Techwear & Apparel - Style Guide 2021

So what is techwear? In simplest terms, techwear is a highly functional futuristic style of fashion that serves a useful purpose with a strong focus on design, minimalism, and utility whilst borrowing inspiration from the ninja, hacker & military genre.

Who Invented Techwear?

Techwear has deep roots in techno-orientalism, a surreal phenomenon in which East Asians imagined hyper-technological concepts. Techno-orientalism is credited with being one of the origins of speculative fiction and cyberpunk, which for the most part, have played a significant role in the development of techwear as we know it today.

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Errolson Hugh, one of the key names behind techwear’s rise through mainstream labels like AcronymArc’teryx Veilance, and NikeLab ACG, described it as a futuristic get-up based on the idea that the things we carry around everyday, like our mobile devices and umbrellas, augment us in ways that didn't seem possible just a few decades ago. So why not create apparels that reflect that? One of the earliest labels to explicitly feature“techwear” is Acronym, a full time project of Hugh’s.

Why is the Trend Rising?

Urban techwear is already a popular gear choice among professionals such as bike messengers, construction workers, and security forces. This is in spite of the fact that most of these professionals are, admittedly, unaware of the movement they’re promoting, since they mainly use the techwear to protect themselves or be more efficient in the workplace.

Bellow is a graph showing techwear's trend over a 5 year period. So if you're just getting started you won't have to worry about it going out of style anytime soon. The top 5 states are Washington, California, new york, Minnesota, and Colorado. California actually took us off-guard. New York not so much. Grittier cities fit well with this style of fashion.

Another reason for the growing popularity of techwear is that lots of people, especially cosplayers and anime aficionados also enjoy the style solely for its “badass” aesthetic appeal. A complete techwear apparel can enable them to seamlessly imitate their favorite anime and sci-fi heroes so it is naturally an enticing prospect for them.

Key Technical Benefits of Techwear

The primary features or urban techwear clothing and gear are tactical durabilities, monochromatism, slim lines, and futurism. Its main appeal is that it can simplify everyday life, whether it is staying dry under the rain or being able to easily store more stuff on you without having to fill use a bag.

Here’s some of the major features of urban techwear items:

Water Resistance: Nobody likes getting caught in the rain and the water repellency of techwear clothing delivers a a comfortable and practical solution to this problem. This nifty concept goes as far back as 1969, when Gore-Tex was created. The brand’s co-inventors had discovered how to stretch Teflon into a thin, porous membrane that was waterproof while allowing water vapor to pass through. Over the years, water resistant clothing designs have evolved to what is on display today.

Enhanced Properties: Depending on the industry or specific need, there are several synthetic fabrics that provide some form of enhancement to a piece of clothing. These include increased elasticity, scratch resistance, odor resistance, and almost brilliant reflectiveness.

Comfortable Range of Motion: Urban techwear challenges the tradition of cutting clothing to standard patterns by designing patterns to seamlessly move with the human body. This has resulted in form-fitting apparels with articulated joints, usually through darting at the knee or inner elbow to allow the wearer to move freely without fraying the fabric or pulling it at key points.

Breathability: This means the techwear garment is capable of letting sweat and heat escape so the wearer doesn't feel sticky and clammy underneath. It is no longer enough to keep wearers dry on the outside, but should also allow them to be comfortable while wearing it.

Storage Capacity: Nowadays, there’s just so much to carry in preparation for the average day’s activities. From your mobile devices and power banks to headphones, car keys, wallets, and even water bottles; having garments that allow you to carry more stuff has become somewhat a necessity. Urban techwear designs have bridged that gap thanks to their zippered pockets, multi-compartment bags, and removable modular attachments, letting you carry more and worry less.

Are there other names for this style of fashion?

Yes, techwear is often times referred to as cyberpunk fashion, steampunk or streetwear. You can use these terms interchangeably. There are some slight differences with techwear though as its more focused on darker colors with a more grungier style.

Does techwear wardrobe change during the summer?

There are some cosmetic changes that occur during the summer such as more uses of shorts and the absence of most techwear jackets. Black is also a color that attracts a lot of heat so you may see streetwear enthusiasts adopting more lighter colors such as greens, beiges, browns & yellows.

Are there techwear wardrobes for women?

You won't really see lots of women flaunting the techwear style but there are some that do. The reason being is that It's harder for women to find this type of clothing & it also isn’t perceived as being very ladylike. While men can wear this style no problem.  Women who are into hip-hop may have more of an affinity to this style of fashion.

How should the garments be washed?

Urban techwear garments can usually be washed at home or by a commercial laundry service provider without affecting its quality. In most cases, you’ll find printed laundering instructions on the size label of each garment, so you can easily get them cleaned the proper way.  

Clothing and functionality have always been a dynamic duo, providing a sense of fashion on one hand and designed with an emphasis on performance and resistance to the elements, on the other. However, techwear is much more than just thick jackets, perforated mesh tees, and deep-pocketed pants, it is a culture dedicated to fashion enthusiasts who look at their clothing as a functional interest and even a passion.