Winter 2019 - Inside Outdoor Magazine

Inside Outdoor | WINTER 2019 46 T raditional workwear has long been a part of the outdoor en- thusiast wardrobe. Similar to the heavy denim and canvas garments rummaged up at army surplus stores, workwear’s heavy, reinforced pants were standard issue at climbing spots – at least until folks such as Yvon Chouinard and Liz and Royal Robbins decided climbers need a look of their own – and brown overalls were as common a sight at campgrounds as single-mantle kero- sene lanterns. Today, despite the fact that myriad options exist for outdoor performance apparel, workwear is making a bit of a resurgence, both within outdoor seg- ments and the larger fashion world in general. It’s a movement being push forward by a number of separate but converging trends, as well as innova- tions in durable textiles. For evidence of the workwear trend, one only need look to legacy outdoor brand Patagonia, which re- cently launched a DTC workwear col- lection, along with the rancher/farmer/ laborer influence now found within the lines of familiar outdoor brands such as Toad&Co., Royal Robbins, Mountain Khakis, Helly Hansen, Obermeyer and Outdoor Research. Calvin Klein, mean- while, worked high-visibility jackets and jumpsuits into its Fall 2018/19 fashion shows; while at the Milan Men’s Fashion Week AW18/19, Prada sent out models layered with wipe-down nylon utility belts and cross body bags. Then there’s Car- hartt’s ongoing penetration into the urban menswear segment, while still hitting the workwear market with inno- vative cross-functional designs such as its Full Swing Steel Line. “Throughout our brand’s 130-year history, consumers have relied on the durability of Carhartt products to serve them both on and off the job,” said Deb Ferraro, vice president of product development at Carhartt. “With the introduction of modern fab- rics like soft-hand duck, and product technologies like Rugged Flex, Rain Defender, Full Swing, and Carhartt Force, Carhartt consumers now have access to purpose-built gear designed to withstand the elements whether they’re taking on the rugged outdoors for work or for recreation.” Of course, the forces behind work- wear’s influence within outdoor apparel collections are somewhat different than those leading to its appearance on New York runways (some crossover notwith- standing). Within outdoor segments spe- cifically, a major driving force is durability, particularly as it relates to sustainability. Indeed, a recent consumer survey from Portland State University’s Center for Retail Leadership found that durability – or providing items built to last – was the number one way in which respondents said brands could behave sustainably, even more so than utilizing eco-innova- tions within fabrics and componentry or adding efficiencies to the supply chain. By Martin Vilaboy Get to Workwear Workwear styles and influences play to prevalent trends in outdoor Outdoor Research’s Wilson shirt-jacket would look at home on any work site