The Vancouver-based outdoor apparel brand produces some of the world’s best performance garments. Founded in 1991 by Dave Lane and Jeremy Guard as a mountaineer-gear brand, Arc’teryx takes its name from the archaeopteryx, an early (and extinct) bird that is the evolutionary species between feathered dinosaurs and modern birds. It is considered the best outdoor apparel brand around. “Arc’teryx products are the Hermès bags of men’s performance wear,” says Errolson Hugh, the chief designer of ACRONYM, a sporadic Arc’teryx collaborator and one of the pioneers of the field. “They embody a fanatic level of perfection. No other brand in the world even comes close to their quality.”
It is perhaps unsurprising then that Arc’teryx—which also created technically focused menswear line in 2003 with Conroy Nachtigall, called Veilance—produces a special line of “tactical” outdoor gear and apparel for law enforcement and armed forces, called Arc’teryx LEAF. The company’s promotional video about the line borrows from the high camp of military propaganda. With grandiose hunter heroism, “Arc’teryx LEAF: From Conception to Realization” seems to parody the indoctrination media of government defence. It is fashion as gospel and performance as dogma—a theatrical portrayal of the best technical apparel around—and it might come across as tongue-in-cheek but it is actually severe and eerie.