Iconic Seattle outdoor outfitter REI continues its push to offer more price point-conscious gear and apparel under its Co-Op house label with the brand’s first ever foray into “lifestyle.” The Wallace Lake collection introduces a lengthy list of cozy layering pieces for men and women, rooted in classic styles, retro designs, and an assessable aesthetic drawing largely from the brand’s 80 years of experience.
We’re drawn most to the men’s High Country Down Parka, women’s Aureum Sherpa Hoodie, and unisex Rucksack. The first and later of the three scream vintage, while the middle is perfectly contemporary—together they prove the best of both design approaches. A capsule of Juniper Ridge collaborations feels slightly out of place, but delivers a range of attractive co-branded products nonetheless, from specially crafted Cascade Forest trail soap to incense and even an insulated camp cup.
Many pieces in the collection make the whole feel a bit like a late attempt at doing for the outdoors what Urban Outfitters did with, well, everything else culturally relevant to "the youth." But that'd be an unfair assessment—each piece is genuinely wearable after all, regardless of your taste in music or neighborhood of allegiance. And though we'll admit these heritage-inspired pieces remind us of many other similar silhouettes done by many other brands before, we still like them. For whatever that's worth.
Either way, the collection represents REI’s attempt at acknowledging that while we may wish we could be outside, exploring, all day every day, the majority of us live and work in cities, where tossing on a ski jacket or other hyper technical apparel won’t quite pass as appropriate. The collection seems to speak specifically to this customer—it’s decisively low-tech, high on ease of wear, and still functional.
Dig in for yourself to see the full collection specs, and to smirk at the awkwardly-styled models.