Fashion

Luxury Outerwear: The Brands and Technologies to Know

Luxury Outerwear Y-3

Is luxury outerwear the new ‘It’ category? It certainly seems that way. From goose down jackets and fur-lined military coats to Sherpa jackets and advanced techwear, outerwear in the 21st century stands for a lot more than just protection against the elements. While in years gone by your coat was something thrown over your carefully chosen outfit as you exited the house, it has been transformed this century into modern new statement piece. And considering the amount you’ll be needing your coat over the coming months, rightly so.

What’s more, the outerwear industry is also reaping the benefits of recent advances in technical fabrications that are allowing designers to incorporate exceptional functionality into their outerwear without needing to sacrifice cut or shape. While not too long ago it was a choice of either style or practicality, new fabric innovations mean that both are today, a minimal requirement.

With the luxury outerwear market booming and more choice that ever before, we guide you through the brands leading the way and the new technologies making strikes in modern techwear.

adidas Y-3

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The brainchild of Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto, adidas Y-3 came into being in 2003 and heralded the beginning of an ever-closer relationship between high fashion and technical sportswear. In some quarters, the collaboration between Yamamoto’s fashion label and the sportswear giant marked the creation of a whole new category in fashion: luxury sportswear.

Ten years ago, together with adidas we created something that did not exist before and completely projected the future. My desire was and is to make sportswear elegant and chic. adidas is a very personal inspiration to me … it enriches my creative life.

– Yohji Yamamoto

After graduating from Tokyo’s Bunkafukuso Gakuin Design School in the late ‘60s, Yamamoto emerged as one of the most exciting names in Japan’s fashion space. Under his eponymous Y label, Yamamoto first mastered womenswear before expanding into menswear in 1979. Throughout his work, Yamamoto expressed a fascination with the importance of fabrication which is tangible in virtually every piece he creates. By the 1980s, he had received world recognition for challenging the notions of fashion and using untraditional fabrics such as felt and neoprene. His unconventional approach to fabric was at the heart of his collaboration with adidas which gave him access to some of the most advanced fabric processes available in world manufacturing.

Fabric is everything. Often I tell my pattern makers, “Just listen to the material. What is it going to say? Just wait. Probably the material will tell you something.”

– Yohji Yamamoto

Yamamoto and Y-3 create outerwear delivering industry-leading sports performance with the meticulous attention to shape, detail and aesthetics typically associated with high fashion garments. Its merging of luxury fashion and technical sportswear continues to pioneer the future of luxe sportswear, and its growing outerwear collection has undoubtedly had a resounding influence on outerwear designers across the world.

Woolrich

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With a heritage stretching back to 1830, Woolrich is the oldest manufacturer of outdoor clothing in the United States. Established for the purpose of manufacturing clothing for local workers, Woolrich has focused on outerwear since the very beginning and would later provide clothing supplies for the American Civil War and Richard E. Byrd’s famous Antarctic expedition. The brand is a specialist in wool (hence the name), with its first woollen mill established by its founder John Rich in its very first year of existence. Alongside its high-quality woollen fabrics, Woolrich today works with an impressive range of contemporary fabrics including nylons, polyamides, Teflon coatings and much more developed in order to keep out the cold and rain.

The parka has become a mainstay in the Woolrich collection since its introduction in 1972, offering a combination of practical warmth and waterproofing as well as a luxurious feel with Woolrich’s plush collars. The modern interpretation of Woolrich’s parka, the Arctic, features a special Teflon finish to guarantee resistance to snow, rain and wind.

Canada Goose

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Canada Goose is one of those rare brands that has become almost synonymous with the country it comes from – and is indeed named after. Creating outerwear designed to combat harsh Canadian winters, Canada Goose coats and jackets come lightweight or down-filled, with fur trims adding to their warmth and comfort. A fusion of timeless design and sleek aesthetics make the down-filled coats just as wearable in the city as they are in a snowed-in Canadian village, creating what could quite possibly be the ultimate winter coat.

Yet despite its heritage of creating jackets designed for bracing the harshest outdoor conditions, Canada Goose has become a favourite in the luxury outerwear space and is a staple part of street style snaps from fashion weeks around the world. Collaborations with brands including Vetements and OVO have followed and so too has expansion into Europe, with Canada Goose opening up its first—and impressive—European shop on London’s Regent Street early last year.

Where to start your obsession with Canada Goose? For women, the Kensington style-inspired Kinley is the brand’s hero and bestselling parka jacket with a robust Arctic-Tech construction, filled with North American white duck down and a snorkel hood to trap warmth close to the body. The parka is also cut with a modern slim fit—a key factor for its popularity. For guys, the Wyndham jacket is the male equivalent of the Kinley and a mainstay in Canada Goose’s collection, again with an Arctic Tech construction, white duck down, a coyote fur trim and the contemporary slim fit.

 

The North Face

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Today a household name in the world of outdoors, in more recent years The North Face has taken increasingly successful forays into the world of fashion and streetwear where it has become a mainstay brand. Between its creation in the late 1960s until the 1990s, The North Face was a pioneer in high-performance outerwear, skiwear, sleeping bags, packs and tents. An obsession with going one better saw the brand develop a comprehensive range of technical fabrics and technologies, and the brand’s collection today is a testament to the breadth of innovations it has made over the past 50 years, not to mention the new technologies it is developing each and every season.

As the boundaries between fashion and sportswear began to blur during the early ‘00s, The North Face was increasingly looked to by fashion aficionados for its technical quality as much as its timeless silhouettes. The brand has thrived in the fashion space over the past 15 years, collaborating with brands such as Supreme and Vans to create much sought-after collections. That said, it remains to be The North Face’s selection of outerwear that epitomises the technicality, quality and aesthetic of the brand and for which it is looked to every season.

Herno

As a heritage brand now at the forefront of technology, Herno provides well-made functional coats and jackets resistant to the rain, wind and outdoor exposure. Created by Guiseppe Marenzi and his wife Alessandra in 1948, the Italian sportswear brand has grown from strength to stregth maintaining their tailoring skills and craftmanship throughout.

Named after the river Erno that passes through the headquarters of Herno, the brand name pays homage to their initial inspiration: water. With previous experience in WW2 and employment in a raincoat manufacturing company, Guiseppe found ingenious solutions to improve waterproof materials. This, paired with his inspiration to find adequate clothing to protect against harsh winters, and passion for Italian style, fuses Herno’s legacy.



Olivia Seed

Olivia Seed

Editor

A minimalist fashion fan with high interests in the odd print or check. Constantly trying to make my home look like a catalogue; you can find me shopping for cute bedding, candles and other Instagrammable interior accessories.