I came across McNair Mountain Shirts recently whilst doing some research for a fashion piece and something strange happened. I felt longing. This wasn’t because of the emotive photographs depicting the clothing out in the wilds, worn by real mountain men (I can vouch they’re real; have been out on the mountain under the tutelage of Neil McNair). Nor is it because this season’s snow trip has (thus far) eluded me and I am missing the sensory brimming-over felt as my board glides silently through the powder or of the exhilaration felt on the last run home at the end of a day’s adventures that took me outside the comfort zone, leaving me feeling beyond alive.
No. The sensation I felt was brought on by a brand (feels almost rude calling it that) which is real (yeah, yeah, I know; an oxymoron right?). However, this one is part of an emerging breed, where the products they’re inviting us to get on board with, are authentic. McNair Mountain Shirts is a real story which cuts through the white noise. A brand being developed by real people. People who do what they do regardless, believing in it, living it and who invite us to share in it.To create the best mountain shirts in the world is the challenge McNair Mountain Shirts has set itself. No mean feat considering the conditions this item of clothing will need to function under. Extreme terrain; subzero temperatures; top-level athletic activeness and flipping off the moniker of ‘all the gear, no idea’ sometimes associated with this industry.
Authentic is the hook. As is sustainability. And quality. And tradition. But not to the detriment of style. Made of Merino boiled wool, it looks like a shirt but works like a jacket (they promise not to call it a ‘shaket‘) and has the cut and attention to detail that a Savile Row tailor would be proud of.
[NB_ Am not going to tag this post under ‘Fashion’ because fashion, the McNair Mountain Shirt, it is not. It hasn’t been built for the mass-market (please no, don’t even be remotely tempted to go down that road). What it is, is clothing that is timeless, beautifully designed, employing traditional skills and methods of production, going back to basics and happily taking those that share its values, along with it].
The product has been developed in association with Joe Public Ltd who, going against (marketing) type, have thrown down the gauntlet and put their money where their mouth is. Cutting through the flakiness (their word, not ours) of an industry known for it, they have become involved in the innovation and development, helping create the hero status of this product.
Final word. We’ll be watching closely (and hoping) that McNair Mountain Shirts will bring out a cut-to-fit, mountain girl version. That is, just as long as it is not ‘fashion’.