Every winter, the same handful of brands line city sidewalks. The Face. The Goose. God forbid, The Moose.
To free you from that sea of sameness, we rounded up 10 outerwear lines you may not have heard of. Some are older. Some are brand new. For one reason or another, all have made a splash in recent seasons - and are worthy of a place on your radar.
For a broader look at the world of outerwear brands, don't miss our definitive roundup, Around the World in Techwear: Every Outdoor Brand You Need to Know, from Japanese camping and apparel brand Snow Peak to Swedish outdoor brand Fjällräven.
Here's 10 emerging outerwear lines you need to know for winter 2019.
French designer Pierre Kaczmarek launched afterhomework as a teenager. Only once his assignments were done could he actually get to his travails.
Based in Paris, afterhomework brings a playful, avant-garde lens to traditional French workwear. Pieces like the Claude Vest straddle utility and urbanity - a sartorial, decidedly organic approach to technical tropes. A collab with Parisian voisin K-Way produced the Eiffel Multi-Pocket, one of the season’s sleeper hits.
Recently, Kaczmarek was nominated for the prestigious ANDAM Prize - the youngest-ever designer to receive the honor. Imagine what the world could be if we’d all done more after our packets.
“We are all products of our environment.”
If that environment is cold, rainy, outdoors-obsessed, and fashionable, you get Baro.
Based in Vancouver, Baro Drywear is the latest in a long line of superb Canadian outerwear brands. Cuts are contemporary. Styles are sharp. Tech is there, but not glaringly so.
The long lines and superb fabric feel of a jacket like The Brockton could convince all but the keenest that it’s not a seam-taped waterproof. But it is. And so is The Demarco. And The Radar. And the- well, you get the point.
From its northern hometown, Baro has created a world of stylish, affordable technical wear. Truly, products from an environment.
If Ralph launched a thousand careers, Rei built a million.
Former CdG designer Fumito Ganryu is only the latest COMME alum to start their own line. His eponymous collection began showing in Paris two years ago, and has only gotten better.
Ganryu infuses expert tailoring with a pop art sensibility that brings to mind some of Japan’s most dynamic designers. Spring/Summer 20 evokes the graphics of Jun, using drone photos from National Geographic to weave nature into statement pieces. Fall/Winter 19 plays the tropes of Junya, twisting traditional silhouettes into dysmorphic armor.
And then there’s the Ventilation Puff. From the House of Kawakubo to his own superb line, playfulness reigns.
Virgil was an architect. Karl studied drawing. Inspiration can come from anywhere, but for Satta designer Joe Lauder, it came from two rather unlikely places.
Satta is a line of “lifestyle goods” inspired by nature - also, by Lauder’s past in landscaping and woodworking. Based in Barcelona by way of Bali, the Grenadan-English polymath brings a holistic worldliness to staple outerwear designs. Colors run earthy. Prices run reasonable.
30 years ago, the phrase “Russian techwear” would have scrambled the jets. Now, it’s causing attention of a whole different kind.
KRAKATAU is a technical apparel brand based in St. Petersburg. Billing itself an “antagonist survival kit,” the brand twists a wide range of materials into aggressive, perhaps even cyberpunk functional wear. Imagine Stone Island with a dash of Watch Dogs. That’s KRAKATAU.
Silhouettes are inspired; detailing is superb. And like any Stoney piece, the fabrics must be seen - and touched - to be believed. This season, the brand introduced a jacket made with graphene (the material’s discovery won a Nobel Prize in 2010) and a microfiber trench that’s insulated with “bio-down.”
Every fashion line takes on the world. Few do it as thoroughly as F/CE.
Pronounced “Eff-See-Eee,” F/CE is the brainchild of designers Satoshi and Asami Yamane. Every year, the duo (happily married) immerse themselves into the culture of a different country, synthesizing personal travels to the place with their own design perspective. The result: inspired garments, both alike and unlike anything on the market.
What is Homecore? A brand? A style? A housing initiative?
Ce qui n’est pas clair. Yet, it is français. Based out of Paris, Homecore is an apparel brand creating “menswear to feel free.” One look at their workwear-meets-Rive-Gauche looks will certainly liberate a paycheck or two.
Highlights for this season include the Stackov - a jigsaw-cut trucker - and the Steve - a felted topcoat built in the perfect shade of brown. For a truly unique take on the retro fleece, check out the Colden.
Something was haunting Tony McWilliam. After 20 years building skis, the Australian designer saw a monster threaten the things he loved. So he did something about it.
Ghosts is a techwear line built to be “the world’s most environmentally-friendly high performance technical outerwear.” In fewer words: jaw-dropping gear meant to fight climate change.
Made-to-order from recycled yarns, dyed with waterless dye, and rated at twice the government standard for “waterproof,” Ghost’s apparel system (there’s only one) is designed for utility and sustainability.
The bad news: a complete set retails for over $1600. The good news: looks are free.
Based out of Tokyo, Vainl Archive is nothing new. But maybe that’s the point.
The brand’s eclectic mix of Western inspiration and Japanese intuition has gained it a laundry list of collaborations: from Dickies to Reebok to Vans, even Marmot. However, it’s Vainl’s unique twist on staple pieces that keeps fans coming back.
An example? The Ring-Coat combines a military liner jacket with performance fleece detailing, then fits it to a mac coat silhouette. For a more graphic illustration, the Paul - an insulated moto jacket - provides a crash course in Vainl philosophy.
Although the line began in 2008, the aforementioned spate of collabs have launched the brand into foreign markets in just the last few years. For a line named “Archive,” the future looks bright.
A NikeID for parkas. An Uber for outerwear. Perhaps, “custom coats.”
49Winters is a luxury outerwear brand based out of London. Named after the founding duo’s collective years in fashion, the line offers technical garments designed with an edge towards style. It also offers - drumroll - the chance to build its coats out from the ground up.
Every 49Winters jacket is designed to accommodate a 3-part system (body, insulation, hood trim). Colors can be swapped in and out to fit the occasion, or for no reason at all. Blue shell, gold filler? Why not. Red shell, green down? Merry Christmas.
For more tech gear and outerwear, check out our comprehensive list of Outdoor Brands You Need to Know.