It’s 2020, so the term “techwear” is definitely nothing new to you. You probably hear it more and more each day. From reading it on your fashion-friendly newsletters to Instagram posts that specialize in stunting, it’s one of the year’s biggest hype magnets.
So, there’s a very popular question we hear quite often: what, exactly, is techwear? It’s a fair ask, and we’re here to help. Techwear represents a section of fashion that focuses on functionality.
Think of names such as Y-3 and what you see from its offerings. Yohji Yamamoto brings a mastery of futurism that continues to fascinate us. A big part of that involves a seemingly intense focus on pragmatic clothing.
Techwear in 2020
Some of the more popular options in techwear design involve special layers – padding for wind resistance, GoreTex for moisture fighting properties, etc. This helps us narrow the techwear category down to a more essential definition. If it’s value proposition involves more than a certain look – and in fact boasts protective features – it’s going to be techwear.
So, now that we’ve got that all settled, let’s tackle some more complications. The problems many consumers face with techwear break down into two concepts: styling and pricing.
For styling, the questions are rather straightforward. How do you wear this stuff? Can you only rock the latest futuristic techwear jackets if you’re trying to go for that Blade Runner look? Is this for me?
As for the pricing, you might already know that buying into this particular fashion trend is costly. The issue people have with pricing is more than just affordability. Even if you have the funds to blow on some premium techwear, it’s common to wonder if you’re getting the bang for your buck.
Well, those issues are what we tackle in this post. Naming some of our favorite techwear brands, we span through different ways to style techwear as well as some more affordable options. Because we love some of the higher end brands out there as well, we make sure to let you know what it is you are buying for so much money.
A conversation about techwear clothing without mentioning ACRONYM is one that is invalid. Of course, the brand is associated these days for their current run of hype-worthy releases (check out this collaboration Nike Air Force 1 High). But, this leader in functional wears is one of the elite options in techwear that we can stand to invest in.
ACRONYM, as you know, is quite up there in terms of its pricing. For those on a budget, you’ll want to avoid this section of the market. But, for those looking to spend a bit, you’ll find that this is a smart choice.
The brand’s winter offerings are quite straightforward. Plenty of Gore-Tex and inner layers insulate you from just about any chills. But, a subtle example of this brand’s brilliance is their techwear offering for summer as well.
Their Windstopper Active Shell Flight Jacket is as light as it is protective. The 2L Gore Windstopper fabric is an innovation that is unique to ACRONYM. It keeps the whipping winds of any unforeseen summer day from stopping you. It’s also superb protection against those sudden summer showers.
Other unique bits include two-zippers and removable external JacketSling to control airflow whenever you need ventilation.
The look: ACRONYM is a fantastic option for the sleek look of fashion futurism. But, unlike another brand we’ll be discussing, it leans much for heavily towards a strict definition of the word. Any ACRONYM jacket or coat you purchase will come with a wealth of innovative features that are unique to the brand.
There are hardly more than a few brands as recognizable in the techwear style game than Y-3. The brainchild of Yohji Yamamoto, this progressive name in fashion continues to spell-bind us with experimental aesthetics – not to mention a ton of function.
Y-3 comes about as the marriage between sportswear and chic design. In fact, that’s basically the entire ethos per Yamamoto himself. “My desire was and still is to make sportswear elegant and chic,” he says. Bringing together the sports wears of the Three Stripes brand with his vision brings about something new.
The result is a look ahead into the moment we’re in today. Ten years ago, when they first start out, Yohji and adidas believe they know what the future of fashion is. This sounds a lot like where ACRONYM’s Errolson Hugh and Michaela Sachenbacher were at as far back as 1999.
The difference between the two is that while ACRONYM sees function as uncompromising to form, Y-3 sees techwear more as a visual and stylistic revolution. The bomber jacket inspires Y-3’s Bomber Coat, track jackets take on unconventional zipping – and the list goes on!
The look: Y-3 is where you want to turn to for that brooding, dark look. The futurism comes via experimental aspects like stylized zippers and baggy fits. If you’re about the visual of fashion’s future, this is the brand for you. Y-3 is also a great choice for progressive footwear design.
Before you start thinking we’re only going through the expensive options, fear not. Uniqlo is perhaps the most popular option for budget-friendly techwear. The pragmatism sees no sacrifice while the prices cut down in half.
Uniqlo is a common name in the world of fashion. For some of us, you might remember the name as the choice of athletic attire for one Novak Djokovic earlier in his career – and the current endorser of Roger Federer. For the rest of us, it’s a consistent source of affordable, quality fashion. UNIQLO is also well known for their amazing collaborations, like the Uniqlo x JW Anderson.
Uniqlo categorizes their techwear into something they call Blocktech. Blocktech definitely lacks big-name advances such as Gore-Tex or some of ACRONYM’s signature tech. And yet, you still get plenty of bang for your buck thanks to some surprisingly protective layers.
The convertible collar coat is a particular favorite of ours. It’s as stylish as it is protective. The crisp exterior is waterproof and wind-resistant thanks to a cotton-polyester combination.
The look: it’s a refinement of the preppy style meeting the streets. Uniqlo’s garments keep that balance while ticking every techwear box and having some mercy on your wallet. They’re also a favorite of a certain online section of fans.
Another one that sits along the affordability range, Final Home is an essential part of understanding urban tech wear. Specifically, it’s a brand like this that helps us get a grasp on the future of this trend.
Kosuke Tsumura’s brainchild starts back in 1992. Final Home establishes itself as an avant-garde answer to the increasingly boisterous looks of the early 90s. Like many futurist designers, Tsumura has an active imagination. It turns out that he’s one of the numerous who sees humanity’s future as rather bleak.
And it’s not all about buildings degrading and infrastructure disappearing either. Though his brand comes about before the advent of the internet, Tsumura’s sense of dystopia melts into our post-web world.
The brand’s design philosophy seems to subscribe to the preparation for an apocalyptic future. The prime example of this is their full-body suit, a garment that can be insulated and used as a tent!
For our more modern scope, we look to the Home 1 Short Coat. Boasting full nylon construction and multiple zippers, it’s like winter wear meets a carry-all.
The look: It’s all in the name. Final Home presents the look of a pragmatic survivalist. If you’re the last person left standing after the apocalypse, you’d still be styling. Though lower in the price range, the imagination of its founder makes Final Home a time-worthy sentimental investment.
Image Credit: Y-3, Acronym and Final Home