The presentation of the Mammut Delta X collection at the OutDoor Friedrichshafen trade fair this year (2018) – and a Chinese tea ceremony set from Kingpool – provided a nice case of ways we are not “at home in…” this world of fashion and tradition.
Most people, I’d bet, only shook their heads at these things, if they even noticed them.
For me, though, they were reason to look closer and learn more. Or to think more and seek to share some thoughts, at least.
The (Practical) Metaphor of Tea
The tea set I noticed is a take on traditional such sets for the Chinese tea ceremony.
Meant for camping (or rather, glamping), it is just much smaller and (somewhat) more carriable.
It’s nothing special (or only too special) if you aren’t into tea.
If you are into tea and its celebration, as well as the outdoors, then it is an interesting proposition, however.
All the more so as there seems not to be any outdoors company that does not make some coffee maker, but hardly any that do anything about tea.
Seeing this, and from a Chinese company that should know what it is doing when it comes to tea, was really nice.
It is only in peculiar clothing that tradition and modernization come together even more strongly…
Fashion vs. Performance
In clothing, there is a common gap between style and substance, fashion and performance.
Urban fashion doesn’t typically care much about the properties of materials and the functionality of products, as long as they are expensive and trendy.
Outdoors performance may suddenly find itself the hip-hop crews’ uniform of sorts, like things went with The North Face jackets a while back. Typically, however, it is about as far away from fashion and style as one could get.
In Comes Mammut Delta X
With spring/summer 2019, 156-year-old outdoors brand Mammut is going to take a step into this strange world spanning what many seem to think should not meet.
To me, having found an interest in this fashion-forward non-fashion that seeks to combine style with an eye more towards the performance and the possibilities that these performance properties offer for clothes, there are two oddities about that.
On the surface, I can understand why many people – especially in the outdoors world – would just shake their heads at such products.
Whether the clothing of a line like Mammut’s forthcoming Delta X collection is to be considered fashion or not, it does include some odd looks.
Two different representatives of Mammut told me two different things; that Delta X was or was not meant to be fashion as opposed to function.
Looking at the promotional photos makes it abundantly clear, more even than the clothes by themselves already do that, how Delta X would certainly be fashion.
In the vein of so much street style, it is fashion of a very peculiar look. Odd, indeed.
Odd, the Negative Understanding
The other oddity I find, however, is about the lack of understanding for such products and approaches in a wider public.
Both streetwear and outdoors performance, growth markets though they may be, are not exactly the most widespread of categories, anyways.
Clothing that does not look like one has just come off the nearest peak but fits into an anthropocene environment seems good to me, though.
All the better if it is technical wear that does not forget that clothes have a show function, are not mere covering, but should also provide protection or other performance.
Why should you have to get soaking wet in the rain when you are out and about in a town, as if we didn’t need to face downpours in cities, didn’t have textiles that can protect us well from that?
Mammut’s Delta X, in that regard, shows some materials and cuts (and overall products) that look quite interesting.
As usual in this field, some will be of questionable value in true performance terms, even in looks, for someone who isn’t completely into streetwear.
Some pieces also look very interesting, in both form and function, though.
The Price of Fashionable Function
Of course, something so close to fashion, marketed as special like that, will have its high price point. It will cater to a particular crowd.
At the same time, if you look towards a particular personal style and also want to get the fitting performance for the range of conditions you find yourself in, then this can be money well-invested.
Particularly if, as the head designer for Mammut (Delta X) states in a recent interview, the brand is decidedly not looking to hunt after trends, but to expand on its core competences.
We’ll see how this goes with Mammut Delta X…