Technical fashion may sound like a brand new concept, but it’s already been here for quite a long while.
It’s a trend that started with versatile and technical jackets, designed to protect the wearer from the elements no matter if he was going down the city streets or going for a walk in nature.
Some fashion designers and brands have already been doing great work in this direction, but they were known primarily to those with more active lifestyles who knew well the benefits of technical wear, or techwear.
What the early adopters of techwear already knew for years, now comes down to the masses.
It’s the durability, the quality, and the useful features of this techwear that make it worth wearing it anywhere.
But.. What Exactly is Techwear?
The term is basically a combination of technical and wear, meaning the use of technical fabrics in clothing, like the well known waterproof membrane Gore-Tex that shields the wearer from the elements.
It started with the functional gear meant to be used in the great outdoors and from which it drew inspiration, but added style to the equation, making it worthy of being worn around in the city.
The main characteristics of techwear are functionality, versatility, and freedom of movement. Plus the already mentioned style. Techwear has some things in common with outdoor wear, but they’re not the same thing.
While outdoor wear is categorized depending on the sport you’ll be doing, like sky-touring, climbing, or hiking, and has specific functionality that caters to those exact sports, techwear is more versatile, allowing it to be worn in any kind of environment, including in the city, at the office, or during your commute to work.
Now let’s see who are the leaders of the techwear movement today and what they have to offer.
20. And Wander
And Wander is a Japanese brand that has been among the favorites of the underground techwear culture in the past few years. Their designs are based a lot on simplicity, but offer a good mix of high-end technical fabrics and traditional ones, making them warm and comfy to wear while not sacrificing functionality.
The company takes pride in making sensible clothing in which they put a lot of care, so that the end user will feel comfortable and at home everywhere wearing their techwear.
A Swedish label, Houdini focuses on sustainability, functionality, practicality, and minimalism. These are the core principles on which their clothing design is based.
The brand leans more toward the outdoorsy style, but that’s to be understood given the fact that they design their clothing to withstand Scandinavian winters and mountain expeditions.
The nice thing about them is that their fabrics are 100% recycled. If for example, you wear out one of their jackets, you could return it to the company to be recycled and they will use its fabrics to create new items from it.
Konundrum is a newer player in the techwear industry, but one with an interesting idea. This up and coming German company bases its designs on modularity. That means you could change and swap various elements, matching them to the client’s changing needs or desires.
That also means recycling is made easier, creating a circular journey for their products.
If they succeed, they might redefine the techwear and clothing industries for years to come.
The Taipei based company 4DIMENSION has brought some unique concepts to the world of techwear. Their offering includes an impressive combination of streetwear and functional clothing. The durability of their jackets it’s known to be among the best in the industry.
They do make multi-seasonal clothing, so if that’s what you’re after, they might be the only brand you’ll ever need. Their collaborations with other brands have also spawned some unique collections, so make sure you take a look.
The name might not be the easiest to remember, but their garments will appeal to many. A South Korean brand, 0608WEAR focuses on low key garments with unique traits and affordable price tags.
For some of their garments, they even use the tactical webbing called M.O.L.L.E. (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment), the bread and butter of the tactical and military world, used primarily by the United States Army, helping with compartmenting the space.
Their clothing is premium, but comes without the sky-high prices other brands push forward, which is a very good thing.
Byborre comes from Amsterdam, and comes with innovations in the fields of fabrics and textiles, functionality and aesthetics, which makes them a brand to look to for some of the most interesting garments.
Their pieces blend nicely in the wider world of fashion and clothing, without screaming “techwear” all over them. That’s a good thing for those who want the functionality while keeping aesthetics humble and simple.
Krakatau offers some next-gen designs and focus primarily on waterproof and insulated jackets and windbreakers. Their designs will make you stand out from the crowd with a unique flair and bright styles.
Apart from the functional jackets, they also have lighter tops and bottoms for the warm summer days.
Another Japanese clothing brand, Goldwing have a rich techwear history behind stretching for more than 30 years. They’ve recently opened their first stores in Europe and the United States.
The brand’s attention to detail and durability of their clothing made them a long time favorite of outwear oriented customers. The Goldwin group is also the one behind The North Face Japan and The North Field Purple label.
12. The North Face Black Series
The well known outdoor wear brand North Face has stretched their know how to techwear through their newly created Black Series branch, focusing on optimizing their garments for any kind of environment, from the great outdoors to the city streets.
Since its birth in 2020, the Black Series offered impressive pieces with forward thinking designs, highly technical in nature but sleek and catered for the modern city dweller.
11. Riot Division
As their name subtly implies, Riot Division offers cool looking pieces that are made to stand out from the crowd, whatever the crowd might be wearing. Their designs are red-hot, while staying true to their tactical nature, technical and functional qualities, modularity, and accessibility.
Their mostly neutral colors and that absolute techwear look makes them unique in the fashion industry.
The New York City based Outlier is a leader in workout clothing and versatile urban wear, a top name trusted by many. They use both proprietary technical fabrics and well known ones such as merino wool in creating casual garments for almost anyone.
Their lineup includes vibrant choices, with neon colors that’ll make you stand out anywhere, day or night, and all their clothing range is a good fit both as streetwear or for a night out in the city.
9. Herno Laminar
With neutral designs and color ranges, Herno Laminar is known for more than just techwear. But since their inception saw them crafting one of the most impressive and fashionable raincoat back in 1948, they’ve become a huge name when it comes to luxurious sportswear and outwear.
They offer weatherproof Gore-Tex jackets and coats, but also gorgeous items such as cashmere blazers that are water repellent and can withstand various conditions, unique tops and even some impressive footwear.
No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a high chance you’re going to find it in Herno Laminar’s offering.
8. Descente Allterrain
Descente is an old name in the outdoor clothing industry, born back in 1935. The Japanese brand creates timeless garment pieces appropriate for various conditions in the outdoor realm, especially when the weather is pretty cold.
Quality and durability are their top characteristics, and their techwear is focused on functionality more than anything else, with aesthetics in a secondary, neutral role, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t look good.
Arc’Teryx is a well known brand among hardcore outdoor enthusiasts, with an emphasis on climbing and technical mountain activities. It’s where you’ll find all things Gore-Tex, and garments for any type of individual, but without lacking fashion appeal.
It’s a name worn by many, from world famous climbers to social media stars, and everybody is happy about it and what it offers. There are plenty of options in their range of clothing, for both men and women, and everything’s catalogued depending on the intended use.
Inspired by the youth culture, A-Cold-Wall brings a nice blend of abstract and neutral designs to life, with collections that fit both the techwear and streetwear descriptions.
They’ve got full outfits ready to endure some of the worst weather conditions, but also items to complement the outfit of your choice. The aesthetic follows a more minimalist and creative approach, with unique creations that are birth out of collaborations with other famous brands such as Nike, Dr. Martens, and even Beats by Dre.
Veilance is basically a Canadian sub brand of Arc’Teryx that takes a minimalist approach to functional and weatherproof performance of their technical garments. Constantly innovating, they offer everything from heavy-duty all weather jackets that utilize the Gore-C Knit technology, to stylish nylon coats that can endure a downpour.
Despite being under Arc’Teryx’s outdoorsy wing, Veilance’s techwear is serious about the high fashion, making their garments very wearable in the city, with muted neutral colors, and simple, minimalistic silhouettes, while maintaining the superior and high tech fabrics that the mother brand is well known for.
4. Nike ACG
Dubbed the All Conditions Gear, Nike ACG is Nike’s sub-brand of premium performance garments that cover every type of sport you can think of. It all started with their hiking lineup, which expanded to trail running footwear, and now they aim towards the more extreme outdoor activities.
When you see that mainstream ninja aesthetic, you should think Nike ACG, because they were the ones to rise that trend to the popularity it’s got today.
With durable and highly functional clothing and footwear, bold colors and prints, and most importantly, affordable price tags, Nike ACG is nothing but impressive.
Isaora was born in New York City in 2009 as a project of Ricky Hendry and Marc Daniels, who wanted to focus on urban performance wear, which makes a lot of sense when you think of the Big Apple’s urban jungle.
The brand quickly grew and became an important player of the techwear niche, with quality and performance clothing that wonderfully fits both city life and active hobbies on the sports court.
Their wear features a futuristic aesthetic, with asymmetrical design lines, pockets, and various other details.
2. Stone Island Shadow
Born in 2008 as a child of Stone Island, the Shadow Project is driven by innovation, experimentation, and an avant-garde philosophy, pushing the envelope of fashion and offering fine performance clothing crafted from unique fabrics.
The brand pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in the fashion world, setting itself apart both from the parent company, Stone Island, and from other brands that look to offer something different.
Their darker aesthetics and unique take on everyday wear are a good fit for the modern individual that wants to keep the appearance of wearing something other than pure techwear.
Acronym is one of, if not the best techwear companies out there today. It’s a German brand that took birth in 1994, has quickly risen to the top and remained there ever since.
They’re seen all over the world as the godfather of techwear. If you’re not yet aware, they’re behind the iconic Burton Analog pieces of the early 2000’s, such as the legendary Analog MD Clone Jacket, Net MD, the Q jacket, or the Black Ops Jacket.
It’s no wonder Acronym is among the most coveted brands in the world today. They continue to drive innovation in the field, while offering some of the most stunning designs, blending the goth ninja movement with street fighter, science fiction, and cyberpunk looks.
- But.. What Exactly is Techwear?
- 20. And Wander
- 19. Houdini
- 18. Konundrum
- 17. 4DIMENSION
- 16. 0608WEAR
- 15. Byborre
- 14. Krakatau
- 13. Goldwin
- 12. The North Face Black Series
- 11. Riot Division
- 10. Outlier
- 9. Herno Laminar
- 8. Descente Allterrain
- 7. Arc’Teryx
- 6. A-Cold-Wall
- 5. Veilance
- 4. Nike ACG
- 3. Isaora
- 2. Stone Island Shadow
- 1. Acronym