You have to wonder at the motivations of companies sometimes. I know that designers occasionally get something out there with a bit of patter and a big smile, or catch the boss on a good day and it gets on the shelves and sits there until the end of season sale comes around.
That’s the stuff I want, the kit the marketing guys and bean counters didn’t manage to intercept, the gear that was ahead of it’s time. The things the designers liked and that don’t appeal to the dog walking fraternity.
Another thing is change for changes sake. It sold well, so let’s change it so that we can sell them another one next year. If only they would just stop at a colour change and let the pattern cutters enjoy their tea break.
So we have the Montane Air Jacket. Genius eVent waterproof, 360g, slim fit, long body that never ever rides up. good hood. But, it was shiny and only had one pocket. “I’m not buying that, where’s the features…”. Canned. Looking at what’s out there now, it would probably sell.
My favourite microfleece was the Haglöfs Triton, hooded, different weights of fabrics, big venting chest pockets, slightly disappointing hood. They updated it to the Gemini, tweaked cut, much better hood and daft low pockets that don’t vent. Where’s the scissors and sewing kit…”Ah! arise my beautiful Haglöfs Frankenstein! The hood of the Gemini and the body of a Triton! The legs of a Scotsman below we can improve on later…”.
I actually love them both and wear them all the time, but still…
I’ve spoken often of my joy at discovering Montrail Namches. I wore them solidly all through last year and they are my favourite footwear. Ever. When Columbia bought Montrail in ’06 we waited to see what would happen to the range, and of course the quality. Well, we may now know the answer.
Imagine that the full range of Montrail is a neatly stacked wall of cardboard boxes in an alleyway, one box for each model, be it rock shoes, flip flops, boots, trail running shoes and the rest. The stack fills the alley from side to side and goes quite high indeed. Kojak enters the alley, tail out, red light and siren on, in his brown Buick and drives straight through the boxes. they scatter and fly all ways, some are crushed and some are left standing, some stay on the bonnet of the Buick and one even attches itself to the red light. He spins out of the alley, takes a hard left and continues after the perp. Columbia come over and lift the boxes that fell off the car as it exited the alley and say “Right, we’ll keep these ones in the range”.
It looks like if you didn’t get Namches, or several other models, you’re not going to. The range has been decimated (focused in trade speak?). I hope I’m proved wrong and it’s a proper design and production transition time, the all-new Helium boot looks interesting. As an independant Montrail were alive, constantly trying new and sometimes whacky ideas and it’s such a shame to see another name absorbed and ruined.