Techwear has seemingly appeared out of nowhere onto the street scene over recent years. The aesthetic aspect seems to resemble nomads of a dystopian future, under the scrutiny of constant surveillance. As the fabrics and textiles industry evolves with society, techwear incorporates the latest and greatest technological advances that clothing has to offer. Constructed in such a way that it is breathable, waterproof, lightweight, warm and comfortable, whilst allowing full range of movement. The idea is to combine high end fashion and practicality into the ultimate garment.
Roots of the futuristic designs can be traced back to 1994 with the brand Acronym. With brands such as Nike ACG, Stone Island, Adidas, Cloudburst and Krakatau following suit in modern day developments, leading to some of the greatest technological advancements in sports wear, all thanks to the research done in producing techwear. This list includes Ultraboost, Flyknit and HyVent technology to name a few. All revolutionising the clothing industry with comfort, style and practicality.
These technical garments owe their existence to the development of Gore-Tex produced in 1969 by William and Robert Gore. Stumbling across the method of stretching Teflon to produce a “thin, porous membrane” of which was repellent to liquid water yet letting water vapour pass through. A revelation in outerwear at the time. Leading to brands like The North Face, and Patagonia to develop their own waterproof textile.
Colour schemes and patterns are pretty bland when it comes to techwear, with the minimalist aesthetic best suited for darker shades. Since the fabrics used are so technical there is no need to compromise practicality adding patterns when unnecessary. Instead pieces are branded with just logos and small prints to maintain the functional aspect. Fitting is very slim for a streamlined look and futuristic flair, with tapered designs and taped seams a fan favourite amongst brands. Combine the look from head to toe with a pair of Nike flyknit racers and you wouldn’t be wrong for mistaking wearers as 21st century ninjas.
Range of motion is essential for this style of clothing. Nearly all garments are produced in such a way that no resistance is encountered whilst wearing them, achieved with design elements founded upon human anatomy, combined with rigorous testing of fabric and seams in order to create the perfect garment. Smart fabrics are incorporated for breath-ability, so much so that the yarn used opens its structure when it detects water vapour i.e. sweat when it’s too hot to allow for cooling, yet tightens its structure when colder, in order to insulate and retain heat. Ideal for moving and great for layering.
Techwear carries more pockets and zips than any average guy would ever need. The idea behind this is to allow the wearer to carry multiple devices at once, knowing they are safe and secured in spacious, sealed pockets. These elaborate solutions when coupled with waterproof exteriors give the user less need to carry a backpack, allowing them to be just as nimble in modern society as you would if you lost all your clothes in the middle of the high street.
The main item you would think of when someone says techwear is jackets. Jackets are split into 2 different categories: Hardshells and Softshells. Hardshells are the type of jackets for everything, come, rain, snow, wind these are the way to go, only compromised by weight and price. Softshells are the light, durable sports layer to protect against light wind and rain.
Techwear pants sit in the shadow of the jackets. Whilst jackets are versatile with most pants from jeans to shorts, pants are vastly more popular with runners and fitness addicts. These pants still go through the same process for manufacture and are made of the same materials, yet can only be worn with other tech and sportswear. Although looking super stylish when worn correctly it can be hard for someone to pull off the look, which is usually why pants are replaced with joggers. Nevertheless, the ability to add, remove and stretch pockets is a very appealing idea, not only for practicality but for style.
Footwear and simple accessories are really where techwear comes into its element. With a sneaker war raging between Adidas and Nike, innovation in forward thinking designs is pushing footwear onto a whole new platform in fashion technology. Adidas boost yields “the highest energy return to that of any runner currently on the market”, Nike flyknit “yarns and fabric variations are precisely engineered only where they are needed for a featherweight, formfitting and virtually seamless upper.” All stemming from teams created to advance techwear. Accessories allow for the transport of bigger bulkier devices, such as laptops and smart tablets, in the sae safe, lightweight and waterproof manor of the clothing.
A style created and inspired by the future, a blunt divergence from what we have seen of recent streetwear styles. All of which makes you think, is techwear really is preparing us for the future?
Tell us what you think about techwear and if there is any up and coming brands you think we should check out?