Clothing manufacturers often claim that a garment is "technical." But what in the world does that mean? 

As is often the case when one is unsure of what something means, a look in the dictionary can be helpful. The word has its origin in the Greek word "techne."

"Technique (Greek, techne, craft, skill, art) is a way of completing a task that is not obvious or simple in the first place." I take the liberty of emphasizing two parts of this definition of particular relevance to technical clothing: "art" and "complete a task."

 

Completing a task

When Rúngne makes a new garment, we first define what it will be used for, what particular stresses it will be subjected to, and what unique properties we want the garment to have. It must do a defined task for the user. The dilemma here is that clothes are often used for more than one thing, and in our opinion should be used in as many different situations as possible! This means that the garment must have a core functionality and handle as much variation in weather and use as possible. Rúngne's vision is to make clothes that help you move and play more. We are betting on a future where your everyday clothes are as good and comfortable as sportswear.

The art of choosing fabrics 

The choice of main fabric is perhaps the most important and challenging decision we make. The job is to balance different desired characteristics against each other. For example, waterproof will always stand in contrast to breathable. Durability and tactile comfort are usually also clear-cut tradeoffs. A garment can usually not be both insulating and perfect for hot days simultaneously. In practice, the choice of textile becomes the art of balancing many desirable properties against each other. This might sound a bit more complicated than it is; at the end of the day, we find that field testing a garment for a long enough time gives us a pretty good idea about its qualities for a specific purpose or use.

Synthetic vs. Organic

It is no coincidence that "technical" clothing manufacturers choose synthetic fibers such as polyamide and polyester over natural fibers such as cotton or wool. Not because cotton and wool may not work well for their specific uses, but because these fibers overall have poorer properties than synthetic ones. You might dislike military institutions for many reasons, but they are among the most demanding and professional developers and purchasers of clothes. And they have all moved on from natural fibers to synthetic years ago. This comes with a caveat, though - we are huge fans of suitable blends of synthetic and organic and will soon present some pretty interesting developments in this category. 

Conclusion

Technical clothing simply means clothes made to do something exceptionally well. So, in the end, if you prefer climbing in non-stretchy denim, they are, by definition, your pair of technical climbing pants!