Voices: Julian Roberts - Label Founder see the future of cycling.

When Julian Roberts founded Label Collective in 2024, he knew quite a bit about the bike business. He has been around bicycles peripherally his whole life, working with brand testing kits and in industry-leading brands with their apparel and products, helping them grow socially and physically.

Being a test pilot meant that Julian made mistakes and could learn from them. His unique perspective, which is not showcased as much as it should be, emphasizes inclusivity, where labels no longer define individuals.

The Label name is and always will be associated with journeying into the future. So we sat down with him to discuss that future.

How did you decide Label Collective would be your next venture?

I had been thinking about this for a while, working with some other amazing brands doing wonderful things in cycling. The opportunity presented itself because, at the end of 2023, I found some partnerships were not renewing due to the current economic climate in cycling. So I thought to myself, why not? What have I got to lose?

I feel there is too much focus on sustainability in cycling these days; "recycled" seems to be the buzzword of 2023 and 2024. While I am a firm supporter of sustainability, I believe diversity and inclusion are even more pressing issues.

How does Label differ to other brands?

Labels core principles are what makes us stand out. "Labels are for clothes. Not for people" & "Everyone has a story" This is what defines us, we want to give a voice and platform to every rider, no matter who they are.

We are driven by helping, not by profit. When you purchase a Label product, we give a 10% to a social cause though our partner Active Giving. We believe its important to support those around us.  

We also offer a repair or replace program, We want kit to last longer, but if its not fixable then you get it for 45% less so you can keep riding. Ive fallen, been there and know its not cheap to ride in good kit. 

The customer comes first—but even before that comes your proto-product. Tell us how the first Label product differed from everything else on the market.

The truth is it doesn't, and I would be lying if I said it did. Theres quality kit out there which I have had the pleasure of using over the years. Labels kit is up there in quality and we use the best manufacturers on the market that produce leading brands. We focus on performance and comfort and cost things realistically. 

What sets labels products apart is our story. When you wear a label product you are joining a collective with a common goal. Our connection collection using the finest fabrics for the weather and situations you'll use them in. From the cafe rides, mountain accents right to the race track.

Label Collective sustainable cycling jersey and bibs in Mallorca Cap Formentor

You’re a well-traveled guy. Where are some of your favourite places to ride?

I have been lucky to be able to ride all around the world, from New Zealand, Australia, The United States and all over Europe. One of my favourite places to ride is actually Norway, Whilst working for FARA bikes I got the chance to ride around Maridalsvannet whilst it was all frozen. It was my first time on studded tires but it gave me a whole new perspective. Also showed me that you can ride in what ever weather. There are no limits. 

But if I had to choose one to ride for life, it would be on my home roads here in Mallorca where I live. 

What would you say to someone whos looking for new kit? 

A tough one, I would love to say Label but that would be wrong of me. If you're looking for new kit, dont just go with the ones that are most ridden in. Read into the brand and see what there doing, do they resonate with your values and price point. We all want the best, myself included. 

Any parting words: did anyone try to dissuade you from starting a cycling clothing brand?

Nobody, absolutely nobody, Im lucky to have a good set of friends that are always up to support. Recently I realised that if you dont give something a go, you'll never know. Its also possibly the worst time to start a cycling brand too. 

I think of it like a ultra race: when I ride a ultra, I’m excited about it, and nine times out of ten I set my PR on that course if Ive done it before. If I come back and do it again, I know every turn and anticipate where it’s going to hurt. So consider this my first trip up the cycling brand climb: it’s going to have its costs personally and professionally, but the fact that I know how its worked for others helps me know where I need to go.

For more insights, photos, videos, and rides, follow Julian roberts on Instagram.

Updated: Published: