Photographer + Illustrator: Alex Ostry
Heidi: How did this business come about, were you disappointed in the available products?
Alex: Cycling design has a beautiful tradition to draw on, but I always thought it lacked the wit, creativity, and subversive visual power of the D.I.Y. American art forms I grew with like Punk, Rap, and the East Village art scene. I think that’s what the people who respond to our brand like as well.
Unlike in the fashion world, most cycling sportswear companies are not started by designers, so design is often an afterthought. It’s just not integral to the process and consequently, it’s often hard to tell one company from the other. The norm in cycling is to talk about what factory made a kit. We are trying to change that and lead with design.
How did the name come about?
The Ostroy brand name is a bit misleading as a name because it was really Aaron Vecchio who came to me with the vision to make my cycling design work into a real company, so most of the success the business side has had is due to his tireless work. We have been lucky to work with many other talented, devoted people. I was just the one with a six-letter URL and a small following online so I get all the glory.
How does your love of cycling come through in the design, culture, and fabrics?
The brand started as a passion project, not just with the surface design but the cuts and fabrics. A cycling jersey is a very technical garment, much more than a baseball or soccer jersey. The tighter fit is very complicated and the modern hi-tech fabrics are amazing when they are used correctly. This process took years for us to develop and we really benefited from the tutelage of our Italian partners who have been designing, cutting, and sewing jerseys and bibs for generations.
How does your 3-D illustration work transcend into this project?
I’d like to think like any artist, all of my work and personal history are woven into what I’m doing now. I’d say the biggest difference is the work I do now is far more personal than the work I did for magazines and corporate clients years ago, and of course, it has lots more bikes.
Are you also shooting the images for the brand?
As the creative department I write the copy, take photos, design packing labels, posts, etc.
Are you doing daily sketches as a daily creative exercise?
I start everyday drawing, a bit like stretching or meditation, as a way to limber up my mind. Once and a while those drawings find their way to becoming jersey design, other times, event posters or and sometimes just a drawing I’ll post on our IG: OstroyNYC. We are a small company, so as the creative department I write the copy, take photos, design packing labels, posts, etc. I think our customers appreciate the handmade attention to detail in our brand. One day I may miss that when we are a heartless giant sportswear conglomerate, and Im spending all day yelling at subordinates and signing my name to younger more talented designer’s work.