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TechNinja
September 17, 2013 8:02 PM   Subscribe

What is the fashion known as techninja? The basis is the high-tech materials popular with hikers, bikers, and climbers, but worn as street wear. It takes inspiration from a military aesthetic, from science fiction (NSFW), and Goth Ninja. Want to know more? Here's a guide (2, 3, 4, 5), and here's some inspiration (pinterest, tumbler, 2).

(I learned about this on r/malefashionadvice)
posted by rebent (101 comments total) 103 users marked this as a favorite

 
God, I fell down a huge techninj rabbit hole earlier this year. Basically what it turned into was buying a bunch of Outlier and NSW and pretending it was Acronym and Veilance.
posted by thedaniel at 8:19 PM on September 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow, some of this stuff is really good looking. Acronym pants and jackes in particular look fantastic, but the price, not so much.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:19 PM on September 17, 2013


Seriously though, who can afford vaguely industrial $900 gore-tex jackets? The funniest thing to me was that no one seemed to be able to figure out what techninja footwear was meant to be, because when you are wearing sleek weird space hiking clothes, you don't want to ruin the lines with nice Nike combat boots ;)
posted by thedaniel at 8:20 PM on September 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


That's a lot of time and effort for something only the server racks are going to see.
posted by The Whelk at 8:24 PM on September 17, 2013 [54 favorites]


Why do I have the strangest feeling this stuff will end up in the next William Gibson novel?
posted by zooropa at 8:33 PM on September 17, 2013


The EDC nerds are going to FLIP OUT over this.
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:33 PM on September 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


The sky was the color of Gore-Tex, its Durable Water Repellent fabric faded by wear and washing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:33 PM on September 17, 2013 [31 favorites]


I don't know, this smacks of invented trend to me. Plenty of people have been wearing - and lusting after - plain, tough clothes in darker colours for quite some time. Indeed, your average gear/adventure store is full of it, and so is uniqlo, and many other brands.

You certainly don't need to drop a fortune to dress this way, and there is a very wide selection of labels selling stuff that would qualify under this trend. I know because I've been dressing like this for years, as have many other people I know.

The cant about space materials is a bit full on. I'm not against synthetic fabrics, far from it, but sometimes I can't help feeling it's polyester mutton dressed up as space-age lamb.
posted by smoke at 8:33 PM on September 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


This made me think of Harry Tuttle - which would also be a great name for a clothing brand.

Why do I have the strangest feeling this stuff will end up in the next William Gibson novel?

I coveted the Buzz Rickson/William Gibson limited edition flying jacket when it came out, I guess it was kind of a precursor, but $550 was too much.
posted by carter at 8:40 PM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why do I have the strangest feeling this stuff will end up in the next William Gibson novel?

Already done. Zero History had a fair bit of this. Spook Country may have had some as well. I picked up a coated cloth jacket in Uniqlo simply because I was reading Zero History at the time (fall 2010).
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 8:42 PM on September 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oculus Rift, wearable tech, NSA surveillance, iPhones, techninja.

I yearned for this technology and aesthetic pretty much throughout my late teens and twenties. Now that it's all arriving, I'm 40 with a toddler and another kid on the way, a car that was slightly cool when I bought it but which will soon be traded for a station wagon (never a minivan. never, goddamn it.), and worries about BPA, lead exposure, bullying, the performance of my retirement funds, parental health, whether I'm optimally using my cashback credit card, the slow march of male-pattern baldness, and if the tingling I get in my left arm when I'm running is a sign of incipient arteriosclerosis.

Fuck you William Gibson. Would it have killed you to draw a slightly clearer map?
posted by R. Schlock at 8:43 PM on September 17, 2013 [38 favorites]


I don't know, this smacks of invented trend to me. Plenty of people have been wearing - and lusting after - plain, tough clothes in darker colours for quite some time. Indeed, your average gear/adventure store is full of it, and so is uniqlo, and many other brands.


I have to admit, my first thought on looking at this was "so basically... welcome to Denver?" That said, for the very same reason I may now have to bid the scattered remnants of my bank account farewell.
posted by sparktinker at 8:46 PM on September 17, 2013


Wow, 268 euros for a fucking t-shirt. Whackronym.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:47 PM on September 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


never a minivan.

I was like that, then we got four kids. Thanks to our viking genes, they are all huge, so we bought a used 11-passenger Ford Econoline. You take out the third seat and you have room for camping gear for six people without having to use a roof rack or a trailer, and the seats are wide enough that the kids don't fight on road trips. The engine is big enough to pull a small mountain, and ours (if we were selling it) would only cost $5,000 and run for five more years.

It's the automotive equivalent of what Stewart Brand calls a "low-road building," ugly, functional structures that eschew aesthetics in order to make things happen.
posted by mecran01 at 8:55 PM on September 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


Dang, those Outlier pants are nice. But imagining myself being able to drop $200+ on a pair of pants (hell, $60+ on a pair of pants) without crippling guilt is like imagining myself riding a unicorn. That is more money than I've ever spent on a couch.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:55 PM on September 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Reminds me of my awesome black Carheart rainjacket I bought five years ago. Still going strong! Lots of zippers and pockets.

I'm a 40-year-old tech ninja!
posted by KokuRyu at 9:05 PM on September 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


gosh, does no one remember fashion editorials from the 90's?
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 9:06 PM on September 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


Still no pants longer than 34" inseam. I guess even in the future fashion is only for stumpy people.

Anyway, gimme my Duluth Trading cargo pant any day. Long enough to go all the way to the top, and enough pocket space for lunch, dinner, and a small dog to keep you company.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:08 PM on September 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


As someone who bikes, walks, and drives, in that order, and who routinely touches servers:

lol no.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 9:10 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know, I feel faintly bad when I see stuff like this. When I read books, the geek is always the one who knows how to hack into things, pick locks, pick pockets, etc. The ultimate person to turn to when on the run, or when you need to commit an action of semi-legality. I mean, Hackers, Swordfish, Revenge of the Nerds, The Matrix, and so on. A recent Too Much Information comic even said "There's two things every nerd knows how to do; if only just the mechanics. How to pick locks, and how to pick pockets."

Man, I don't know any of that stuff. I'm a freaking goody-two-shoes nerd. When people I knew in high school were out playing with locks, I was at home studying calculus. Now I'm a grad student, with a head full of how to make compounds, which is surprisingly not that useful if I don't have a fully equipped lab.

sigh

Man, these guys know how to make you feel inadequate and mainstream. Goes off to browse r/reddit and read some Neil Stephenson
posted by Canageek at 9:17 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


One more thing I want to add before this thread is drowning in any more negativity - after spending my entire 20s buying cheap jeans, I bought a pair of Outlier pants, and they really do stay looking clean longer, hold up better to abuse and repeated washings, dry quickly when wet, repel stains etc. I definitely feel like I am getting 5x life out of them than a pair of $40 jeans. I have on multiple occasions this year packed only one pair of black Outlier pants for week-long work trips where I was expected to look at least not-slovenly and meet with people and it's been fine. Oh, and the gusseted crotch makes them way better for cycling than the Levis I was rocking before.

Next, maybe I'll investigate merino wool t-shirts - I hear those are similarly durable / re-wearable / weather-friendly.
posted by thedaniel at 9:18 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, I love that this stuff exists. It's not for me, but the fact that people are out there and rocking it totally makes it. Sure, I've lusted over the Outlier Three Way Shorts, but that's about the extent of it.

So more power to the TechNinjas who make it work.
posted by themadthinker at 9:19 PM on September 17, 2013


Everyone was hating on MONDO 2000 a few weeks back, but a fashion movement called "techninja" would seem to be the legitimate child of that "R.U. a Cyberpunk?" spread.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:26 PM on September 17, 2013 [13 favorites]


Plenty of people have been wearing - and lusting after - plain, tough clothes in darker colours for quite some time

I do like me some zippers and waterproof fabrics - I have a plain black Gore-tex knockoff with multiple deep pockets and slim, compact tailoring that I love dearly (also managed to get sunscreen into the inside of the fabric; if anyone knows how to scrub this stuff out without ruining the DWR coating for the love of god let me know) - but $700+ USD for a jacket is deeply outrageous.

repel stains etc

This is sort of fiddly and DIY but if you're looking for cheap-ish water-repellent stain-proof-ish jeans, get thee to some fabric wax and wax your jeans. Generally the stuff is very affordable and once you work it in with an iron and let it cure your fabric stays cleaner much longer; it works pretty well for canvas fabric too, or anything else that can take heat without melting.

Also yeah, I'll fork over ridic amounts of money for tech-shoes or whatever once they figure out how to make them less chunky and terrible for a forefoot strike AND allow them to be resoled - these new boots and shoes with moulded soles that can't be replaced are a complete waste. My thirteen y/o Docs are due for another resoling soon and are still holding strong - I can't imagine the amount of money I'd be out if I had to replace an entire shoe every time the sole wore out.
posted by zennish at 9:45 PM on September 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


You know, I put a lot of effort into this look back in 1985.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:51 PM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Everyone was hating on MONDO 2000 a few weeks back, but a fashion movement called "techninja" would seem to be the legitimate child of that "R.U. a Cyberpunk?" spread.

In fairness, Test Dept ruled.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:54 PM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


In the 90s, we called them mission pants.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:05 PM on September 17, 2013


So, pretty much Boulder. Except the "hiking, biking, and climbing" happened at lunch and now you are ready for a night out at West End or The Bitter Bar or something.
posted by sideshow at 10:18 PM on September 17, 2013


sandettie light vessel automatic: "As someone who bikes, walks, and drives, in that order, and who routinely touches servers:

lol no
"

Do you bike walk drive with a fedora? 'Cos the vibe I get is that you'd need one to really tie these outfits together.
posted by barnacles at 10:19 PM on September 17, 2013


Am I missing something or is this basically just "dress like you're from Seattle"?
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:06 PM on September 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


If we're going to dress like William Gibson characters I'd rather go for a ratty tweed jacket stinking of tobacco, accesorized with a jar of pickled herring.
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:23 PM on September 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Am I missing something or is this basically just "dress like you're from Seattle"?

No one in seattle ever looks this good.(ok maybe extremely rarely, and they usually look like they're going for it or just generally have style) It's like someone described this look to them over the phone and they didn't write it down.

Everyone who wears anything "REI" like this always wears barfed up canned soup colors of awful pea green stuff, or just stuff like this with really doofy ugly shoes or worse, those weird "athletic clog" looking clog/hiking shoe mashups.

I will admit a good 50% of the problem is everyone buys stuff in "earthy tones" of brown and unappealing green, throws in weird mismatched stuff in blue/purple and maybe some "technical colors" like the orange bits in there and thinks they look "outdoorsy!" and cool.

If everyone actually wore dark colors it would look a hell of a lot more like the images linked here.

I think that's actually what's throwing me off really getting in to thinking this style is something that can be badass. I'm too used to seeing middle aged guys wearing something that looks a lot like it in clashy colors. That, and it's hard to un-associate cargo shorts/pants/long shorts from fedoraneckbeard types, especially around here.
posted by emptythought at 11:55 PM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Meh. From the title, I was kind of hopping for something like this. But it's OK, I guess, if you really like grey.
posted by happyroach at 12:05 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah well I suppose it's all good and doxed now. Thanks rebent :/

The rabbit hole goes far deeper than Acronym and Veilance.

And if you live in NL I can tell you where the entrance to the rabbit hole is, if you're nice and buy me a cupcake.
posted by digitalprimate at 12:17 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


My first thought of Techninja was tighter fitting jumpsuits with tons of pockets. This looks more like Techsamurai. Some of those clothes look heavy and slow to move in.
posted by Cog at 12:19 AM on September 18, 2013


I like the style. Some of the things I have would fit in with it, if I were younger/thinner, since I went to some extra effort to find hiking / outdoors stuff that was black or dark.

Hiking boots were the worst. Brown mixed with various bright colors is deeply terrifying. I know it doesn't really matter when you're out in the mountains away from any semblance of civilization but it still bothered me. Fortunately, I found these, which are not only the best hiking boots I've ever had, but it's a nice solid black. Wonder if they would fit in with this style?
posted by honestcoyote at 12:44 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


For biking in pouring rain I tend to wear a pair of cycling spandex and I'll carry a change of jeans in my waterproof backpack. It's sort of a hassle, especially when commuting, but it's more affordable.

On the flip side this tech ninja stuff hits a part of me that wanted to dress just like Solid Snake when I was younger. Maybe someday I'll have more of a disposable income to try out the expensive stuff.

What'd be really tech is if they put an accelerometer in a jacket so that when you fell it'd somehow cushion your fall. For stuff such as bike commuting in winter this would be awesome.
posted by gucci mane at 12:44 AM on September 18, 2013


What'd be really tech is if they put an accelerometer in a jacket so that when you fell it'd somehow cushion your fall. For stuff such as bike commuting in winter this would be awesome.

Like that airbag thing YT had in Snow Crash.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:55 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I haven't read Snow Crash, so maybe.
posted by gucci mane at 12:58 AM on September 18, 2013


What'd be really tech is if they put an accelerometer in a jacket so that when you fell it'd somehow cushion your fall. For stuff such as bike commuting in winter this would be awesome.

These things exist.
posted by digitalprimate at 1:00 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


gosh, does no one remember fashion editorials from the 90's?

Or Vexed Generation?
posted by Mocata at 1:38 AM on September 18, 2013


Just makes me want a pair of these.
posted by cthuljew at 1:54 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Invented trend to flog vastly overpriced outdoor wear. Next.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:54 AM on September 18, 2013


> For biking in pouring rain I tend to wear a pair of cycling spandex and I'll carry a change of jeans in my waterproof backpack. It's sort of a hassle, especially when commuting, but it's more affordable.

See, that would be one of the advantages of synthetic fabric trousers for office wear: They'll take less space and be lighter than jeans, and you won't have to worry about them arriving wrinkled when you unpack in the changing room.

(I can't believe I'm considering this seriously, but then again I'm considering starting a 50 mi. round trip bike commute to work a couple times a week, so the threshold of madness has probably already been crossed.)
posted by ardgedee at 4:13 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


What a bunch of wannabees. I only wear authentic Ninja brand gear.
posted by orme at 4:23 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


While I'm not moved by the techninja trend on the whole, outdoorsy/athletic stuff is probably my favorite type of clothing, and I wear it whenever I can. I love its comfort, durability, and thoughtful design. And secret pockets. I'm still discovering secret pockets in the running vest I've had for three years.

A lot of it holds on to stink pretty well, though. I'm intrigued by those Outlier pants, but I suspect they start to smell crotchy if you don't wash them weekly.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:35 AM on September 18, 2013


I just look hot in whatever I wear.
posted by planetesimal at 4:45 AM on September 18, 2013


synthetic fabric trousers for office wear: They'll take less space and be lighter than jeans

I- what? Jeans, in the office? Maybe in Tech Startup Fantasyland, but we're expected to wear trousers. Which I bring to the office on my bicycle. I fold them, so they don't wrinkle. The trousers, not the bike.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:17 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


You should consider a folding bicycle, too. Retrofitting S&S couplers isn't cheap, unfortunately.
posted by ardgedee at 5:21 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The EDC nerds are going to FLIP OUT over this.

Actually, they're starting to trend retro and DIY. Pricey slipjoint folders, cheap friction folders and home-made neck-knives with home-made micarta handles in home-made sheaths are every-freakin'-where. I expect them to find out about and obsess over Scandinavian military surplus wool pants and give up the paracord for DIY leather cord before winter sets in.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:34 AM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


This stuff looks great, but I'm thinking it might not be right for me.
posted by notaninja at 5:39 AM on September 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


What's with the weird RPG-styling of Reddit's fashion for men site?
posted by kdar at 5:58 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


This fashion seems weird and materialistic and gross to me and I cannot figure out exactly why I feel that way. All's I can say is that after spending three months in the field wearing nothing but durable-water-repellent, quick-drying, wicking techno-fabrics with convertible sleeves and lots of pockets, it felt unbelievably nice to finally get home and put on some cotton slacks and a nice shirt. I dunno. I also buy most of my clothes at the thrift store though, so obviously this trend isn't for me.

What I can't figure out is why I find this fashion to be actually distasteful. It's got these overtones of fetishizing the material that are bugging me over here. Seems strange, since so many others in this thread seem to think this stuff is great.
posted by Scientist at 6:05 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Everything about this sounds like Rohan who have been going since 1972 and have a strong community and ethical policy as well as clever pants technical clothing. They have always done clothes in grey, as well as other colours. They just need to appeal to this new market of young people rather than the retirees who have been wearing their clothes for half their lives.

Pretty much what people who live in the Lake District/San Francisco/Tasmania have been wearing for ever.
posted by asok at 6:13 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


This fashion seems weird and materialistic and gross to me and I cannot figure out exactly why I feel that way. All's I can say is that after spending three months in the field wearing nothing but durable-water-repellent, quick-drying, wicking techno-fabrics with convertible sleeves and lots of pockets...

They're co-opting your tribal marker, that of someone who actually needs the non-fru-fru version of this stuff, and uses it for its original intended purpose. Then the hipsters come along and adopt it as theirs without having to spend a single night shivering on a rock in the rain.

Now you know how comic book fans feel about ComicCon. We're not cool enough to be part of our own scene anymore.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:29 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's got these overtones of fetishizing the material....

Feature, not bug.
posted by digitalprimate at 6:35 AM on September 18, 2013


Well, I never felt particularly cool or "in" for wearing techy field clothes, and nobody really glorifies them or finds them interesting, other than perhaps the occasional REI partisan. Most of our team was wearing more normal stuff anyway, and a lot of those tech fibers are notably less comfortable than their natural-fiber equivalents. I'll be going with thin cotton t-shirts next time rather than techy wicking underlayer stuff, for instance. Lots of folks just go to thrift stores and look for stuff that looks like it's lightweight enough to dry fast and pack small, figuring that whatever they bring will be thoroughly trashed by the end of the field season regardless. This tech-fiber stuff is only incrementally better than traditional fabric at best, and sometimes no better or even actually worse, depending.

But anyway, no, I don't see technical field clothes as a marker of in-group status. Knowing what manioc tastes like, or a pathological hatred of ants, sure. But nobody cares what kind of pants you're wearing in the field.
posted by Scientist at 6:43 AM on September 18, 2013


Materialist fashion? Good heavens, next people will start choosing foods based on flavor and not a dispassionate analysis of its nutrition value.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:55 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, no girl tech ninjas then? Alrighty then, I'll just be over here in my black yoga gear and street ballet shoes if you need me.
posted by dejah420 at 7:08 AM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Deja420, I noticed that as well. It makes me wonder; are they actively misogynistic in a "boy's club" kind of way? Did they just not notice it's all men? Or maybe they just can't get women models to actually wear such fugly stuff.

Himm, they did have a link to a site that said that girls can wear guy clothing as well, and I found a couple women in the tumbr... who were wearing identical clothing to the guys. So "antifemine" might be the answer.
posted by happyroach at 7:18 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


What's with the weird RPG-styling of Reddit's fashion for men site?
posted by kdar at 8:58 AM on September 18


It's a tongue-in-cheak reference to the different subgenres of goth ninja. If you look at other content in that sub, it's mostly about wearing white plimsolls, green chinos, blue ocbds, and a levi commuter.
posted by rebent at 7:19 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


durable-water-repellent, quick-drying, wicking techno-fabrics

As a man who exists, literally, inside a dense shell of his own body hair, I want all of my clothes to be made out of that all that time.
posted by griphus at 7:19 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Happyroach, Deja420, I really don't know. I didn't include any of the haut couture techninja stuff because it's so esoteric, but there are a ton of ladies modeling that. Unfortunately much of it is NSFW, which I think does indicate a totally misogynistic stance that the field has. But I don't think the wearers of techninja treat it as a boys-only club, regardless of the brands and promoters, any more than goth or prep.
posted by rebent at 7:26 AM on September 18, 2013


This is basically how I dress except I call it "my arthritis means I have to lay down on the floor a lot," which is rather less exciting.
posted by elizardbits at 7:35 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I thought you just cobbled all your old UFOs into jumpsuits.
posted by griphus at 7:39 AM on September 18, 2013


you are the most jealous of my shiny purple shoes
posted by elizardbits at 7:42 AM on September 18, 2013


I thought the most overused inappropriately applied adjective for the past few years was going to be "steampunk", but "tactical" really exceeded my expectations and took the prize.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:46 AM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


So, no girl tech ninjas then?

I can't help thinking that I've been dressing as a "tech ninja" for years, back when it was known as "what's up with those poser chicks who wear yoga pants and hiking clothes when they obviously don't work out?"
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:02 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can somebody please tell me if orange down vests over acid-washed trucker jackets is in or out this year?
posted by entropicamericana at 8:15 AM on September 18, 2013


In, entropicamericana. That's always in. Accessorize with facial hair.
posted by Scientist at 8:24 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know, this smacks of invented trend to me.

Aren't trends usually invented? Somebody or some people recognise a certain shared sentiment and run with it? The 'techninja' trend is a reaction to (and also an evolution of eg. the hiking gear influence) the 'authentic' workwear inspired fashions that started in Japan and became big in the West a decade(?) back; selvedge denim, high quality leathers, Americana, Buzz Rickson replica MA-1 bomber jackets (William Gibson's Pattern Recognition), etc. I've mentioned the overturning of the trend of 'authentic' and the growing popularity of a technical aesthetic before in a past thread. It's almost as simple as people getting tired of looking backwards—a nostaliga for a past that was never theirs—adopting an aesthetic of technology and the future instead. I do agree with comments made above that it verges on the fetishistic. At some point the pendulum will swing back the other way.

My speculation is that the trend also draws inspiration from more fashion forward sources such as Rick Owens, Maison Martin Margiela and Yohji Yamamoto—designers and brands that, in each of their own ways, have experimented with unusual silhouettes, an aesthetic described as sober and restrained or dark and elegant, appropriating designs from generations past, and incorporating sportswear influences. Anyway, my point is that trends don't come out of nowhere and I do believe that most of the are manufactured to a certain extent. There have been steps in fashion that lead to this trend, and that it is as contrived as any other mode of fashion.
posted by quosimosaur at 8:24 AM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Steampunk never took off in a big way in art and fashion (the Prada F/W 2012 collection notwithstanding*). I think steampunk never took itself seriously enough for those cultural spheres. I may be misunderstanding the trend, but there's an attitude of joy and knowing make-believe at the core of steampunk that I suspect sits uncomfortably with some. These things are supposed to be a big part of art and fashion but the fit just wasn't quite right. I'm not really sure why but it's an interesting question to ponder.

*Even then, I remember reading comments from Miuccia Prada that the F/W 12 Men's collection was designed with tongue firmly in cheek. I think she said it was supposed to be a send up of traditional masculinity. Casting Willem Dafoe as a model will do that for your collection of clothing...
posted by quosimosaur at 8:42 AM on September 18, 2013


Interesting stuff.

I was given a Scottecvest Jacket last year.

I like the idea of tech wear, but I had trouble in day to day living with it. Being in a warm weather city, the jacket's protective design and materials make it hard to wear without boiling. Also, the sizing was a bit weirdly tight in some places like armholes/shoulders, and super baggy at the waist.

Possibly I could try a vest, solely for travel purposes, that would probably be easier.

Overall, I love the idea of functional clothing. In my cycling and running gear, it's common to see improvements in design that make it easier to use technology. Maybe one day the blazers and suit jackets at Brooks Brothers will be more friendly to modern 'EDC' needs.
posted by Argyle at 9:00 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


quosimosaur nails it.
posted by thedaniel at 9:02 AM on September 18, 2013


(the Prada F/W 2012 collection notwithstanding*).

That collection really does come right up to the line of straight-faced camp and stares it down, doesn't? I'm not complaining, I'd wear it in a heartbeat if I thought I could pull off those waists and looking like I'm inhabiting an alternate universe Prussian Empire.

Steampunk's biggest problem WRT the fashion world is that it came and went too quickly, was often poorly executed, and very "costume-y" -- or better put, a really really good Steampunk collection would essentially be a really good historical recreation collection - fun academic exercise, but no one is going to put it in the show.

Super expensive minimalism has been in vogue among upper tier techy professionals for a while now.
posted by The Whelk at 9:14 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like the style; I'm a big fan of utilitarian clothes, lots of pockets, generally prefer darker colors and earthtones, etc. I even kind of like "techninja" as a "brand" for the "style", although the idea that someone already called it "techninj" as some cool "slang" term (whoa, saved a syllable, there!) leads to mild feelings of face-punch. The prices, though! I have spent money on quality things in my life, but this is like a different world. If I ever spent over $100 on pants and every seam wasn't double-stitched I would feel a bit ripped off.

People do know about military surplus, though, right? I mean, it's not all great, but at least some of it is and since it's approximately 1/10 the cost of most of these clothes you can buy twice as much, keep the good stuff, donate the rest to goodwill and still save 80%. Plus, if its surplus from the country you live in, its production has already been subsidized by your tax dollars, so you finally get some of that money you didn't want to spend on "defense" back. Bonus! It is harder to find variety in styles and sizes, though. Just my personal take, different strokes for different folks and all.

This coat that turns into an inflatable chair is pretty choice. And someone must make things with >34" length or this guy has really short legs. Maybe it'll be like JNCOs and someone will come out with 48" long pants that you won't wear shoes with.
posted by nTeleKy at 9:20 AM on September 18, 2013


To me this seems more like a reaction to the more historically focused clothing favored by the neo-agrarians and hipsters. A sort of hipster echo. It seems to be a bit young and hasn't developed a set style yet. I have to admit there are certain things about it that catch my fancy but I could never wear it as I am a heavy set older fella and this is more for the the thin young men.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 9:32 AM on September 18, 2013


there are certain things about it that catch my fancy but I could never wear it as I am a heavy set older fella and this is more for the the thin young men.

In my experience there is no piece of clothing that highlights the difference a bit of age and paunch can make better than the men's cardigan.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:39 AM on September 18, 2013


I was given a Scottecvest Jacket last year.

Oh wow I am looking at the women's line and the sole pair of pants available has something called a "lipstick pocket" and now I am quivering like an enraged chihuahua OH MY GOD.

brb angrily biting things
posted by elizardbits at 9:44 AM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


HOW ABOUT A KNIFE POCKET FOR STABBING THINGS
posted by elizardbits at 9:44 AM on September 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


Archetype, Neal Stephenson on the cover of Wired 4.12, 1996, that article about laying undersea cables we all read. Everything new is old is new again.
posted by dglynn at 9:48 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really like the jacket that turns into a vest though so I am terribly conflicted
posted by elizardbits at 9:54 AM on September 18, 2013


Still don't see too many people wearing hardhats who aren't construction workers. Lightweight, solid, gives shade, well aerated, high-tech. And a lot of modern fabrics are like the plastics used in buildings: the properties are great, but the old-school stuff is actually better in case of fire (no toxic fumes, won't fuse with your skin).
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:18 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


And tech fabrics often can take on the wet dog funk. Anyone who has worked in any polypropylene based undergarments("base layer, dude") knows the smell.

Makes me wonder what the happening discos smelled like during the reign of polyester as dancewear in the mid 70's.
posted by dglynn at 10:23 AM on September 18, 2013


I'd love a lipstick pocket for aforementioned pricey slipjoint folding knife... keep my keys from scratching it up. They need to add it to the men's line.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:26 AM on September 18, 2013


see also: disco dermatitis
posted by elizardbits at 10:49 AM on September 18, 2013


So...soooo nerdy... Can't...resist...urge...to make fun of...men...who wear...ugly...shiny...ill-fitting...faux military...clothing... Go on...without...me...
posted by Mooseli at 11:07 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't stop thinking of Control Freak from Teen Titans.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:11 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Upon more reflection - utilitarian, fuss-free clothing is my day-to-day preference because pockets (CURSE YOU fake pockets on women's clothing, what the fuck) and constantly running after public transit, but given enough time, money and inclination I would really like to dress like Madame Esther Quek because look at that swag.
posted by zennish at 11:41 AM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Waaaaaaait a minute. That Neil Stephenson Wired cover - tech-fabric cargo pants and bicycle shorts as everyday wear - zillions of pockets that seem practical but people never actually use... This techninja crap is 90's dotcom retro, isn't it? It is, I knew it, goddamn! Futuristic my ass. We only think it's futuristic because we're old, and it was futuristic back then. Shit.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:06 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Actually, they're starting to trend retro and DIY. Pricey slipjoint folders, cheap friction folders
HEY! I'll have you know my stag handled GEC 73s and my Michael Morris Friction Folder serve a purpose…………………of making me feel whole.
posted by stltony at 12:29 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Holy shit it's like looking into a mirror. I'm uneasy now because this is kind of totally how I dress and I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be ashamed. I am not a snowflake. Someone tell me what to do.

I have really loved military style since the mid 90's when hip hop was all military style - olive baggy paratroop pants with laced up timbs. Then I started getting into backpacking - hardshells, softshells, technical pants - and it all just blended together. I have so many backpacking clothes they bleed into my every day wear...I totally did not know this was a thing.

So many bookmarks about to happen.
posted by jnnla at 12:48 PM on September 18, 2013


That's a lot of time and effort for something only the server racks are going to see.

LOL. F*cking NAILED IT.
posted by jnnla at 12:49 PM on September 18, 2013


jnnla, there's no culture, look, or style that has not or will not be co-opted and then derided. It doesn't matter if someone dresses like X "before it got popular" or "because I saw it on TV." We all have to wear something, and in the end, we wear what is in our closets. You don't need to "work it", you don't need to dress for anyone; many people do and that's just what our lives are like.

So keep being yourself even if you don't know who that is.
posted by rebent at 1:20 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


You don't need to "work it", you don't need to dress for anyone; many people do and that's just what our lives are like.So keep being yourself even if you don't know who that is.

I was being cheeky...but I'd say that's spot on advice in any case :)
posted by jnnla at 1:22 PM on September 18, 2013


From page 2 of the reddit style guide:

“Avant-garde” is advanced and individual thinking. The exact translation from french means “before the crowd or the mass”, therefore it can never be trendy nor fashionable.”

Does this mean never in the stock at zappo's & land's end?
posted by bukvich at 1:23 PM on September 18, 2013


so, the internet just noticed a fashion trend that the Hip-Hop and EDM communities have been rockin for a couple decades now? neat.
posted by badstone at 1:42 PM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I misread that "hip-hop and EBM communities" and for a second I thought there was an EBM scene still in existence.
posted by griphus at 1:46 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]



so, the internet just noticed a fashion trend that the Hip-Hop and EDM communities have been rockin for a couple decades now? neat.


Yeah, this look/obsession was huge among people I knew who threw enormous outdoor rave parties back in the mid '90s, especially among the small crew of hard acid/gabber/techno aficionados. The idea was to be able to spend all weekend outside dancing your ass off while simultaneously carrying everything needed (Camelback, tiny flashlight, headlamp, multitool, pipe, stash, lighter, compact forms of sustenance, and lord knows what else) by anybody at any time, and to look like a transplant from a Culture novel while doing it. It was an oppositional look to Candy Ravers who looked like they took their inspiration from a bag of Circus Peanuts, and lasted just about as long in the rain. The only accepted colors were acid yellow or maybe safety orange, everything else was black or grey.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:20 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Am currently living semi- in the field (wilderness artist in residence) and will say that most of the people I'm hiking with who are scientists/pros do the mix of tech fabric and thrift store options that seems to make sense to me too. I have a few pieces of merino wool stuff and it is the bomb - but needs to be on sale or found at Costco in my book. Holds stink far less than polypro too! Definitely prefer nylon hiking pants to jeans - with merino long johns if needed.... The fashion part of the stuff linked above doesn't send me but I do live in hiking stuff a lot of the time.
posted by leslies at 3:52 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I honestly love this shit, in no small part because of 90s raver-nerd nostalgia. It's like high school, but with clothes that actually fit properly.

Unfortunately, fit is also the main thing you sacrifice when you start trying to buy this stuff for a reasonable amount of money. And it's not like you can just take something made of crazy synthetics in to the tailor to be altered. Is it? Plz hope me

Anyway, I can't wait for it to get overplayed so it'll start filtering down into the price points I can actually afford.
posted by en forme de poire at 6:23 PM on October 2, 2013


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