Just before Christmas, Canadian outdoor and ski brand Arc’teryx opened up a store in the heart of London. Adding to the bustling competition of Piccadilly, the new company held its own during one of the most competitive shopping periods of the year – and for good reason. Inside the store was constructed a virtual reality hut, that used Google’s Jump technology to give shoppers the chance to experience a wild mountain in the centre of the city.
And it is innovation like this that typifies one of the fastest-growing brands in the outerwear market. Founded in 1989 in Vancouver, in recent years the brand has really found its feet – changing its name from Rock Solid to Arc’teryx (named after the Archaeopteryx to reflect evolution of products) – and today has stores all over the world selling acclaimed wares. But what makes Arc’teryx’s products stand so far from the crowd?
The answer: they know what people want. Much of the brand’s products are tailored for individual outdoor pursuits – such as climbing, skiing, snowboarding, backpacking or hiking. And the techniques used to craft these pursuit-specific clothes are pioneering. Early in the brand’s history, they developed a thermolamination process, which they paired with Gore-Tex – who granted the company a license to use their fabric – to create jackets that were both lightweight and incredibly insulating at once.
"Much of the brand’s products are tailored for individual outdoor pursuits - such as climbing, skiing, snowboarding, backpacking or hiking..."
And it’s not just civilians who have benefited from Arc’teryx’s innovation. Like many great companies, the cross-pollination between divisions, sharing of inventions and innovations, has led to stand-out products across the markets. For Arc’teryx, their LEAF line (Law Enforcement and Armed Forces) has informed civilian outerwear.
The United States Marines, in fact, were so dissatisfied with their official backpacks – originally created by MOLLE – that they turned to Arc’teryx’s Tango design to be the official replacement. So, if you’re looking for a new backpack, what better than a bag with the stamp of approval from one of the most famous elite military units in the world.
Today, Arc’teryx operates from its headquarters – the Design Centre: a hive, a hands-on think tank of active designers, materials experts, pattern makers and product developers who know what they want, how it will be used and why it has to work. Their goal? To create equipment that enables a person to be immersed in the moment of doing, regardless of external conditions.
This is a brand that has succeeded through simplicity. Basic, almost obvious, solutions to complex challenges embody these products through the essence of minimalism. Reducing the effects of weather, streamlining use, and moving efficiently creates a timeless, outdoor experience. And the products are tested in North Vancouver, too. For, just minutes from the brand’s crucible of innovative, purposeful outdoor designs, sit the harsh North Shore mountains.
And if your new jacket has passed muster in these conditions, you can bet it’ll survive your commute. Check out some of their key items below…
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