What is techwear fashion? Have you seen people wearing all black, futuristic-looking clothing and wondered what it is? Techwear fashion is a style of clothing that is inspired by technology and often has a sleek, modern look. If you’re interested in getting the look, keep reading for tips on how to do it!
Techwear fashion sounds like people are wearing microchips and wires attached to their bodies. But people are not turning into cyborgs yet.
The Techwear style is modern, high-quality fabrics and accessories turned into fashionable apparel that is also functional. It often has an urban edge while providing breathability, freedom of movement, lots of pockets, and comfort. Some techwear is also water resistant materials, perfect for outdoor gear.
Techwear Fashion And The Techwear Aesthetic
Techwear got its start in the outdoor industry, primarily aimed at mountaineers. Back in the 70s, it was not fashionable and has been especially notorious when their fugly women’s lines. The brands almost had an “It’s supposed to be functional, not pretty” attitude.
In 2010, things began to change urban when clothing brands began to embrace fabrics that catered to their fashion-savvy customers. These customers desired clothes with lots of pockets and materials that provide breathability and freedom of movement.
Techwear outfits started becoming more common on the catwalk. Moreover, the outdoor industry started paying more attention to making their outdoor gear appealing to people outside the hiking and mountaineering communities.
By the time the pandemic hit, comfort and functionality were the essential aesthetic for everyone working at home and exercising outdoors.
High-end fashionable techwear often embraces a monochrome aesthetic. It has an urban vibe of commuting by the subway, excels at parkour, and can hack your devices.
Meanwhile, outdoor gear companies have continued to up their fashion game. While they have more colorful offerings, cut and style are becoming more important. Thus, their ranges often appeal to those who adore athleisure’s comfort but don’t want the “I just got off my sofa” vibe.
However, some outdoor gear companies are starting to have collections aimed solely at the urban street market. These lines are industrial and sometimes militaristic.
Techwear Fabrics And Materials
Whether you’re hitting the gym or exploring the city, the utility of techwear can accommodate both. Technical clothing fabrics and features like moisture-wicking, wind resistance, and built-in UV protection make techwear perfect for any activity.
Gore-Tex is the most famous techwear fabric. Now a brand and fashion line, the original breathable, waterproof membrane was invented in 1969 by W.L. Gore & Associates.
Futerlight by North Face is another waterproof membrane that is ultra-thing and ultralight. The material has “air permeability” using “nanospining” while remaining durable.
But some exciting fabrics and materials are not household names but are on the lips of those passionate about techwear.
Take Dyneema, a UHMWPE (ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene) adored by ultralight backpacking, yachting, and windsurfing brands. Its claim to fame is fifteen times stronger than steel (if compared to the same weight).
But some brands, such as Houdini, try to bring sustainability to their techwear by ensuring all their materials and fabrics are either from recycled materials or are recyclable, renewable, or biodegradable.
Smartwool is another brand limiting its use of synthetics, using Merino wool as its primary material for outdoor fabrics.
Meanwhile, Black Diamond Equipment has been trying to make Durable Water Repellent (DWR) less polluting to H2O. They partnered with Green Theme Technologies to develop a water-free DWR that is hyperfused to fabrics at the fiber level rather than being sprayed on.
Techwear Contribution To Futuristic Fashion
Futuristic fashion relies on modern-looking fabrics and materials. After all, few envision living on Mars in tweed.
Like in outdoor gear, futuristic clothing depend on lightweight, performance fabrics. Unfortunately, cheaper brands in the past have used plasticky materials that have little to no stretch, poor drape, and, worse of all, are not breathable and lead to the wearer being a sweaty, smelly mess.
By using the latest technological fabrics, futuristic fashion can create looks that are breathable, comfortable, and have eye-catching lines and drapes.
How Popular Is Techwear Fashion?
By 2022, there were plenty of people declaring techwear fashion dead. But the market doesn’t seem to be reflecting the doomsayers. While not everyone leans into the “urban ninja” techwear style vibe, plenty of people want practical, comfortable clothing with a Matrix edge.
The latter has clean enough lines to be worn in many work environments. But it also adds a “don’t mess with me” attitude while trying to go about your day in the urban landscape.
Thus, it is doubtful that techwear fashion is ever going to vanish. Instead, it will probably evolve with the materials and innovation.
Examples Of Techwear Clothing and Techwear accessories
Techwear clothing is everywhere, but some of it is more fashionable than others. The best has details that might not be visible at a glance, such as special vents to help keep the wearer at the perfect temperature or hidden hooks to hide keys.
Techwear pants are typically a modern take on cargo. They have many pockets, often in black or dark neutrals, and are often baggy around the tights but have a closer fit around the calves and ankles.
For those interested, there are some excellent examples at Acronym.
Techwear jackets generally fall into several camps. They are firstly looking like they’ll feature in a Matrix movie. Secondly, have an urban military vibe; third will get you through an outdoor survivalist course. But the most favored of all is the windbreaker.
However, no matter which camp you favor, they will be dark colored such as black, has tons of pockets, and are water resistant if not waterproof. Also, techwear jackets often have reflective or glow-in-the-dark elements to help raise the wearer’s visibility while out at night.
Stone Island is a fashion-forward brand with urban techwear jackets.
Techwear shoes look like what all the cool teens will be wearing when we have a colony on mars. They’re urban sneakers, boots, or sandals that went futuristic.
Adidas Y-3 range is an excellent example.
Techwear hoodies are perfect to complete a techwear outfit. Techwear hoodies range from sleek outdoor gear to covert urban street fighters. Arc’teryx has excellent mid-layer techwear hoodies, such as this one in black heather.
But when it comes to fashion, brands like Tenshi are nailing it with the techwear urban skateboarder spy look. An excellent example is their Radio hoodie.
Techwear vests range from looking like goth-gone-fishing to trying to mimic a bulletproof vest. Imaphotic has an excellent range.
Techwear shorts are typically cargo-cutoffs meet skater, with lots of blacks, chains, and straps, such as those offered by Atlas 1.
These are very different from what you find in outdoor gear, regardless of the fabric or materials used. For example, too much bulk or straps on your pants when hiking or climbing is a snag risk.
Techwear belts can look tactical. Condor is a firm favorite for outdoor enthusiasts and those going for the urban look.
However, some go beyond the minimalist webbing and go for belts without pouches and compartments.
Cyberpunk techwear is streetwear fashion, often conflated with Darkwear. It leans towards the combat, anti-establishment look with a futuristic edge. The line between it and urban techwear is fine, but cyberpunk is more rebellious and has a Blade Runner and Anime vibe.
Some techwear could easily be worn to the office of a trendy, casual tech company. But cyberpunk is more “after dark” and sometimes grungier.
Techwear Face Mask
Techwear face masks are part of the urban look. They often have a futuristic combat edge, even if only a neck gaiter. Fortunately, the fashionable ones have nothing to do with the pandemic but look like they’re off the set of the next Mad Max.
Techwear In Sports Fashion
Techwear in sports fashion positions itself as functional, but some of it is streetwear with sports brands slapped on. However, the fabrics are high quality, and the clothes are comfortable.
But sometimes, it is the other way around. For example, a sporting brand popular on the basketball court or the track might be trying to give hiking gear a fashion punch making hiking less frumpy.
Nike is always trying to find ways to make its materials lighter while raising its performance. For example, they want their shoes for sprinters to weigh nothing while shock absorbing.
In the 80s, Nike also tried bringing outdoor gear into the fashion forward with their ACG line (All Conditions Gear). It was discontinued in the 90s but was given a reboot in 2014 and remains a techwear sports fashion go-to.
Their NSRL Running Capsule is also designed to make the urban runner safer while still looking great.
But the NIKELAB is often partnering up to combine its technology with a fashion-forward vibe. Examples include:
- Nike X Sachi (blacks, greys, and whites)
- Nike X Off-White (futuristic sport)
- Nike X Undercover (Japanese street)
- And Nike X Ambush (Tokyo street)
Adidas is nailing urban techwear fashion. Take their Blue Version collection, which utilizes lightweight fabrics in silvers, black, greys, and blue to create a sci-fi feel.
As mentioned above, their Y-3 range is one of the best examples of fashionable techwear shoes. But the collection also includes clothes.
Under Armour Tech
Under Armour is often looked at as athleticwear, but they have pieces that blend their tech with the aesthetic, especially regarding shoes. For example:
- Women’s UA Micro G Valsetz Med Tactical Boots
- Men’s UA HOVR Phantom 3 Reflect Running Shoes
- Men’s UA HORV Ridge Trek Trail Running Shoes
- Women’s UA Stellar G2 Tactical Boots
Urban Techwear style
There’s something about urban techwear that just looks cool. The urban techwear style combines the best of both worlds: the water resistance and technical fabrics of outdoor gear with streetwear’s sleek, urban look.
Urban techwear is not just aesthetic – urban techwear is also designed to be functional. Whether you’re hitting the gym or the streets, urban techwear has you covered.
This style’s best features include water-resistant fabrics, reflective details, and breathable materials. Whether you’re looking for a new pair of sneakers or a complete outfit, urban techwear has something for everyone.
Among the most stylish and popular techwear accessories are techwear bags. These bags are stylish and functional, with water-resistant materials, compartments for tech gadgets, and comfortable straps.
Many techwear bags also have built-in charging ports so that you can keep your devices powered up while on the go.
Whether you’re looking for a bag to take to the office or one to take on your next adventure, a techwear bag is perfect for you.
Here are five of the best techwear bags on the market:
1. The Incase ICON Backpack
The Incase ICON Backpack is a stylish and functional option for those needing a bag to carry all their tech gear. The backpack features water-resistant materials, multiple compartments for organizing your gadgets, and a built-in power bank with a USB charging port. The straps are also padded for comfortable carrying.
2. The MZ Wallace Metro Backpack
The MZ Wallace Metro Backpack is a chic and stylish techwear bag perfect for the office or travel. The backpack is made from water-resistant Quilted Nylon and features multiple compartments for organization, a padded laptop sleeve, and an easy-access phone pocket. The straps are adjustable for a comfortable fit, and the bag comes in various colors.
3. The Herschel Little America Backpack
The Herschel Little America Backpack is a stylish and functional backpack perfect for everyday use or travel. The backpack features water-resistant materials, multiple compartments for organization, a padded laptop sleeve, and an adjustable sternum strap for comfort. The backpack also comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
4. The Bellroy Classic Backpack
The Bellroy Classic Backpack is a stylish and environmentally-friendly option for those needing a bag to carry all their tech gear.
The backpack is made from recycled materials and features water-resistant fabric, multiple compartments for organization, and a built-in laptop sleeve. The straps are also adjustable for a comfortable fit.
5. The Peak Design Everyday Backpack
The Peak Design Everyday Backpack is a stylish and functional backpack perfect for everyday use or travel. The backpack features water-resistant materials, multiple compartments for organization, a built-in laptop sleeve, and an adjustable sternum strap for comfort. The backpack also comes in a variety of colors.
Men’s Techwear Fashion
Depending on the slant, men’s techwear can go to the office or rob a bank. Black is the main color, pants with pockets, shoes that can take you to a nice dinner out and then hold up during a bar fight.
One of the hallmarks of the look is the windbreaker, which holds up to the wind and rain but is breathable as you weave through the urban rush.
Female Techwear Fashion
Female techwear fashion is unisex but with tighter tops that often have straps and cutouts to highlight women’s curves. The cargo pants may also cling in areas men’s wear doesn’t, complimenting the hips and emphasizing the waist.
Techwear Fashion Brands
Some excellent techwear brands are:
- Stone Island Shadow Project
- Veilance (Part of Arc’teryx)
Techwear is taking outdoor gear and making it fashionable for the street. Its dark tone, preferably black, with lots of pockets, and holds up to the weather. However, they might have reflective or glow-in-the-dark details to raise visibility when out at night.
The fabric and materials are lightweight and durable, such as Gore-Tex and Dyneema, while remaining comfortable.
While techwear can be baggy in places such as cargo pants and jackets, many tops are kept tight, making adding layers and showing off your body’s lines easier.
Techwear fashion is always pushing for the next big innovation, looking for lighter and tougher, hoping to blow Gore-Tex into history. The more the fabric and materials change, the greater the fashion evolution.