St. Louis is known for a lot of things — the Gateway Arch, beer, baseball, weirdly satisfying fringe foods. (I’m looking at you slingers and gooey butter cake.) One thing that doesn’t initially jump to mind, though, is outdoor fashion. A growing number of local business are working to change that narrative, or at least working to be successful at what they do, which is create fun, functional, cutting-edge apparel and accessories that reach beyond their hometown borders. Here’s a look at some local standouts:
Nothing finishes off an outfit like a stylish watch. Why settle for a big, clunky timepiece encased in rubber when St. Louis-based Jord offers exquisite models hand-crafted from sustainable woods from all over the world? The brand currently has 38 watches in all, men’s and women’s, made using rosewood, maple, sandalwood, walnut and more.
The Dover series (pictured) features a self-winding automatic movement, skeleton exposure on both the front and back of the case, and a double deployant buckle. The modern mechanism is paired with deeply toned koa wood, creating a watch worthy of any outdoor fashionista. $295. woodwatches.com
A four-year-old eyewear company headquartered in Fenton, Mo., Popticals has developed a lineup of polarized sunglasses that are high performance yet easy to store and carry when they’re not in use. In just three sure and simple steps, they fold down to the size of your palm and fit in a compact pocket case for go-anywhere portability.
Most recently, Popticals has paired vibrant blue-to-clear crystal frames and blue-mirrored NYDEF nylon lenses for an eye-catching new look. Styles include the semi-rimless Popgun (pictured), wraparound Popsign and ultra-light Popstar. Each pair of sporty pop-out shades retails for around $200. popticals.com
Retro Image Apparel
The inspiration for Retro Image Apparel came when its founder, Roger Mallette, discovered a copy of a 1923 Bauhaus Cycling Exposition poster and launched a line of vintage-styled cycling jerseys in 2002. From that spark, the company grew from one man with a vision to a globally recognized provider of cycling apparel.
The new Cycle the Moon women’s jersey is made with an ultra-soft, moisture-wicking Euro-mesh with breathable side panels. Three rear pockets with reinforced stitching hold your water and fuel, with a silicon gripper band to keep the rear of the jersey in place as you ride. The jersey offers 30+ SPF UV protection. $85. retro2ride.com
Yes, there’s a climbing gym in downtown St. Louis called Climb So iLL. No, that’s not a coincidence. The Chancellor brothers, Daniel and David, started the business 12 years ago making innovative indoor climbing holds, then expanded to pads, accessories, shoes, active wear and, finally, a gym and pro shop. Today, So iLL goods are available in more than 20 countries worldwide.
The Free Range (pictured) is the brand’s more aggressive shoe to date, featuring a unique one-strap closure to keep dead spots to a minimum. The semi-stiff toe box and downturned toe encourage confidence on the smallest of edges, with Dark Matter rubber and increased heel tension adding stick and hold. $149. soillholds.com
Founded by former Mrs. America and St. Charles County resident Andrea Robertson, Triflare was created with two thoughts in mind: femininity and power. The brand started with trisuits (Robertson is a lifelong athlete and triathlon veteran) but has expanded to bold and resilient performance wear for runners, cyclists and swimmers — including TriflareSWIM for men.
The Junkanoo One-Piece Trisuit (pictured) is designed to keep your body dry with compression, moisture-wicking and DWR (Durable Water Repellant) fabric. Available in sizes from extra small to extra large. $225. triflare.com
Brad Kovach is the editor/publisher of Terrain magazine