Tenet Supply

Adelaide-based Tenet Supply is one of the newest Aussie cycling kit brands to forge their niche in our glorious domestic scene. I caught up for a long and fascinating chat about the foundations of their brand and the the journey they went on to release their first run of kit.

Words - James Raison

Victoria and Lewis

The masterminds of Tenet supply are Victoria Paterson and Lewis Guerlin Hanlon. These enterprising 23-year-olds are bringing their design, art, business, and sales experience together to make the ultimate cycling kit.

Like so many kit companies, Tenet Supply was born, as Victoria explains: “to solve a problem for ourselves and find kit that we wanted to wear.” They’d dabbled in one-off kits for themselves and friends previously but not for the general public.  

Once they decided to proceed with their business plans, kit samples converged from all over the world (Portugal, Romania, Spain, Italy, Australia and a few others) for Lewis and Vic to test. There was a huge amount of variations for them to process: “Each company made their kit to a different body and different season. Fit and quality were huge issues too. Then we just went on heaps of test rides to see if we wanted to wear it.”

After months of assessing samples from around the globe; “the best made and best fitting product came from Australia.” 

Art becomes kit

Our own photographer Lana rocking Tenet Supply

Our own photographer Lana rocking Tenet Supply

The most fascinating part of my chat with Vic and Lewis was around the design process for the patterns that end up on Tenet Supply kits. It shows their uncompromising commitment to their vision. 

The first three Tenet Supply jerseys are based on Vic’s works of art. It’s a difficult and time-consuming process. First, a pattern is digitally designed. She then cuts or etches the design into linoleum or plastic - or as Lewis describes it: “makes it analogue”. It’s then run through a printing press onto some very expensive paper before it is re-digitized into Abobe Illustrator and meticulously placed onto a jersey template. 

That interplay between art and sporting apparel is what makes Tenet Supply special. Every jersey rolling around on the road has corresponding piece of art in Vic and Lewis’s home. There are certainly easier ways to design kit, and ones that require far less emotional investment of their creators.

Even the manufacturing process is affected by the design. On occasion the source patterns have been knocked back. Lewis explains that their manufacturer has occasionally told them it’s simply “not possible to print and stitch to that level of detail” demanded by some of their design.”

The First Run

The first release included just 120 jerseys across 3 patterns for men and women. The positive response has been one of the biggest surprises for Vic and Lewis. They’ve sold well and received very positive feedback, even within the industry: “other brands have said ‘great work, we love your stuff!’” Their desire to improve has left them wanting for negative feedback: “we kind of want some negative feedback to help us develop the perfect jersey.”

Closer to home, there are plenty of Tenet Supply jerseys rolling around Adelaide. Lewis describes it as: “so weird bumping into people [in our jerseys] and trying not to be a dork about it!” 

The Future

Vic and Lewis are already looking ahead to their next round of gear, and the future direction of their brand. They want to add bib shorts to their repertoire, something they didn’t do initially because they weren’t satisfied with anything they tested. They’re also looking into different materials and blends for different climates. It will be an interesting development to watch, given their commitment to quality.

Wrapping Up

Tenet Supply has clearly hit a section of the cycling zeitgeist of today where people are starting to look for design before branding. Their logo is minimally stashed on a jersey pocket, leaving Vic’s artwork to be the star. Pro cycling is a design wasteland of sponsor-pleasing logo splatter but your average punter isn’t constrained by contracts or sponsorship. Some people want art, and Tenet Supply is giving it to them.

I am intrigued by what Tenet Supply will do in the future. Making kit based on art means the designs will always be interesting and not constrained by normative trends in cycling gear.

BUY: Tenet Supply is available directly from their website.