Jenna Stellar crashed hard without quality gear and paid the price. Her Stellar Moto Brand gear hopes to save other ladies (and gentlemen) from the same fate
Words by Joy Burgess
Photos courtesy Stellar Moto Brand, Bad Beard, John Ryan Hebert, Sam Ray and Jessie Gentry
You hear the proverb ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ all the time, but Jenna Stellar’s case is particularly apropos.
Stellar, a Hollywood stylist and costume designer, tore up her knee badly in a motorcycle crash a few years back and spent months in recovery. But her rehab time wasn’t just spent thinking about style and wardrobe for Sunset Boulevard glitterati. While in physical therapy, Stellar rekindled a fire that’d been smoldering for years – her own women’s moto gear business, one that melded high-end style with advanced protection.
“I ended up in the hospital and was pretty torn up,” she told Thunder Press. “Later, during physical therapy, I suddenly had all this time on my hands. I was pissed I hadn’t protected myself with better gear, and there wasn’t anything good out there in women’s gear. I’d thought about starting my own company for so long, and now I had the time and motivation to do it. It was really stupid to have chosen vanity over protecting myself, and I wanted to give women better options so they didn’t have to learn this lesson the way I did.”
The result was Stellar Moto Brand, which Stellar launched three years ago – though it took about a year and a half to get the business off the ground, with much of that time was spent researching and finding the best fabric technologies to create gear that would keep women safe.
“I put it all together [during that recovery period],” Jenna told Thunder Press, “the knowledge, patterns, design ideas, thoughts about what I – and other women – wanted to wear. I started researching the best technology, and for a year gathered everything I needed. People think [motorcycling’s] all fun and games…until they go down. I believe there’s a way to learn from other people’s suffering, and that’s the philosophy behind Stellar.”
That melding of style and top-shelf protection has yielded a unique and technical line of gear, one that’s resonated nicely with female riders over the last 18 months. Aside from stylish looks, Stellar uses some seriously leading-edge materials and technology, including Dyneema (a synthetic fiber that’s 15x stronger than steel yet lightweight enough to float on water) and SAS-TEC body armor, which surpasses basic CE level values by 50% and can sustain multiple impacts while remaining fully functional.
But over and above peerless protection, Stellar wanted women to have stylish gear so they didn’t need to choose between looking great and being protected.
“I want people to be able to express themselves,” she told us. “We put all this energy into our motorcycles, but women haven’t had the chance to express themselves in moto clothing. I love seeing people go all out, even if it’s not my style. It’s so much fun. I’m a little bit rock-’n’-roll with my designs.
“Armor is a bigger deal than most people think,” she added. “Many women have jeans that are abrasion-resistant, but impact protection is huge. If you don’t know this you probably haven’t had an accident. Once you’ve gone down you realize that even a small amount of armor in certain places is a game-changer, so I put armor in the knees, hips, elbows, back, and shoulders,” she continued. “I even have chest armor, which is especially good for dirt riding and flat track. It makes things more expensive, but ambulance rides are way more expensive, trust me!”
As Stellar works to educate women on the protection they need, her only regret is not starting this business sooner. “Seeing more women riding these days is amazing, and it inspires me. I think if I’d have seen more women racers on the track when I was little, going to all those races with my Dad, who was a sidecar racer, I’d have started sooner.”
Though she didn’t start riding motorcycles seriously until her 30s, Stellar’s motorcycling roots run deep. “We were always going to the races when I was a kid, she added. “My dad would tote me around in his ’64 Triumph Bonneville 650 sidecar. I was just always around motorcycles; that was completely normal for me.”
After her father passed away from a motorcycle accident, Stellar got her license at age 18…but seeing her mother’s face when she saw it made Stellar put away her license for years. Yet motorcycling was always in her blood, and her brother continued to influence and inspire her. “He started riding before I did,” Stellar remembers, “on the street, and then in a club called the Cretins. They’d go to the racetracks and race vintage bikes, and he ended up hanging out with all the sidecar people we knew growing up.”
Nowadays, she says, it’s all about inspiring and protecting women – and men, too, as her line includes gear for both ladies and gentlemen riders.
“I want everyone – and women, especially – to know they don’t have to sacrifice style for protection,” she told us. “Women have told me stories of how they’ve gone down and that my gear saved them. That’s exactly why I do this! And we do it the right way, without cutting corners. We are worth it!”
It might be a stretch to call Jenna Stellar the ‘Mother of Invention,’ but it’s really not that far off. You go, girl!