Having been first dreamt up over a year ago now, the Ranger Pant has been in the works for quite some time. Being the first product to release under Weathered, I knew I wanted to make something that really meant something to me, and had a sense of character that would translate to others. For a long while I’d known I wanted to make a pant. It just seemed like the obvious choice for me. I can’t speak for everyone, but I get the feeling I’m not alone when I say I start with the pants in every outfit. Easily the most inspiring of all clothing items, and probably the most difficult to get right, I knew the best way to get stuck in and learn the design and manufacturing process was to make my ideal pant.
I have long gravitated towards military silhouettes when it comes to pants. There’s something to be said about the easy-styling and wearability of designs such as cargo pants that attract so many people. Simultaneously, the heart of the Weathered identity being the outdoors and my relationship to the mountains, ‘gorpcore’, if you will, has also served a role in forming my style inspiration. Many of the pants synonymous with this outdoor aesthetic have been highly technical and performance-designed, serving a group of people using them for functional purposes. While I’m a customer for that kind of clothing too, and appreciate the rigour demanded of those items, I felt like there was a way I could blend my interests, creating a pant with casual wear in mind inspired by the lifestyle less than the functionality. While searching for inspiration, the khaki pants of BC’s Park Rangers uniform caught my eye as having potential. A little bit too basic, I thought of the idea to incorporate some of the styling cues of army fatigue pants, another military-wear favourite. I then messed around with various unique pocket designs before ending up with a snap button closure that I loved. Now I was on to something.
My experience drawing designs at this point was inexistent, and rendered me a student while I spent the time learning the techniques and programs that would allow me to successfully translate my concepts to the people who would help bring them to life. Hours spent on Illustrator just to end up with a single, flat drawing of these pants felt crazily inefficient, but was definitely a necessary step in the process. Once I’d completed the design I wanted to move forward with, I began looking towards finding the right manufacturer that would guide me through pattern-making and sampling, while being able to produce a quality product. It was important to me from the start that I was manufacturing in Canada. Once again, it just felt right. I wanted to build a domestic connection and really have a hand in the sampling phase. I ended up in communications with a factory here in Vancouver, and pretty soon it was time to get going.
One of the benefits of producing locally is the ability to physically pick and choose materials. This stage in the process was eye-opening as I went through multiple fabric swatches just seeing what I liked and what aligned with the vision for the brand. Out of the bunch, I decided on a hemp/cotton canvas in a colour I thought was too good to be true. Olive green in normal lighting, it suited the Park Ranger theme, but when in sunlight it became much warmer as its brown hues appeared, creating an effect reminiscent of vintage garments. Organic material and from a local supplier, this fabric was perfect.
My favourite fashion pieces all have quality hardware, and this was not something I was going to skip out on for my own brand. In fact, zippers and snap buttons would end up causing me many a headache as I wouldn’t compromise for anything but the best. What is the best? Well, I suppose it depends who you ask, but I - and perhaps more importantly designers like Prada and Margiela - believe it is RiRi, a company out of Switzerland. Manufactured solely at their factories in Switzerland and Italy, and requiring expensive machinery to fasten to fabric, importing these zippers and buttons was quite the task, but proved well worth it when I felt the quality of that first sample.
As we were now in to the sampling phase, it was back and fourth to the factory as we worked through the necessary changes, trying to get the pattern just right to sculpt the shape of the pants. It turns out that ‘just right’ would take 6 samples to achieve, scrutinizing the smallest of margins that end up making the biggest of differences. The result was a pant I find myself wearing almost everyday. Comfortable enough to throw on for the day while maintaining a tasteful shape, complete with all the bells and whistles. I’m happy we took the time to nail the details, it taught me a lot, and fires me up for what’s next in the Weathered pipeline. In the meantime, however, I’m pleased to offer our first product; the Ranger Pant.