As the outdoor industry tries to appeal to a more urban crowd, the fashion industry is hoping to get in on a piece of the outdoor action. From High Street to High Fashion, numerous traditional clothing brands are now offering a range of outdoor pieces.
For the holiday season, Old Navy is pushing their new line of insulated jackets. For only $29-$39, you can buy a nylon jacket with a polyester lining and fill. Granted it may not be water resistant, not the warmest insulated jacket you will own, and probably won’t last a lifetime, but compared to the $229 Patagonia Down Sweater, the Old Navy Lightweight Frost Free Jacket looks pretty appealing.
Another affordable fashion brand, Uniqlo, has always offered a range of down jackets. The Uniqlo version weighs only 199 grams and is stuffed with 640-fill down. The jackets come in a wide variety of colors and retail for only $80.
In addition to down jackets, Uniqlo sells a line of technical thermal underwear featuring Heattech technology. The Heattech treated fibers absorb moisture from your body and convert it into heat energy. Air pockets between the micro fleece fibers act as insulation to further help keep you warm. Uniqlo thermal tops and bottom retail for less than $20.
On the opposite end of the spectrum sits the extremely overpriced hiking boots ($800) and bike helmet ($890) from Gucci. Needless to say, I don’t believe these hiking boots will ever walk on an actual trail.
The problem I see with the more affordable high street options is the lesser quality means they won’t last long. This goes against the whole reuse and recycle mantra of the outdoor industry. Though you can argue that affordable options will enable more people to experience the outdoors and sometimes cheap and functional is good enough.
What do you think-would you trust buying your outdoor gear from a traditional fashion brand?