in process finishing our entire line of 13 pieces that we will be showcasing for the first time at CES in January. This includes a few of the more sport specific designs. But our Spring/Summer 2016 collection will include a cycling jersey!
That’s the fun part of building a brand — we’re creating something that is much more than just a single product or service. The mobile app service, which will be continually updated and iterated upon, is something we’re proud to add features to perpetually. Simultaneously, the creative process is continuous and we’re always working on new creative and technical designs.
Savvy tech alone cannot solve every safety issue for cycling or traveling in general. Enduring change requires immense shifts in cultural attitudes. What steps can we as individuals, communities, cities, and a nation take to make cycling safer and a more permanent part of America’s social fabric?
I couldn’t agree more! It’s amazing to see the growth of cycling throughout the US. We’ve finally got a top 25 cycling city spot (big shout out to Minneapolis!). Daily bike lanes and vocal awareness in local communities are signals of real change. We’re seeing the beginning of a great transition towards self-reliance and commitment to improving the planet and ourselves.
One of the first things anyone can do (cyclist and drivers) is to make sure you know and follow the rules of the road. It’s easy to find online. Cyclist and drivers share the roads. We are all accountable for our own actions.
Secondly, communities need to realize the broader benefits of cycling. It’s carbon neutral, free, healthy, fun and promotes self-reliance. We’ll continue to discover new benefits with its growing popularity. 1/3 of all American’s commute only 1–5 miles, a short enough distance to cycle. Bike commuting has increased 60% in the last decade.
But probably the biggest piece of this is the need for infrastructure that inherently makes biking safer by separating cyclists from motor vehicles, the most dangerous variable. Engaging within our local communities and being involved with coalitions or collectives is hugely important. Once you do this, you see that your part of something so much larger than you realized. It’s only by connecting that we can unite to create change. I’m excited we’re a part of this movement and can’t wait to see where we will go!
I am sure your end goal is not simply to put a Lumenus jacket or bag on every rider in Los Angeles. How does Lumenus as a company plan to contribute to social action?
Like I was saying, we’re getting involved with the communities. Strength comes from being connected to like-minded individuals; through this we are empowering the change makers that we want to see impact our world.
We’ve started by working with groups through our KickStarter. We provide a unique link to non-profits and if they share it with their members, we are directly donating a percentage of donations back to those groups. (Please reach out if you’re interested) It’s tough to give back when you’re pre-revenue!
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Beyond that, we are involved on multiple levels with sponsoring groups we believe in — we’re already a booster of NICA and are excited to get more involved with local groups here in Los Angeles.
Lumenus is looking to create functional-fashionable wearable tech to do our part saving lives. It’s not the final solution but it’s something we feel will create an impact and represents the future we want to be part of.
Help support Lumenus by contributing to their Kickstarter campaign or reaching out to them directly. Links below.