What is Techwear?

What Is Techwear?

What is techwear?  To put simply, techwear is the abbreviated word for technical wear, and it literally classifies as clothing that serves a technical purpose besides just covering your body. These technical functionalities and properties may include heat insulation, goretex, schoeller softshell and ventile fabrics, touch-screen compatibility with the smartphone or tablet, breathability, water resistance, or additional accessory storage. 

That's not to say techwear is just that; Clothing with cool tactical or technical functionalities. If that were true anyone wearing a North face fleece jacket would be considered as a techwear enthusiasts.

Whether you actually use or require that functionality is a plus but mostly irrelevant as the current definition of techwear is mostly based on its fashion aesthetic. Techwear is a fashion with its own culture, aesthetic and attitude much like any other niche fashion trend.  It's the intersection of avant-garde fashion and technical properties. There are many unspoken rules written by articles and spoken by techwear enthusiasts in online communities on how to wear techwear, so it can get quite confusing as to what exactly constitutes a cool techwear look.

But If you're reading this article, you probably already have somewhat of an idea on how people wear techwear. You've probably already seen some celebrities like Kanye West sporting some techwear sweaters and pants.

From head to toe, the aesthetic of standard techwear usually prioritizes multiple layers, black or dark futuristic military style windbreakers and tapered cargo pants with minimalist yet sleek design.

Overall it's an edgy look. Techwear enthusiasts get to dress like anarchists in a dystopian bleak future (think Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Blade Runner, etc). But there are so many other items that can be classified as techwear and suit your overall silhouette that it's hard to say what is and isn't techwear. At the end of the day, all the counts is what puts a smile on your face and makes you feel more connected and comfortable with your surrounding. But for those who are perhaps beginners to techwear and seeking a guide on what to look for, we've compiled some tips and recommendations to help you construct your first techwear outfit.

So How do you wear techwear?

Techwear tends to be super finnicky when it comes to looking good. Many may argue against this but the inspiration for the aesthetic of techwear literally comes from classic movies like Ghost in the Shell, Akira, and the Sprawl trilogy and it frequently involves ultra-athletic super-soldier types. Take a look around at Techwear being done properly and you’ll find for the most part it looks best for people who have a decently athletic build. For this reason, many techwear enthusaists say that techwear can look goofy and awkward on heavier or plus sized body types, but this is up for debate.

Nevertheless, techwear is literally inspired by futuristic anime warriors, so perhaps there is some merit in saying that it looks the best when the wearer has a leaner more fit looking body. To that end, moreso than a lot of fashion styles that appeal to people new to fashion techwear seems to requires a certain body type.

So where to begin?

Unfortunately, Techwear isn’t a single item of clothing – it’s a uniform. So if you're planning to wear a techwear outfit that can get the nod of approval from the techwear community you may end of breaking your wallet and costing you thousands if you're not careful. Also most techwear brands are not cheap, the most popular brands being Acronym, Arc'teryx, and Nike with prices ranging from $300 all the way to $2,000 for just one jacket. Acronym pants are literally the holy grail of techwear enthusiasts but their prices can start from $900.

The high prices are usually due to the high quality fabric that is usually required to create techwear clothing. And It's the the combination of this specialized fabrics and features with modern urban styles that makes techwear so appealing, so if you try to go too budget, you'll end up looking like a budget techwear guy.

So cheap techwear might be hard to find due to it’s reliance on high-quality fabrics, but a number of technical brands have developed their own materials and technologies that are equally capable of withstanding the elements at a more affordable cost. The North Face, for example, developed a technology called DRYVENT that offers the same breathable, waterproof protection, at a more affordable price point. Also we at ninjadark.com have a wide selection of techwear jackets, pants, and shoes that don't sacrifice quality for a more affordable price. 

Where do you get your inspiration?

Techwear pretty much exists only in online communities and doesn’t branch out into the real world nearly as much like other fashion niches. Whether this is the result of  techwear originating in the “nerdier” online communities or just from the proliferation of word-of-mouth from these online communities is up to debate. .

You may actually never bump into another techwear enthusiasts in real life due to its small community and the fact that many techwear wearers will only wear a full techwear outfit seldom in public. 

In a way, that’s pretty cool because it means techwear is cyberpunk. But it does mean that the aesthetic is not as solidly defined as many of us would like to think it is. what this means for you is that  

In conclusion

Techwear is definitely not easy. It's pricey, and definitely is not even a good looking style. Paring back the extreme parts of techwear to something wearable requires a good degree of knowledge of what you’re doing when it comes to combining materials, colours, patterns, etc. Otherwise you can end up looking like a social outcast or cosplaying nerd dressed in layers of expensive black stuff. With that said, it can be really interestingly well done, and developing a sense of working with the aesthetics and technical garments involved can lead to some really cool fashion experiments with pre-existing styles which create a kind of cyberpunk look in their own right.