REI Co-op debuts new stylish lifestyle collection celebrating its heritage
Designs inspired by co-founders and places integral to the co-op’s history
Oct 16, 2018
Since 1938, REI has been known for selling great gear, stewarding outdoor spaces and helping people get outside. This fall, REI is launching the brand’s first complete stylish lifestyle collection, the Wallace Lake collection, inspired by its co-founders, and designed to complement an outdoor lifestyle.
REI was founded by a community of climbing friends who made a life outside long before technical gear and apparel was available. The Wallace Lake collection is infused with that same wilderness spirit and evokes an outdoor way-of-life through a range of warm layering pieces featuring rich textures, bold graphics and classic patterns.
The cozy but stylish lifestyle collection includes shirt jackets, hoodies, vests, bomber jackets, pants, chunky sweaters, flannels and accessories all inspired by the co-op’s history and the idea of living an outdoor life year-round. The series will continue with curated collections specific to future seasons.
“We know many people who come to the co-op want to find clothing that can be worn every day,” said Isabelle Portilla, Co-op Brands general manager for apparel. “This collection is stylish and comfortable and designed to wear after a hardcore outdoor adventure, or for a weekend with friends at a mountain cabin. It’s also something we will continue to build-upon and curate each season.”
For inspiration, REI’s in-house design team dug into the co-op’s archives and traveled to mountain towns. They took cues from nature, as well as classic products worn by the co-op’s earliest members.
“It’s been surreal being able to pull inspiration from the many incredible adventures in outdoor places that led to the foundation of the co-op,” said Karin DeYoung-Wood, REI Co-op Brands design lead. “For this line, we traveled to Wallace Lake, a place in Washington’s Cascade mountain range where we know our co-founders went on one of their first hikes together in 1929. We then combined today’s fashion trends with elements of nature we saw while we were there, as well as the technical design savvy REI’s design team is known for.”
To celebrate the co-op’s 80th anniversary and honor its co-founders, as part of this collection, the co-op is also releasing a limited-edition capsule collection of reproduced heritage classics. The collection includes a replica of REI's 1972 High Country Parka for men, its 1978 Alpine Jacket for women and a redesigned rucksack, based on the original co-op staple that first hit stores in 1959. To round out the collection, REI also collaborated with Pendleton on a cozy camp blanket and Juniper Ridge on a collection of scented products that capture the essence of the Cascade mountains.
Every piece of gear or apparel purchased at the co-op gives back, as REI reinvests nearly 70 percent of profits into the outdoor community each year. In 2018, REI will invest over $8 million in over 400 organizations around the country that help Americans awaken a lifelong love of the outdoors.
In addition to great gear and apparel, REI offers workshops and guided activities to connect people to a life outdoors. A perfect experience to pair with the Wallace Lake collection is the co-op’s latest “Hike & Hops” series, available at select locations across the country. Participants head out on a short local hike with other outdoor adventurers, then enjoy a beer with new friends at a nearby brewery. REI’s classes, outings and events page lists all the ways to get outside with your local REI.