Outlier x Vans OTW Bedford
words // Brennan Hiro Williams
New York's Outlier and Vans OTW have teamed up for a new Bedford collaboration, arriving this fall at select retailers.
Built on highly technical, cycling lifestyle apparel, Outlier has grown considerably in recent years, expanding its product range while maintaining its independent identity. For this collaboration, Outlier utilizes its popular Supermarine Cotton material, allowing for breathability while maintaining a high level of water and wind resistance. Outlier branding appears on the tongue, putting its official stamp on the project.
The Outlier x Vans OTW Bedford drops this August at OTW retailers.
The secret to the future, they say, is hidden in the past. SupermarineÂ® Cotton is a 21st century edit to a nearly forgotten World War II fabric. You can think of it as the pinnacle of cotton technology, extremely breathable, highly water resistant and completely windproof. It can only be made using the longest staple Egyptian cotton fibers. They are woven together in a complex weave that swells up and seals when exposed to water. The result is a beautiful cloth that we think is the best rainy day fabric around.
For decades it's been obscured from the public, kept alive mainly by demand from a few Air Force units, Antarctic explorers and funnily enough, bird watchers; all who have different understandings of its unique properties. SupermarineÂ® Cotton stays comfortable under pressure and there is none of that sweaty/clammy feeling you get with GoreTex and other synthetic "waterproof-breathable" fabrics. It isn't technically "waterproof" by government standards but you can stay dry for hours in the rain wearing it. It's woven from the longest staple Egyptian cotton so it breaks in beautifully. The dense weave combined with the premium fiber results in a fabric that is simultaneously tough and supple.
Historically this fabric is an updated version of a fabric the British invented in World War II to keep their pilots alive in the North Sea if they happened to get shot down. It was later used by the British Navy, in Antarctic exploration and by Edmond Hillary during the first ascent of Mount Everest. It was even used to make fire hoses and eventually found its way into high-end hiking gear. Since it requires a very dense weave of the most expensive cotton fibers on the market, it never quite broke through into the mainstream and with the advent of GoreTex it faded from the general marketplace. Bird watchers still sought it out since it's significantly quieter than the loud synthetic fabrics that took over, while Antarctic teams prized it for its amazing windproof quality. The main customer of the past few decades however has been various Air Forces who understood just how superior a fabric it is, and are willing to pay for it.
We source our SupermarineÂ® Cotton from Switzerland (where it goes by the tradename ETAProofÂ®) and it differs from the historical British version in one important respect, it is treated with a premium durable water resistance (DWR) that is not wax-based. The water resistance in the historical formulation comes from two factors, the denseness of the weave and the fact that cotton fibers swell up when exposed to moisture. Adding the DWR treatment into the mix results in a significantly superior rain repellant and breathable fabric that far outclasses both the synthetic "waterproof-breathable" fabrics of the world and the heavy, clammy Barbour-style waxed cotton. It looks better, wears better and is dramatically more comfortable.
We've been testing this stuff extensively over the past year and we keep on thinking we've stumbled upon a little bit of magic. We made button down shirts and walked out into torrential downpours without a jacket or umbrella. We've done hours of laps in Prospect Park during thundershowers wearing the same shirt and stayed dry. We've taken it out into 100% desert heat to see how well it breathes. We challenged our bike messenger friends to beat it up on the road. More important than all that though was the fact when we headed out of the house, we almost always reach for a SupermarineÂ® Cotton shirt or parka, not because we wanted to test it, but because we wanted to wear it.
AVOID THIS GUY AT ALL costs! Made agreement for $300 and then said would pay ONLY $260. HE IS NOT A buyer!!! BEWARE!! DO NOT SELL TO THIS GUY and DO NOT EVEN start negotiating with him. TERRIBLE!!! WORST experience in my 15 year niketalk and ISS
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