Finally, Clothes for the Modern Outdoorswoman

Finally, Clothes for the Modern Outdoorswoman | DARLING

Almost all of my stored skiwear from the past 15 years is by far the most brightly colored — and unattractive — of my too-cluttered closet. Until recently, it has felt like if you wanted something warm to hike in the snow, then you were going to be wearing neon purple or a loud, colorful design down your sleeve. There’s not a spread of fashion possibilities for women like there is for men and few brands seem to introduce a sophisticated palette for the skier, camper or hiker in us.

Sure, we might own a Barbour jacket, a pair of Hunter boots, and perhaps a few other items designed by Brooks Brothers, but in general, we’ve yet to see many designers leap over the hurdles that outdoorswear can bring to the fashion table — issues like durability, warmth, or functionality under the elements. In other words, there’s been little shape to allowing a space for “the modern outdoorswoman,” the person defined by companies like Woolrich and Westerlind with their recent collaboration.

woolrich kitchen

It was in speaking to Karuna Scheinfeld, VP of Design at Woolrich, that I began to see why the Woolrich x Westerlind collection is truly so special.

Woolrich has a long history as the oldest operating woolen mill in the USA and can safely be termed a “historic” company (their wool was used to produce blankets for Civil War soldiers). Up until now, they have stood tall on what can be termed a very classic Americana branding of knits, woolens, and flannels. Their products, simply put, are made to last a lifetime.

When Scheinfeld came to the design table, she was looking to take what they already did so well in terms of quality and elevate it to a lifestyle brand. One of her interests was in expanding the options for women in this market, and she was ready to collaborate — something a lot of companies are starting to do, but for women in fashion can be explosively powerful. Her meeting with Andrea Westerlind, Swedish designer and owner of her eponymous store chain Westerlind, in 2015 would begin the narrative for a new line of clothes utilizing each woman’s strengths and draw on their mutual passion for female collaboration in the workplace.

woolrich up close woolrich coffee

When I spent the first part of June walking, hiking, riding and sailing my way around Iceland with Westerlind and a few other ladies (plus one brave male photographer), I was hoping that what had been promised to me over the phone would hold: I would be kept warm and I would be kept fashionable. Fortunately for all of us, it was true.

Everything I wore, from the more signature Woolrich wool sweaters and parkas, to the Woolrich x Westerlind collection poncho, hat and jacket felt sleek, soft, and extremely durable. We really gave these clothes a test run, climbing hills and snowy glaciers and riding horses for 16 hours a day, and they all wore like a dream.

boatwoolrich clothes

The color scheme of the collection was inspired by a trip Westerlind took to Iceland over a year prior. She came back from a trip with National Geographic and traveled to the Woolrich Mill in Pennsylvania to look at their archives. Between her Swedish eye and Scheinfeld’s designs, the soft grey and cream wools of Woolrich produced a collection that, for me, was something out of a dream.

By far my favorite piece was the poncho; a reversible, open shawl styled piece that I found a reason to drape around myself everywhere we went — from atop Icelandic horses to on deck the Aurore Arktika sailing past the fjords. It was light to hold but incredibly warm, which I only realized when I begrudgingly relinquished it at the close of the trip, and found that the wind had indeed been blowing.

iceland pony

The bottom line is that I’m now convinced that collaborations like Woolrich x Westerlind are the future for all women’s wear — but particularly for outdoorswear. The pieces are everything I want to invest in for my closet, and the good news is the designers, ethics and ethos behind them are also of the highest caliber.

Discover the full collection at: WoolrichxWesterlind and Woolrich.

Eager for your own trip to Iceland? Check out tours with aurora-arktika.com, and from Camilla at thefjordpeople.is. And don’t miss our Iceland special appearing in our newest Darling Issue No.18!

Images via Daniel Dent

Teresa works as Darling's Managing Editor for print and has her BA with honors in English Literature and Art History from Vassar College (NY). Born in London, England, she is currently settled in Los Angeles after living in Tauranga, New Zealand. She loves to travel, write, sport her grandmother's couture from the 1940s.

5 COMMENTS
  • Varese moda donna e stile January 15, 2017

    Woolrich is one of my favourite “winter stylish friend” 😉
    So warm, but in the meanwhile light, and so stylish brand to properly “fight” vs the cold climate.
    The pictures, as usual, are so great and detailed.
    Thanks a lot for the inspirationg and the very interesting article.
    moda donna a Varese

  • Carrie January 13, 2017

    Finally, finally! I have been wandering around outdoor gear stores for a few years now completely disheartened that the men’s clothes come in yummy blues, greys, greens only to walk over to the women’s section to see more teal, hot pink, and bright purple…colors that no one wears on a daily basis since the 80s. This is fabulous news…and beautifully photographed.

  • Abby Cameron January 13, 2017

    These clothes are absolutely amazing. The color palette is beautiful. I received a pair of Woolrich slippers for Christmas and they have become my favorite. I was surprised to see the label. The only Woolrich of my memory came out of my grandmother’s home. Off to shop!

    • Anonymous January 16, 2017

      Hi Abby – Yes the quality and durability of these clothes coupled with the modern redesign is so fabulous. Hope you found some lovely things for your wardrobe!

  • Wow, I love the colour palette of these!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

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