We take a look at 5 Techwear brands from the latest designers on the scene to classic outdoors brands that introduced the first GORE-TEX jackets.
Over recent years Technical Streetwear or “Techwear” as it is more commonly known, has become big business be it on runway or on the roads. The attraction is mainly due to the forward-thinking concept to provide utility, comfort and a somewhat futuristic aesthetic. And as the name suggests, Techwear incorporates state of the art garment technology allowing for breathability, movement & water-resistance to name a few. The demand has presented opportunities for successful new brands to emerge, yet also tempt existing streetwear giants to produce Techwear collections. Here we take a look at 5 Techwear brands that should be on your radar.
First up we have 1017 ALYX 9SM. Mathew Williams founded the brand in 2015, after having worked as creative director for Lady Gaga and Kanye West. An impressive resume by any means. Originally from California, Williams produced his brand in Ferrera, Italy to acquire the finest of Italian materials to provide premium products. 1017 ALYX 9SM is a unique and easily identifiable brand. The futuristic brand has built a trademark for itself due to the beautiful and unconventional craftsmanship of its buckles and clasps. A feature since replicated within the fashion industry and a compliment in itself to 1017 ALYX 9SM.
The regular use of lightweight, durable and often waterproof fabrics not only ensures sustainability of the product, but also offers a distinguished aesthetic, highly sought-after within the Techwear scene. Materials are just the start of the brands experimental vision, designers too have brought to life new silhouettes and alternative opening mechanisms to further differentiate the brand.
The story of A-COLD WALL (or ACW for short) is inspiring, especially for young budding designers seeking to follow the footsteps of Samuel Ross. Ross founded A-COLD WALL in the fall of 2015. Only 25-years-old at the time, the creative director stayed true to his unique concepts and his vision was soon looked upon by industry scouts, including none other than LV creative director and Off-White CEO Virgil Abloh. The brand has since won numerous awards for its innovation in Techwear and it’s not hard to see why.
Collaborations offer an opportunity for brands to showcase their creativity. Imagine, two of your favourite bands working together to provide the best of both. Easy to see then why collaborations usually generate a lot of hype and excitement, especially within sneaker culture and streetwear fashion. ACW is no stranger to collabs, and like many other brands their partnership with Nike generated a lot of attention. Especially with the make-up of Nike’s legendary Air Force 1 silhouette.
The North Face started in 1966 as an outdoor climbing retail store in sunny San Francisco. Humble beginnings for a brand which has since grown to become a household name. The beauty of The North Face is that they have always been a brand dedicated to the outdoors using innovative technology such as GORE-TEX & HY-VENT to name a few. The North Face are OG as far as Techwear is concerned. A Techwear heavyweight which offers premium products for the great-outdoors and yet looks great on the streets.
The North Face boast a number of products which have become “grails” within the history of the scene. Products such as the 700 series puffer jacket, offered in a wide range of colours. In addition, collaborations with New York’s Supreme, have catapulted the brand into the forefront of street fashion. Beyond the realm of reselling and limited exclusivity, the collaboration offers the perfect blend of street aesthetics and the latest outdoors garment tech.
Nike announced the arrival of ACG (All Conditions Gear) in the dawn of 1989 and as the name suggests, Nike’s intentions were easily identifiable. The All Condition Gear differentiates from mainline Nike with the addition of technical materials to cope with the harsh outdoors. The new materials were also partnered with original colour schemes to further distinguish the line.
The ACG line has grown to become a fan favourite within the Techwear scene and it is to no surprise. Tinker Hatfield, a celebrated sneaker designer behind many notorious Nike Air Jordan silhouettes, has also worked alongside the ACG creatives to offer unique and exciting products.
Similar to The North Face, Nike’s ACG line has been tested and proven in the great outdoors which attracts many consumers outside of the streetwear industry. Another point worth mentioning is that Techwear usually consists of black or very dark colours to correspond with the ‘special-ops’ style aesthetic. Not only has Nike ACG offered products which perfect this look, but they have experimented with the complete opposite, with “in your face” colour blocking styles.
From ‘Super Sunday’ football fans to international superstars, Stone Island has established itself well within luxury sportswear. The Italian brand is well distinguishable due to its finest materials and unique arm tag brandishing the iconic compass logo. Similar to Nike, Stone Island also has a Techwear collection labelled Shadow Project, a collaboration between Acronym’s Errolson Hugh & Stone Island’s Carlo Rivetti.
Stone Island Shadow Project aims to embody urban masculinity by uniting the finest of technical performance fabrics and gritty offbeat styling. The Shadow Project collection makes up of many workwear/lifestyle apparel, including waterproof parka jackets and sweat suits made with numerous cargo pockets and straps. Styling points all standard yet perfected within the Techwear scene.
The beauty behind Stone Island Shadow Project is that they offer a somewhat different take on Techwear. Products are premium and styling comes first. Shadow projects may not be able to compete with the functionality of some other brands listed above, but it can sure stand out on the streets.