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Why We’re Buying Into The Tech Fabric Trend

Nylon, shell, Gore-Tex and more – the man-made materials the MR PORTER team are relying on this season

The MR PORTER offices are not exactly off the beaten track. They’re accessed by escalators and lifts rather than rocky paths and sheer cliff faces. There are lots of restaurants nearby if you get hungry. We’ve even got our own coffee shop, up on the roof. You can get brownies there. Thanks to the air conditioning, the climate is unerringly steady. Thanks to the extendable blackout blinds, we’re even protected from the sun, should it get too much. Despite all this, though, we’re tooling up for some serious turbulence. Our Wish Lists are full of shell jackets, stretch-nylon trousersGore-Tex windbreakers and hiking boots. You might think us mad. We prefer the term “on trend”. Why? This, need we remind you, is the way the fashion world seems to be leaning this season. Everyone from Off-White to Lanvin is preparing for a very stylish hike with no fixed start or end point, with a slew of garments in high-end man-made or technical fabrics. So this is what we’re wearing. And this is how we’re going to wear it. Any questions?

When I think of technical fabrics, my immediate reaction is to think of Prada, the progenitor of sports-tech in menswear, and, more specifically, nylon. Nylon, the Prada way, doesn’t have to mean basic colours and practical outdoor gear – it can also be fun and streetwise.

This padded shirt may seem a little “extra” at first sight, but think of it as something to wear over T-shirts (and even shirts) that’s easily styled with detailed jeans – such as this pair by Palm Angels. Blending two of Prada’s most iconic prints from its archive, this piece will look great in the autumn sunlight and keep you cosy once the warmth of the day snaps to a sudden evening chill.

Prada’s camera bag is a great alternative to the current boom in belt bags, but with the ability to store all the essentials and more.

Wear it with

  • Palm Angels Skinny-Fit Logo-Print Stretch-Denim Jeans

  • Prada Nylon Camera Bag

If winter is going to be as perishing as summer was excruciating, then we’re going to have to wrap up very warm indeed. I’m well aware that I can’t wear a bright yellow quilted Aspesi jacket to every social occasion, though, which is why I’ll be picking up this understated number from Herno Laminar. Made with waterproof Gore-Tex fabric and stuffed with insulating down, it’s both super warm and relatively smart. By wearing it with a brightly coloured cashmere sweater, I’ll be nailing two winter trends at once. Aren’t you pleased for me?

Wear it with

  • Sunspel Wool Sweater

  • Mr P. Garment-Dyed Cotton-Twill Chinos

This autumn, rather than blend into a sea of navy trenches, I want to make a splash in something a little brighter, a little louder… something like this neon patchwork waterproof by LA brand Palm Angels. It’s cut from lightweight coated shell and boxy enough to hide a multitude of sins (all those ribs and margaritas). Probably best I pair it with something a little quieter, such as these low-top sneakers by AMI and a pair of Mr P. drawstring trousers.

Wear it with

  • Mr P. Slim-Fit Wool-Twill Drawstring Trousers

  • AMI Leather and Suede Sneakers

Sometimes, a trend comes along that you have to grab by the horns, and the proliferation of belt bags this season is something I’ve taken to wholeheartedly. What unfashionable nonsense, I hear you quip, but have you ever used one? The unbridled convenience of having your appurtenances zipped about your person and not stuffed lumpily into your pockets is a practical triumph, and an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up. This ripstop one from Heron Preston is bright, durable and will go well with my weekend uniform of a black Acne Studios sweater and – because a man can never have too many pockets – these cargo trousers from AMI. Trends are seldom so useful, and I thank the fashion gods daily. Blessed be the belt bags.

Wear it with

  • Acne Studios Nicha Wool-Blend Sweater

  • AMI Wide-Leg Cotton Cargo Trousers

Autumn is hurtling towards us like a meteor in a hurry. The leaves are turning, and so the party must be over. Perhaps that is no bad thing, though, as it has been uncommonly hot in England this summer and the season of mellow fruitfulness could be just what we need. At any rate, I will keep any excessive “mellowness” out with this shell bomber by McQ Alexander McQueen, which has an agreeable duvet lining. I will wear it with this light blue cotton jersey sweatshirt from Acne Studios and these exquisitely made Loro Piano slim-fit denim jeans. So attired, I feel I can face whatever the capricious English weather throws my way.

Wear it with

  • Acne Studios Garment-Dyed Loopback Cotton-Jersey Sweatshirt

  • Loro Piana Slim-Fit Stretch-Denim Jeans

This whole tech-fabric-trend thing is a godsend – finally we can wear Gore-Tex in public, and with pride. Away from the runway, many of us have been happily doing so for ever, and those who cycle particularly appreciate the need for something lightweight, packable, breathable and rain-resistant all in one. Pas Normal Studios is probably the hottest cycle garb brand of the moment – Off-White for the Lycra-clad, some might say. Bright colours, check, bold sans-serif branding, check. Pair with these black Café Du Cycliste bibs and you’ll be on point for one of fashion’s current looks. Not that many on the Sunday club run will know. But you’ll know, and that’s everything, right?

Wear it with

  • Pas Normal Studios Solitude Zip-Up Cycling Jersey

  • Cafe du Cycliste Blandine Mesh-Panelled Cycling Bib Shorts

One of the great things about men’s fashion at the moment is that you can dress like you’ve just raided a charity shop blindfolded and no one bats an eyelid. Which means there has never been a more appropriate time to wear highly flammable fabrics in lurid colours. This nylon Flagstuff shell jacket fits that description perfectly. All I have to do is avoid pub smoking areas, and pair it with some more natural fabrics, such as denim and cotton. Sorted.

Wear it with

  • Undercover Printed Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt

  • Nudie Jeans Lean Dean Slim-Fit Stretch-Denim Jeans

As we transition from this year’s scorching summer into an inevitably chillier autumn season, technical fabrics are perfectly designed to adapt to the change in temperature. The king of high-performance technical garments, Stone Island really delivers here with this garment-dyed nylon-metal jacket – it combines all the functional benefits of its signature styles with a silhouette that can be worn in both smart and casual settings. Badge on or off? Up to you.

Wear it with

  • Albam Loopback Cotton-Jersey Sweatshirt

  • Cutler and Gross Round-Frame Tortoiseshell Acetate and Gold-Tone Sunglasses

The work jacket is a staple of Craig Green’s collections, and come autumn this quilted version will play a leading role in my wardrobe. Thanks to its subtle graphic stripes, it’s got a bit more of an outdoorsy feel to it than the classic version, but it still packs the same functionality with its layered handwarmer pockets.

Wear it with

  • Norse Projects Niels Mélange Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt

  • Converse 1970s Chuck Taylor All Star Canvas Sneakers