Kyle Platts’ cycling jersey for Kyte makes “the invisible visible”
The project organised by Strange Beast’s Sam Gray is raising money for Crohn’s and Colitis UK, and Mind UK, two charities supporting people living with invisible illnesses.
- Jenny Brewer
- 31 March 2021
- Reading Time
- 2 minute read
Illustrator Kyle Platts has collaborated with Strange Beast’s Sam Gray and cycling brand Kyte to create a cycling jersey to raise awareness of an invisible illness. Gray, a keen cyclist, was hospitalised in the summer of 2020 with pains later diagnosed as Crohn’s disease. “I’d been living with (and hiding) the pains for years, and likely had it for up to ten years without getting help,” Gray says. After returning home he turned to cycling to help his recovery. “I knew I had to get well and cycling just made sense as the way to do that.”
Cycling, he says, has physical and mental health benefits – “there’s something about being on a bike, riding with someone else, that makes it much easier to talk and share things that you wouldn’t maybe talk about in the pub (when we’re allowed to go to pubs)”. He soon grew passionate about the idea of sharing his story in case it would help others, starting with an Instagram page and then creating a product to physically raise awareness, and funds for charity. This is when Gray landed on the concept of visibility, a vital factor in both improving cyclist safety and supporting those with invisible illnesses such as Crohn’s. “On a bike, being seen can save your life. I’d been diagnosed with a chronic but invisible condition, something that lots of people live with without telling anyone. It was finally talking and getting the help that I needed that started me on a healthier path, and I hope that creating something so visual around the idea of making invisible illness visible, can help someone feel more seen.”
He turned to illustrator Kyle Platts to envisage this concept on a cycling jersey. “Our aim first and foremost was to create something that people would actually want to wear,” Platts says, “but at the same time carried the message.” The illustrator says he also set out to create something cyclists enjoyed, not just fans of his work. The illustration therefore, draws on the scenery of a bike ride, abstracted with a Kyle Platts touch with vivid colours and a cartoonish flair. On the back is a neon yellow silhouette of a cyclist, playing on the idea of making the invisible visible through negative space. “To make the silhouette of the cyclist a less abstract form on this canvas of patterns and shapes, seemed to me a good way to demonstrate this idea,” he adds. Designer Leonie Golightly then tweaked the artwork to fit the jersey pattern.
You can buy the final jersey via Kyte here. All profits go to Crohn’s and Colitis UK and Mind UK.
GalleryKyle Platts, Sam Gray and Kyte: Invisible jersey (Copyright © Kyte, 2021)
Kyle Platts, Sam Gray and Kyte: Invisible jersey (Copyright © Kyte, 2021)