The growing desire for stylish clothing with a high level of functionality has led to a rising trend in a genre of street-wear called techwear.
Techwear is clothing based on the use of special fabrics and construction for elevated comfort, utility, and weather resistance. Materials like GORE-TEX (thin, water-repellent fabric) are used to make the clothes, while well-designed pockets allow for utility and exceptional carrying capacity.
Techwear is also designed with comfort in mind, letting the wearer move without feeling the fabric.
Techwear consists of six types of garments: shells, mid-layer, base, pants, footwear and accessories.
Shells come in two forms; hard-shells provide the highest degree of weather, wind, and water protection while remaining breathable.
However, hard-shells aren’t as mobile as soft-shells, which are made of softer fabrics that allow for breath ability and mobility while yet protecting the wearer from light precipitation.
Mid-layers allow for extra insulation underneath the shell, and often add extra utility.
Mid-layers are also a great option when the weather does not allow for the use of shells.
Fleece and down are popular choices, and mid-layers usually consist of hoodies, sweaters, and light jackets.
The base or bottom-most layer of an outfit is used primarily for moisture absorption, and include basics like shirts and socks.
Pant-based techwear isn’t quite as popular, but offers similar functionality to hard-shells.
It can be argued that the greatest amount of innovation in techwear is happening in footwear.
Footwear giants like Nike and Adidas continue to innovate in this space, experimenting with style, functionality, and durability to develop their footwear.
Bags are also being redesigned for comfort and weather resistance, and to allow compartments for electronics and other items.
Techwear fashion is functional but can be hard to work into an existing wardrobe. If you are interested in techwear, it may be necessary to purchase complimentary pieces.
How to find your own techwear:
1) Be prepared to pay a lot of money for high-quality goods
Even the cheapest techwear can cost upwards of $100, and to really get into the heart of the trend, you can expect to spend much more. As the adage goes, “you get what you pay for.”
An integral part of techwear is the emphasis on quality, meaning that you must be willing to spend to get quality garments.
2) Check out famous techwear Instagrammers for inspiration
Popular Instagrammers like @archive and @edg.e offer a glimpse into the world of techwear.
3) Explore popular brands
Acronym, Arc’Teryx, and Patagonia are all popular (albeit expensive) brands in techwear.
For less expensive alternatives, check out NikeLab, Adidas, and North Face.