At the crux of our postmodern slash futuristic era, a group of smart people congregated around a small fire on a nippy winter night, all poised and inundated in the same question 'When is our wear going to stop wearing us down?'
And thus, techwear was born!
You've read it right- For centuries, various fashionistas, stylists and experts in all fineries dictated the esoteric world of style according to their whims.
They might have dropped their silly wigs, ostentatious robes and flashy paraphernalia, but the issue had always stayed the same- If you wanted to be 'in', you would have to suffer.
Telling people that they have to lose a hundred pounds, have luscious amounts of money or move in a diffident manner as to not damage their goods, just to be fashionable, isn't going to work forever; Maybe for a few millennia, but we're now finally at a point in time where enough became enough.
We're now dawning on a new era, an epoch where comfort, flexibility and self-reliance trump mindless, exorbitant flamboyance.
We're entering the vast, silly, a bit obscure yet practical world of techwear!
Fasten your seatbelts and hang on to your popcorn, for newcomers will find this to be a ride of their lifetime.
Show Me What You're Made Of!
For techwear to even deserve the moniker and adulation of uniqueness it currently enjoys, it had to sizzle its way through fashion in a revolutionary manner.
Starting of with three distinctive traits found in every style of Techwear, we can wiggle our way into what makes the clothes contemporary in modern street wear and fashion!
First question: Why would anyone want to wear clothes with multiple layers? Aren't they just going to sag, rub you the wrong way (quite literally) or feel like a burden during your entire waking time?
This is the first impression many fledglings get towards the style, not just the common Joe who has never seen a catwalk in his life, but pundits and experts from all walks of fashion.
The answer is a bit more convoluted than one might think: A combination of breathability (not just of the wear, but your damn skin too), water resistance and the extraction of any accumulated moisture.
To get a bit more into the science behind it all, let's consider the three most popular ways of constructing common techwear apparel.
The Two-Layer Construction
Composed of an outer layer that is filled with fabric and an inner layer that resembles a laminated membrane.
The internal coating serves as the heart and soul of any techwear cloth, promising water resistance and air flow throughout the day.
The 2.5 Layer Construction
A toss-up between the first and the third option.
Where it loses on its durability and problems with upkeep, it shines with being much lighter and easier on the wallet.
The Three Layer Construction
The 'saggiest' choice of them all. Water resistance and air flow being the top priorities, its tripartite system allows for perfect flow.
This was just a basic rundown of the fundamental layers. The thing about techwear is that it's constantly evolving.
By the time this article hits the digital world, there might be another layer or two added to the fray.
Here's one for size: The Pi coating!
Just a quick note, for any companies gorging themselves on the idea, we claim copyrights on it!
Impervious To Water
First and foremost, that's a lie.
You won't be able to take a quick swim in your techwear, so don't even try, it won't suffice as a substitute for your bathing suit.
While rain and other tumultuous weather disasters won't be an issue, you'll have to check on the limits of each techwear cloth on your own.
Breathe It In...
Breathability might be the most controversial point of them all.
Yes, techwear, in comparison to other street clothing and especially to the zany choices of fashionistas is a lot more liberal towards your depreciated skin, but you'll still have to be careful during your purchase and conduct due diligence.
Here's the thing, while many if not all companies will claim 'breathability' to be on top of their bucket lists, it's hardly a regulated feature, so you'll have to be wary of slick salesman trying to score a quick buck!
While this might sound a bit too gloomy, you don't have to worry at all! We're here to show you the ropes and we'll gladly do it for free, as our love and appreciation for techwear knows no boundaries!
Remember that air flow is measured in grams, as in, how much water is to move in and out during a set period of time.
On the other hand, water resistance is measured in millimeters (0,03 inches), with anything capable to withstand less than 10,000 mm being undesirable, speaking from vast experience, understandably.
Are You My Type of Techwear?!
What many people don't realize is that techwear is so revolutionary that it had to invent different handles just to be able to rationalize itself to the world!
Can you imagine the sheer lunacy of that?!
Let's not spend too much time philosophizing on the topic, jumping straight into the madness will save us the trouble of banging our heads against the wall.
Hardshells V.S Softshells
For the uninitiated, a shell represents any upper body piece of cloth that covers your undershirt/normal T-shirt.
Many a Mr. Nobody settle for the term 'jacket', while not wrong, isn't entirely right.Calling something a jacket just because it goes over a layer of clothing is plain wrong, but since our climate is balmy as it is (we aren't living in a dessert or on the North Pole!), the 'jacket tag' is acceptable.
On to the two main distinctive forces between shells, which are nothing more but a simple dichotomy dictating the amount of protection you get from each type. Naturally speaking, this would mean that hardshells would be more expensive, corpulent, with impaired mobility (in lieu of their weight and when compared to softshells) and guaranteed breathability.
Softshells, on the other hand, suffers from depreciation, not so much the price tag itself (some brands, like ACRONYM, have high resell value and are often out of stock!), but the fact they can't pull their weight as long as hardshells can.
However, this nifty little drawback gave designers a lot of scope for creativity, with softshells enjoying high prominence among athletes and outdoor hobbyists.
The Useless Mid-Layer
Are you over the top? Do you want to resemble a statue of high reverence? Settle for a mid-layer!
We're just pulling your leg, a mid-layer is usually not needed to complete an outfit but is sometimes used to give that extra palette of enchantments many techwear styles miss. For example, the most popular adornment is simply known as the 'down', a small coating made out of feathers that aid in breathability and general mien.
Nobody Sees The Base
Respect for the bass guitar has always been hard to come by, many fans often flock to the riff player and the poor bass wielder never gets his time of the day. Quite conversely, just as a song can never sound the same without a steady bass complimenting it, you'll never complete your outfit without a solid base.
Your underwear, socks, undershirts and other obscured pieces of clothing are there to provide a sense of comfort, as they stand as the first line of contact between skin and cloth.
Pants? What about Hardshells?
The most controversial thing about techwear has to be its versatility. How can a style dangle so dangerously high between two opposite poles and still be peddled as an 'anti-fashion' phenomenon.
Pants, while not gaining much traction in the manufacturing cycles, are becoming more and more sought after, especially by those transitioning from their former style and on to techwear.
Remember, you don't have to do a 360 transformation when transitioning into techwear, baby steps are not only fine but preferable and this is where simple pants come in!
They outperform hardshells with their increased pocket amount, their biggest forte being 'social acceptance', as in, nobody is going to be flinging weird looks at you for settling with techwear!
Footwear – Blandwear
The one thing techwear really seems to waive is footwear. Instead of brandishing yet another unique apparition, enthusiasts are left to choose between sporty sneakers or bolstered shoes, the latter aimed at protecting your feet.
We want you to pay special attention to this part of the write-up: Not because you’ll miss any sanctimonious soliloquies from our experts, but for the simple reason that you don’t wanna mess up your four figure clothing investment.
Call me Mr. Scrooge all you want, if I were to lose a quintessential piece of any part of my clothing, fully knowing that I could have prevented it with by having THIS much of an attention span, there would be hell to pay.
The fact that Techwear is a bit on the steep side is not a well hidden secret, to say the least.
Moreover, we have dedicated an entire section on handling the cunning price tag that comes with the style, but for now, just keep in mind that one wrong move (wrong temperature) could have disastrous effects on your clothes – and your wallet.
Now that we’ve gotten you in the right frame of mind, let’s take a look up close at what constitutes a happy camper and what actions most definitely will turn that smile upside down.
Don't Be Shy To Ask The Manufacturing Company / Store About The Specifics
This is the most important step in the entire conundrum.
For us to have the gall and simply claim to have a one-hit wonder that would cover all Techwear styles would not only be highly unprofessional but also disingenuous and outright deceitful.
Skipping all the lines and contacting the manufacturer directly is the most intelligent course of action, since they will be very inclined to help you out. The same goes for any store, especially if your warranty is still active- Which it will be, as you're advised to step up for your needs even before you've made the final decision.
The other bulletpoints listed below are general guidelines and mostly apply to not only Techwear but other clothes as well. Take them with a grain of salt, keeping in mind that every individual piece of clothing is different and has certain merits to it, especially considering the price-point and obscure style.
- - Always close all zippers, fasteners, flyers, pockets...
- Place the piece of clothing vertically, ensuring that all layers and fabric are straightened out
- Don't ever apply detergent, it's tantamount to setting your Techwear on fire
- If you really do have to use strong flavors, performance cleaners are preferable, since they won't damage any layers or affect water resistance and durability
- High and Low temperatures ARE TO BE STRICTLY AVOIDED, lukewarm water suits Techwear the best over longer periods of time
- Don't iron your Techwear, as you'll cause irreversible damage to the fabric and/or coating
Odds & Ends
As you become more and more immersed into the entire experience, you'll notice that with time, certain functionalities of your tech wear clothing seem to waver a bit.
That's not a problem in itself, so long you do the right thing.
One of the nifty moves for upholding functionality of Techwear clothing is ensuring that your coating is up to date.
Called the DWR (Durable Water Repellent), it is one of the rare weak points of your attire, as water collects and causes damaged over prolonged period of use.
There are two ways to go about this, but before we get into it, please try and understand that your best move, at least when it comes to upkeep is to simply contact your manufacturer for any individual brand of clothing.
The first method utilizes a simple spray which will revitalize your coating.
Coined as the spray-on method, it is as easy as it sounds.
Simply place your shell on any clean surface, make sure all zippers are closed and start spraying. You don't have to go ham on the spray, moderate speed in combustion with low-moderate pressure will ensure optimal results.
After spraying, we suggest the next best thing to do: Nothing.
Just let it dry over night and don't even think about blowing hot air on the surface, it can lead to some serious damage to your newly placed coating.
Your second option is a bit more controversial and we dare say, risky.
The wash-in method forces you to place your Techwear cloth into your washing machine (which could still have trails of detergent left in it, no matter how much you scrub!) and let it to the grunt work.
There's still the problem of HOW much and HOW long, which, once again, is a question that only the manufacturer is authorized to answer.
We could give you a ballpark number, but it's not within our rules of conduct to dispatch ineffectual and possibly detrimental information.
The Ugly Side of Techwear
It's all been very promising insofar, but now after all the bells and whistles, we believe that it's time to take off the rose-colored goggles for a moment and present Techwear in a much more dispassionate manner.
Pretty much anyone trying to get involved with the style knows about the high price-point, cost of upkeep, social stigma and other not-so practical flaws of Techwear.
Instead of simply skipping the topic altogether (like almost all websites on the topic do, shame on them!), we'll present you with a rational and intelligent discourse on how things really stand and what your options are.
Ready? Let's go!
1) Techwear Can Be Super Expensive
While we are not going to debate the verisimilitude of that statement, you have to comprehend the fact that Techwear isn't and never will be your 20$ T-Shirt from Target. It's a long-term investment strategy. Think of brands like Supreme or ACRONYM, people that bought their piece got off with a profit, without doing anything!
As Techwear inevitably sails off into the mainstream, it is within our belief that certain primordial brands and their respective collections will take a hefty surge in pricing, as demand goes up.
Anyhow, here's a case in point scenario which you'll probably be familiar with: Expensive vs. Inexpensive shoes.
While you could buy three or four pairs of the non-branded option, their material is absolutely atrocious and if you submit them to any sort of arduous testing, they'll break down within a month.
We wish we were kidding.
On the other hand, you got the vouched and vetted premium shoes, that not only feel better and more comfortable on your feet but also last a lot longer.
When put like this, anyone would verbally opt for the latter option, but when it comes down to it, most people still get the cheaper model, why?
It could be pride, lack of resources or something third, but the fact still remains- In the end, they'll end up paying more, even if in the short-term, things look 'better' for them.
Another important thing to consider is that the prices of individual pieces of Techwear wary by a landslide.
Many note the four figure hardshells by certain companies, but what most don't realize is that they are prancing on the fringes of Techwear.
Since the style itself is so broad, websites like these were created to get people to
1) Realize how easy it is to get into it (just glean on all the budget conscious outfits we feature!)
2) Allow the common man to become part of the anti-fashion movement
3) Dispel the notion that you have to undergo a massive transformation to be considered part of the clique
With that being said, there's thousands of options available and your mind shall remain the only limitation when it comes to the trend.
Finally, as Techwear is becoming increasingly popular among niche tech cycles that are slowly protruding into the limelight (take cryptocurrencies as an example), future prices are bound to be downsized by an increased amount of companies trying to compete for willing costumers.
2) Cost of Upkeep
It's not really the cost of upkeep that's bothering pundits of the craft, but the fact that you do have to take care of Techwear as if it were a small, fragile child.
Luckily enough, once you get into it and once you incorporate the ritual into your daily routine, the rite of passage will be completed and you'll truly be a part of the Techwear movement!
3) Social Stigma
There's an interesting quote by Winston Churchill, we'll abridge it a bit to fit the narrative: ''When you’re 20, you care what everyone thinks and when you're 60, you realize nobody was ever thinking about you.''
Here's the thing, sudden changes in style are going to be picked up by your environment and people might initially send you weird looks and some might even comment on it.
Please listen up, as we're speaking from a lifetime of experience here: There's more than seven billion people on the planet.
Some of us are bound to be unhappy, some of us are bound to be abused, some of us will have massive injustices done to us and some of us will never have the pleasure to watch those perpetrators get their just desserts...
What we're trying to say is, essentially, if something puts a smile on YOUR face and makes you feel more connected with your surroundings and the inner confines of your soul, than nobody and we mean, NOBODY is to tell you that you're wrong about your decision.
So long you're actively doing things that promote your own self, other people are in no position to even think about scolding you.
This all sounds nice on paper, but how do you translate this attitude into the real world?
Simple: Own it.
Own your newfound style and let it fill you with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
You have gotten out of bed today, put on robes that fulfill YOU and you've mustered up the confidence to show the world a part of your true self.
After your friends, acquaintances, accolades, etc. notice that you're serious about your change in style, which usually takes about a week, sometimes even less, they'll stop caring and accept you for who you really are!
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and display yourself on a silver platter!