Maria Olsson is the Head of Design at cycle clothing company Rapha. After studying fashion and textile, keen cyclist Maria, joined Rapha in 2015. Maria works to produce smarter design and solve problems for the user, creating a better experience through a product that lasts.
Maria Olsson said…
“I grew up doing sports and it’s been a natural part of my whole life, the best way to escape and cleanse all the external pressures of the world away.
“I have my best ideas on the bike, and I think it’s the time where I let myself be the most me, no barriers, no game face, just whoever I am that day.
I have my best ideas on the bike, and I think it’s the time where I let myself be the most me, no barriers, no game face, just whoever I am that day
“I also love the community that cycling has created, for a sport that is considered a bit elitist and to have many barriers to entry, I have made the most friends within this sport, and within this community. I see it being the opposite if you take the chance to join in.
“You get to see paths untravelled by cars and find your own way, explore and decide what cycling is to you, and it’s always right there when you need it, that’s what I love.
“I studied fashion and textiles but never felt the desire to be within fashion as the more technical innovation side has always been more my thing, so I had the very fortunate opportunity with my first job as a ski wear designer after my second year at uni and I never looked back.
“It’s a tough industry and I think to make it you have to be strong, especially as a woman, but it’s worth it when you see the team growing with you, through the hard and the good times.
It’s a tough industry and I think to make it you have to be strong, especially as a woman, but it’s worth it when you see the team growing with you, through the hard and the good times
“The biggest thing I had to overcome was to find a balance between self-criticism and reality, and to be careful with where I spend my energy. I have failed a million times, but I pick myself up and get on with it, try to block some of the noise and the inner voices that all creatives have questioning if you are good enough.
“The thing is, everyone has these but for me it was about making smarter choices and realising that I could channel who I was at work verses who I was at home, it’s a blurry line but now there is a line.
“And the most important thing to remember and to remind yourself of, why am I doing this? And for me it’s always remained because I love it, even when I don’t.
“We have a strong vision for the women’s category and we definitely take it seriously, and for us the key objective is to get it right from the start. I have not worked with such an amazing group of strong, intelligent women anywhere and I think that really trickles through within the business.
“There is a strong female presence and they all are passionate about the sport and helps drive that forward. I think everyone can do more, but we are having the right conversations, and everyone is on board which is the most critical part of any business initiative if it is to be successful. The female side of the cycling industry is growing, and it is such a positive change and we definitely want to be at the forefront of that, and I think anyone would say that I am very passionate about it."