Get a taste of the dystopian future with the ever so practical “techwear” trend

By Colette-Janae Buck, Chief Copy Editor

If you search for techwear on Google, the collage of images that pop up make you feel as though you’re staring to a void or portal of a not-too-far-off dystopian future where everyone wears self-lacing shoes, baggy windbreakers and shorts over sweatpants. It’s a sea of bland, minimalistic and monochromatic outfits that remind you of films like “The Hunger Games” and “The Fifth Element.”

Techwear, despite its name, has nothing to do with technology beyond the advanced and thoughtful construction of the garments.

Grailed, a self-proclaimed “curated community marketplace for men’s clothing,” defines techwear as clothing for everyday life and uses special fabric in conjunction with advanced construction methods to allow for breathability, movement, water-resistance and comfort in the garments.

It supposedly also makes life easier by allowing you to “to carry more stuff on a weekend trip or to stay dry in a downpour,” said Rocky Li, writer for Grailed’s “Dry Clean Only” blog.

It is important to note that techwear is currently a trend in the men’s fashion industry. Very few of the companies that produce techwear, such as Adidas Y-3, 4Dimension and ISADORA, offer their unique wears in sizes that fit female-formed bodies. AETHER Apparel does offer a women’s clothing section, but I was hard-pressed to find any other companies beyond it.

The claim to techwear’s increasing popularity is its capitalization on the waterproof raincoat market. Li said the invention of Gore-Tex, a stretched, porous layer of teflon that could be glued to jackets, is what makes techwear jackets stand out from the rest. When applied to the top layer of a jacket or a pair of boots, the Gore-Tex material creates a seal that keeps the actual water out while allowing the water vapor to pass through the tiny pores in the Gore-Tex layer.

The copious amount of pockets and space provided to store all the gadgets we tend to pack on us these days has also allowed the techwear trend to catch on in the millennial marketplace.  

“The designs of techwear items are often well-considered with the storage they supply, whether through simple designs such as zippered pockets or more elaborate solutions such as removable modular attachments,” said Li. “The combination of the waterproof fabrics and well-designed carrying capacity mean that you can carry more and worry less.”

Techwear goes beyond just outer weather-resistant wear. Like any trend, techwear has several subsections of garments that can all be combined together to create the ultimate techwear outfit. Underneath all the Gore-Tex-coated outwear exists the “mid-layers” that use down and insulating fleece to help keep you warm. “Base layers” retain the job of keeping you dry, and these layers are fairly similar to dry-fit athletic wear. Techwear pants also possess moisture wicking properties, with Levi’s now offering moisture wicking ‘commuter’ pants for individuals who are into cycling.

Shoes are probably the second largest portion of the techwear trend, coming in just after the water-resistant outerwear coats, or “shells”, as Li calls them. Brands like Nike, Adidas Y-3 and even Yeezy’s have jumped on the trend to offer practical, stylish shoes with various activities in mind.

Techwear garments, as cool as they are, can be a little pricy. Grailed’s marketplace offers a lot of techwear-styled options that have been marked down. Even with the discounts, the average price for an outerwear jacket sits around $500. But don’t let the high prices stop you from living your dystopian dreams.