The genesis of major fashion trends, more often than not, can be traced back to a former utilitarian purpose. While the cycling short is a relatively simple and sporty garment, the lycra athletic garment has a lengthy past with a bright and versatile future. From the catwalks to the treadmill, the cycling short is one of the prominent key garments to enter the conversation of Spring 2019.

Dubbed as the transportation for the masses, the bicycle revolutionized the personal power and freedom of the late 1800s. Originally, the riders would wear their everyday garments, providing a challenge for women at the time—restricted within their highly gathered and elaborate outfits. As bicycles became widely available, specialized garments became more commonplace. Riders began to develop and wear homemade wool shorts. Although wool absorbs and wicks moisture, ideal for long rides that would cause the rider to sweat, the wool was scratchy and caused chafing, an enormous problem.

With the start of the 1900s, manufacturers began to address the demand for a garment that would provide a comfortable ride for travelers. To avoid chafing, factories began to insert a leather strip into the seat of the bicycle shorts, dubbed a chamois (after the animal, a mountain goat native to the European Alps). When the chamois began to dwindle in numbers, manufacturers turned to sheepskin for the insert, alleviating the chafing users experienced.

Follow Jessa on instagram here.