Armada has taken a long, hard look at their outerwear endeavors and returned with a new mission statement for winter 21/22. The plan is to use the experimental think-outside-the-box ethos that drove the Zero Collection on the hardgoods side to produce unique, high-quality technical outerwear. The Furtherance 3L Gore-Tex® Pro Anorak headlines this new outerwear direction with features and styling trickling down through the rest of the collection. It will also be the gold standard of Armada softgoods, built with premium tech, unisex design, and sustainable processes.
Armada’s Zero Collection has always been driven by innovation not commercial goals, The aim is to produce products that the athletes and team behind Armada want to see brought to market, and to learn from those products. The perfect example of this is the B-Dog Edgeless. An edgeless ski is not only a challenge to produce from a manufacturing perspective, there is no precedent in selling a completely edgeless ski to the public. It’s also a niche product by any definition. The Furtherance Jacket is the first output from the outerwear side of the innovation lab with the same mindset. The Armada team has built the exact jacket they wanted to see, costs be damned. Of course, the Furtherance Anorak will also be a niche product with that much tech in a streetwear-inspired design, but it will also form the basis of future outerwear direction.
Cory McDonald spearheaded the design of this year’s Armada outerwear. Cory, who was previously at a major snowboard brand for 16 years running their outerwear design, spoke to us about developing the new collection and the parallels between the Zero collection and the new direction with outerwear.
“I was really impressed with the Zero Collection in hardgoods. It's a space to work in where designers aren't shackled by the constraints of a traditional selling model, where decisions are primarily made through a commercial lens. ‘To ensure creativity always has a place in skiing,’ is a central tenet of the Armada brand. It's all about innovation and trying cool things. It was great to take that from the hardgoods side, to have that energy to feed off of and bring into softgoods.”
The Furtherance Anorak epitomizes this in the new outerwear collection. It is a no-stone-unturned design bringing best-in-class mountain technology into a jacket with clean lines and streetwear styling, whilst maintaining mountain functionality.
“We went in with this concept-car mindset and asked ourselves what we could do with a flagship item that sets the tone of the whole outerwear collection. We wanted t see what we could do to push the construction and aesthetic of the line; something to pull technologies and ideas from and into the rest of the collection. It’s like the North Star, something you can point to that signals the direction of the collection. That was the initial goal of doing the Furtherance Anorak.”
One of the primary directions in which Armada is pushing their outerwear this year is to increase the longevity of their products whilst minimizing their environmental impact. The Furtherance Anorak comes with an AR Lifetime Warranty and best-in-class materials. We all know the most sustainable product is the one that’s never made. Buying things that aren’t going to need to be replaced often (or at all) is the most sustainable way to shop. What stands out about the Furtherance Jacket, other than its striking design, is that it comes with an AR Lifetime Warranty.
“A piece with sustainable construction is what we were going for with the Furtherance Anorak; it’s made with Gore-Tex® Pro Most Rugged, the most durable fabric Gore-Tex® makes. With exactly that thought process, we decided to make this thing bombproof and designed it to last decades, not years. Durability even played into the decisions we made around what details we used; what’s simple but effective and durable. Hence the buckles on the front, which give a lot more life than a horizontal zipper that you’re opening and closing all the time. It was all done through the lens of making this jacket last and so we backed it with a lifetime warranty too.”
Aiming to decrease their environmental impact and be more transparent about their supply chains, Armada has become a Bluesign Partner as well as partnering with the Fair Labor Association and Sustainable Apparel Coalition. They’re also working with Allied Feather & Down, meaning all their down products are traceable at retail.
“Overall as a company what we’re trying to do is be honest about it. We’re doing as much as we can in the supply chains that we’re in and there are realities to that. But we’re making the decisions to invest in everything we can to reduce our impact.”
Cory and Armada have taken a fresh approach to producing outerwear. The collection comes in two broad strands, freeride and freestyle and the idea is to implement the quiver mindset that we all understand from skis into outerwear and layering. This has led to a thoughtful and practical lineup from Armada this year, meaning that all bases - and price points - have been covered.
“We took the time to assess the overall collection. This year we wanted to only make stuff we needed and get rid of the stuff we didn’t think we needed. That also ties back into the sustainability goals of the collection. We covered all bases but not more than once. It really slimmed down the line but there's still everything you need to layer with, to be ready for anything the mountain can throw at you.”
The outerwear line this year has also seen the move to greater availability of unisex clothing within the Armada outerwear range. Starting with the Furtherance Anorak and moving into layering, that's something that will continue further through the collections in the coming seasons. When asked about the future of Armada Outerwear, Cory said to also look out for more flagship pieces that define the whole collection, and not just in jackets/outerwear.
“You’ll see when we get into winter 22/23, future seasons have other items that have that mindset, we’re not just going to do an outerwear jacket every season, there are more pieces in the pipeline that follow that Zero mindset of innovation.”
Armada has always produced awesome-looking outerwear but has, until now, perhaps not displayed the creativity and innovation on the softgoods side that they have with hardgoods. The Furtherance Anorak changes that and the accompanying collection marks a change in the way we’ll be seeing Armada Outerwear for winters to come.
Head over to armadaskis.com to learn more about the Furtherance Anorak and check out the full collection.