You’re not alone if you’ve noticed more than a few of your style-conscious colleagues dressing up like they’re extras in some futuristic, sci-fi dystopian thriller these days. Techwear is a bona fide phenomenon and it appears to be remaining here.
At its heart, Techwear is just what it sounds like: “technology” (sometimes in the loosest sense of the word) that you can wear in the form of intricately made clothes designed by a bunch of people whose rallying cry never sacrifices form for function. Today, the best pieces of techwear — the ones you are most likely to see lusted after online — come with enough practical information to please even the most passionate technology wonk, whether it is spelunking its way through a cave or speed-walking to catch the subway. Techwear has been bubbling up in fashion for a minute now, as a trend phenomenon in its own right. There’s just something satisfactorily reassuring about wearing clothes that can handle much more than it’s ever going to need, or so the thought goes.
Luckily for you, there are five major names that seem to dominate the conversation (some of them you might already be acquainted with), and knowing which names to drop is half the struggle to fit in, as with almost all niche subcultures. Provided you know what is fine, it’ll be a cinch to pick up the lingo.
No single man has done more than Errolson Hugh, the man behind the iconic cult label Acronym, to popularize the highly technological, exactingly crafted look that is becoming synonymous with modern techwear. When it comes to techwear, acronym is the first name on every list and Hugh is the
Their iconic compass patch and creative use of fabrics instantly distinguish most Stone Island items. Shadow Project, an ongoing partnership between Stone Island’s Carlo Rivetti and Errolson Hugh, brings to great effect the telltale dedication of Stone Island to ergonomic design by concentrating more closely on technological efficiency.
The Canadian outdoor apparel company has always been known for the sheer utility of its products, but more recently the Veilance brand line has relied heavily on the more tech-oriented elements of Arc’teryx’s practical design. Under the new creative director of Veilance, Taka Kasuga, the line remained focused on pushing content production limits and churning out some of the best value clothing assumptions around.
When Nike first introduced the ACG (or All Conditions Gear) line in the late ’80s, speaking of the swoosh, it probably had no inkling of how famous the sub-brand would become. Initially, the groundbreaking label served as an ideal outlet for Nike’s design-development concepts, particularly when it came to outdoor results, and in 2014 the sportswear giant relaunched the brand and gave some guy named Errolson Hugh the reigns over. Under Hugh’s leadership, ACG turned the techwear room into a low-key power player through the designer’s commitment to the urban ninja look he helped popularize. While Hugh left the label in 2018, ACG is still one for everyone who has invested in the scene to look for.
The North Face is one of the world’s most popular outerwear brands, and the Black Series range reimagines some of the silhouettes that have made the company famous by transforming traditional models with ultra-sustainable fabrics and advanced textiles. The line draws heavily from the deep archives of TNF to express a new perspective on elevated outerwear performance, all within the framework of contemporary urban explorers. Translation: Black Series combines wild materials like Tyvek and Spectra into items you’ll never have any practical need for, but will make you feel like a boss while you’re wearing them.
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