Working for the weekend

Last year I wrote about the growth in outdoor-inspired products,  an emerging trend stemming from our continued love affair with work wear, Americana and all things old school.

Slowly but surely hiking gear, backpacks, parkas and mountain gear have entered our fashion field of vision.  The zeitgeist is getting away for the weekend in bright, but considered colours, even if it's only symbolically.

Slowly but surely hiking gear, backpacks, parkas and mountain gear have entered our fashion field of vision.

As always, the Japanese are doing it best and showing us how to do the things we used to do, only better.  Their fabrics and construction are tech, but their attitudes are lo-fi and analogue.  They reference the great outdoors as if Yosemite National Park or The Great Dividing Range were their own, but these masters of style and trend are no more connected to the land than we are. So why such a strong leaning to nature?

We've already had cycling, but for city dwellers this was an easy one to grasp.  The surfing scene has a 70s vibe again, a return to the ways of the lifestyle surfer -  no competition, no aggression, just old school boards and a free loving attitude for the water and fellow man.  Alternatives to the commercial surf shop and surf brand are popping up all over the place, like Rhombus in Melbourne, Six Ounce in Sydney, Mollusc in Brooklyn and Saturdays in New York City.  Shapers from the 60s and 70s are enjoying a renaissance as their models and styles are given a new lease of life, probably by the children of those who rode them originally.

It makes me wonder if this fascination with the outdoors is a replacement for the time we don't give ourselves.  A kind of peace offering to the inner explorer and adventurer we might wish we were or hoped we'd become.  Are we searching for something purer and simpler than what we're doing, so much so that we're willing to at least look like we have time for the outdoors?

I see it as a trend that gets us away from the suit and the grind of 9-5. It's a trend that is masculine, strong and easy to adopt. It suggests a lot more than being simply casual and is a clear thumbing of the nose at work and 'the man', even if we still have to answer to him on Monday.

This trend is everywhere and it is THE trend for urban centres.  It suggests we want to get away and that we're trying, through each purchase, to get closer to how we'd like to be.  We may not have time to go surfing or climb the nearest peak, but these pieces do hint to where we'd rather be and that's not a bad start I think.

What do you think?  Is this just another trend or something that plants a seed?

This article Working for the weekend was originally published in The Age.