MADE FOR THE OUTDOORS
Since the GORE-TEX membrane was launched in 1976, outdoor brands have been attracted to this technology for its waterproof performance and benefits. Early Winters, a small company in Seattle, released the first tent and the first jacket ever made with GORE-TEX product technology. Subsequently in 1989, the GORE-TEX brand promise of “GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY™” became enshrined in the brand’s marketing. Not long after, the fabric became a design cornerstone for the world’s leading outdoor brands.
A NEW DAWN
A new set of brands is proving that outdoor gear is just as useful in the city as it is on the mountain. Functional outerwear is repositioned to meet the needs of city environments, rather than just Himalayan summits.
As a result of anthropological and technological shifts, the demand for city-oriented performance-wear has greatly increased in recent years. As global populations became increasingly metropolitain over the 20th century, production and manufacturing capabilities were steadily modernized. This gave rise to a new crossover category of apparel: performance brands started to recast their designs for everyday life, while lifestyle brands began incorporating technical functionality, meeting in the middle to open up a hybrid class.
A GLOBAL STYLE SHIFT
Japan’s Daiwa Pier39, France’s Salomon, and America’s Woolrich are among the global brands leading this shift.
How humans dress themselves on a day-to-day basis has only become less formal over time. The protocols that once demanded men wear suits, ties and polished shoes, or that women wear elaborate gowns, have now relaxed substantially. Today’s attire isn’t so much focussed on outward appearances or traditions, but more attuned to utility, and the question, “What function will this garment serve for me?”
Off-duty sportswear is the end result of these different changes. We slip on yoga pants for a trip to the grocery store. We lace up performance running shoes to walk the dog. And we sheath ourselves in GORE-TEX jackets for our daily commute to the office. We have collectively adopted the term “athleisure” to express this shift.