Wondering why you see this particular style of clothing, which combines functionality, technology, Asian influences and urban fashion, blooming all over the internet?
Well, you're in the right place. In this article, we tell you everything about this amazing universe that is Techwear, a real revolution in streetwear.
I. The birth of Techwear Fashion
A. The starting point : Errolson Hugh and Acronym
One might think that Techwear is a recent movement, linked to technological advances, such as the internet or the increasingly spectacular special effects, but this is not the case, as this style of clothing has existed since the mid-90s.
What we call Techwear today was, at the beginning, only a whisper. It could have disappeared anytime. It was only a brand, only a name: ACRONYM.
Founded by Errolson Hugh and Michaela Sachenbacher, ACRONYM reimagines sports and utility garments with futuristic flair. This visionnary, ahead of its time brand has captured the attention of not only John Mayer and Travis Scott, but also brands like Stone Island and Nike ACG, which have tapped Hugh for creative consultation.
But despite the brand’s high-profile cosigns, the ACRONYM name still holds water with its cult Techwear following, who count Hugh and Sachenbacher as guiding inspirations. After over 20 years in business, the Munich-based brand has retained the trust of its wearers — and its mystique. That’s no easy feat.
ACRONYM’s story began in 1994, when Errolson Hugh and Michaela Sachenbacher founded it as an independent design agency in Munich. Hugh and Sachenbacher quickly grew an impressive slate of clients including Burton Snowboards — a partnership which lasted almost 14 years.
KIT-1, ACRONYM’s first collection, released in 2002 and featured a jacket, a bag, a soundtrack, software, catalogs featuring concept art and a few other small items. The collection set the tone for the brand, one infused with the spirit of freedom and self-reliance. Much of this ethos stems from Hugh’s fascination with karate, particularly the dynamism of the "karate gi" which allows for full range of motion.
“Autonomy is really one of the fundamental tenets of our approach because the whole idea of our fit mechanics is centered around the idea of empowerment,” “You want to be physically present as much as you possibly can be. That comes from our martial arts background." said Errolson in the medias.
ACRONYM has kept its marketing minimal, its ethos consistent and its circle small (Hugh and Sachenbacher were ACRONYM’s only full-time employees until 2009). Their quality-first approach has built a brand people don’t just covet, but trust.
B. The Cyberpunk and Gothic influences
Techwear is synonymous with freedom and fluidity.
However, it is also a clothing movement that allows people to visually express their convictions or to wear rebellious outfits.
The democratization of dystopian values and science fiction through movies or video games have led many people to be interested in futuristic clothes that allow them to combine streetwear and quirky accessories.
It's no wonder that Techwear is taken up by the Cyberpunk, Gothic and Warcore movements.
New generations love the urban military feel of these Techwear garments, as they are comfortable, functional and most importantly, stylish. Basically, people want to look like ninjas of the future.
The don't hesitate to wear functional jackets, baggy cargo pants and cyberpunk helmets or ninja masks, without ever forgetting a dark hood, the tattoos and the chunky rings.
II. What is Tech wear Clothing all about?
Now that you know where the Techwear movement comes from when it was born, let's really explain what it's all about.
A. Techwear is functional clothing
Basically Techwear is « technology-infused apparel », and initially, it was reserved for insiders and iconoclasts.
One could say that this style of clothing was a bit of a snob, because of the price but also because of the spirit that inspired the design of the clothes.
To be honest, few people understood the interest of owning a jacket that could be folded in 10 different ways for a price of over 1000 dollars.
Over time, ACRONYM has inspired many other Techwear brands, such as ENFINLEVE, ORBITGEAR, THRUDARK, VOLLEBAK, and OFFWRLD. This last rising brand offers affordable Techwear Clothing for men and women like pants, jackets, hoodies, shirts, shorts, shoes, bags, masks and many futuristic accessories. We can even say that this brands brings a new life to streetwear.
Techwear has thus become more democratic and affordable, but the clothes have not lost in quality. Their style and functionality changed and allowed Techwear to develop beyond what Hugh and Sachenbacher could have hoped for.
In fact, if you are looking for Techwear in 2022, you can find affordable jackets, pants, t-shirts, sweaters, shoes, bags and many other accessories with a variety of functions and uses.
Run in the stairs or do shopping in the pouring rain or comfortably take the plane for a 10hours flight. Weather doesn’t count anymore when you wear Techwear. This is a real nature protection.
Today, if you would have to explain what is Techwear to somebody who doesn't know anything about it, three words should come to your mind : "flexibility", "efficiency", and "convenience".
Lots of pockets when you parkour, skates or set out to conquer the city at night.
op notch materials combined with utilitarian designs, liberating cuts and dystopian vibes.
B. The Techwear aesthetic
What has contributed greatly to the growth of Techwear is its futuristic look that borders on ninja style.
The aggressive and quirky side of this style of clothing has allowed it to reach the younger generations who want to be part of a community of people with the same interests as them.
When you see people wearing Techwear, you can't help but think of cyberpunk dystopias, robotics, Matrix movies, Ghost in the shell, Blader Runner science fiction, the world of hackers, the Darknet and video games like Watchdogs.
Techwear garments are soft, flowing and lightweight, allowing excellent freedom of movement during activities.
With large, thick sweater collars, mysterious hoods and stylish masks, Techwear gives a "ghost" appearance to some.
These garments allow many people who are not confident to leave their homes without fear of the outside world.
We can easily say that Techwear is a real life-armor.
C. Techwear is a form of expression
Techwear is inspired by nihilism and it is a protest: it's not just a garment but THE GARMENT OF PROTEST AND REVOLUTION.
This is a physical philosophy unfolding right before our eyes.
Basically, some Techwear wearers are obsessed with existentialism, science fiction and cyberpunk dystopias.
Techwear is a way for many people to express their convictions and their rejection of society. We can say that some of them dream of a new world order in which there would be no more rules, giving birth to a global anarchy.
III. How Techwear has given birth to other streetwear subcultures
A. Darkwear: the darker side of Tech Wear
Darkwear is close to the Techwear movement, because it is about the same clothes, but Darkwear enthusiasts prefer to create blacker, darker, more mysterious outfits.
They are closer to the Gothic, emo and metal movements. These enthusiasts are often very tattooed and are very rebellious.
B. Warcore, when civilians embrace military fashion
Once, fashion only osmosed military looks after they had outlived their functionality. Now, in a time of endless war, heedless consumption, and great social stratification, all bets are off.
Warcore uses accessories and equipment used by the military to recreate outfits with style. Warcore outfits are fashionable because they have this quirky and pro-army side that is close to Gruntstyle. Warcore in its current form combines military influences with goth, eboy, and metal aesthetics.
It's not uncommon to see Warcore fans wearing replica bulletproof vests or chestrigs that resemble the belts in which the military can store their ammunition magazines and lots of tools.