Diversity Equity & Inclusion
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
We founded 7mesh with a view to celebrating the joy and reward of being a lifelong cyclist, and to that end we described the ABC’s of Cycling - Adventure, Beauty, and Camaraderie. Recently a local athlete suggested Camaraderie should come first, because it's all about the people.
We welcome all riders interested in 7mesh. Our commitment is to treat all people with respect, serve everyone with the best of our ability, and continue expanding our capability to do more for sidelined or marginalized groups as we grow.
We aspire to make 7mesh welcoming to all. For visual representation of diversity, we use a combination of local athletes, ambassadors, and models for our photography, to convey a wide mix of riders and communities. This is a small step towards inclusivity that we recognize could be viewed as tokenistic without further action.
To open riding for more people, 7mesh supports the work of others who are leading the way in breaking down barriers and improving accessibility & participation. Most of our work in this area is concentrated with the Indigenous Youth Mountain Bike Program. This year we are also supporting the mentors and mentees of the mountain bike program at Colour the Trails, who advocate for inclusive representation in outdoor spaces.
Most 7mesh products are available in men’s and women’s versions, patterned separately. We make unisex products in cases where we feel the fit requirements for various bodies are not fundamentally different by gender, for example with accessories. If we don’t make a women’s version of a style, it’s usually a legacy volume limitation at the raw material or factory level. Growth of the business along with sourcing of alternate materials has helped us progress towards achieving gender parity in our collection.
Body types exist across a huge spectrum, and simplifying into two genders/fits doesn’t serve everyone equally well. We provide extensive sizing, measuring and fit information to help you find products that work for you. Our service team are experts on our sizing and fits, and can help via live chat or email.
We want to stand against ableism, defined as discrimination in favour of able-bodied people, and are keen to learn ways our gear could work better for disabled riders. To learn from and contribute to the riding of disabled athletes and guides, 7mesh supports the Kootenay Adaptive Sport Association (KASA).
KASA is creating the future at the front end of adaptive mountain biking (aMTB), building inclusive events encouraging riding regardless of age or disability. KASA consults on trail design and construction, runs retreats and events, develops aMTB guide standards and training programs, and helps organize racing at the Dunbar Series in BC, Canada.
7mesh has been expanding our size ranges over time to accommodate more riders. We launched in 2015 with four sizes for women and five for men, and currently offer new products in six sizes for each, XS-2XL (women’s 2XL ~US 16/18, UK 18/20).
Spring 2023 marked the relaunch of our XL fit for women and XL & 2XL for men, and the debut of 2XL for women with our improved fit system. This reflected two years of work to revisit base patterns and the grade rules that control variation between sizes, specifically to improve overall fit in the larger sizes.
Styles are first prototyped in a single size for rapid testing, then expanded into a full size range later in the process. Grading into multiple sizes is rules-based for consistency, but all sizes are also individually measured on riders to ensure adjustments are made as needed. Patterning varies to accommodate the types of materials and construction being used. It’s much easier to fit someone in a stretchy next-to-skin jersey than a non-stretch Gore-tex jacket, and our product team has to apply their experience to get very different products to fit and feel similarly in use.
One impact of initiating product development in a single size is that most of our studio photography has been with models of “sample size” build, which doesn’t portray the inclusivity we’d like to offer. We’ve recently made changes to our seasonal schedules to have more sizes available for studio photography so we can increase the body diversity of our models.
Our commitment is to keep increasing the number of riders we can accommodate as we grow, and to work towards making all riders feel welcome at 7mesh. If we can’t serve you today, we hope to serve you further down the road. In the meantime, if you’re looking for plus-sized apparel, here are some places to look:
Outdoor Research is doing excellent work in plus size technical outdoor apparel.
Pearl Izumi offers portions of their cycling range in plus sizing.
Cuore offers road cycling apparel from XXS to 5XL, and customization as well.