Friday, August 14, 2009





Words, Images Judith Ecochard

Recently, we read a disparaging review about the new EMS store in NYC’s SOHO …in a trade rag.

Written by a non-outdoorsy “Ally”—a male/female black clad fashionista/pr type that oozes attitude and not much else, the article dismissed the garb stocked- based on their take on ‘what’s fabulous.’


We celebrate a store opening in a weak economy, and unlike the aforementioned reviewer, we actually live in both the action wear and fashion worlds attired appropriately…

We probably wouldn’t have been so snooty about the EMS’s inventory. But for sure, EVEN THIS GUY would find something good to say about MERRELL’s new Spring 2010 merchandise.

Because the new lineup of technically performing apparel is soooooo snazzy and on trend…it’s
as if the company focused more on the fashion style part---with clean, flattering and sophisticated silhouettes over the subtle and not so- techy details and core performing fabric selections that are givens for athletic apparel…and Merrell.


One of the first ‘fashion statements’ that caught our eyes in the Merrell space--- were the eco-friendly, N.A.D.A. (Not Any Dye Applied) pieces sprinkled through out the Spring 2010 collections…that are puffy cloud white in color.

Bonus: The un-dyed pieces “require 48% less energy, 65% less water, and 63% fewer chemicals on average compared to a traditionally dyed garment maintaining all of the technical performance.” YES!

The Ride of Your Life Collection is aimed towards the cycling commuter who “seamlessly” jumps off the bike/skateboard/subway into the office.

For $179 we saw terrifically handsome waterproof/breathable, fully seam sealed Opti-Shell™ jackets, with stowaway hoods, stash pockets, drop tails that roll up after protecting our backs/butts… and STYLE. (M-Furtive/W-Depart).

Plaited knit shirts (M—Spokes $69, W-Bisect $45)…are easy care, moisture wicking UPF+ 50 separates that are a presentable on the trails or cubicles. They’re actually two layered mashups of polyester (inside) and cotton (soft to the touch). Plus-subtle reflective contrast piping.

AND we love the PINK!!!!!

We had a giddy up moment when the Merrell rep showed us the Cadena jeans for gals…(guy’s version-Transform, both $89)…with removable waterproof chaps, subtle reflective cuffs, invisible zip pockets that lie flat---so we won’t feel like cutting them out which is what we do on our pricey denim…and TPU-reinforced roll up cuffs that repel gunk and insure a chain snag free ride.

In the Performance Made Beautiful category, we saw some feminine options that a) live up to the title, and b) should be an honored presence on the racks of a Nordstom’s if their buyers had a clue (maybe they do).

The new jacquard patterned, Amelia Textured Jacket ($139) has a girly shape via a cinched waist-and protects with the waterproof Opti-Shell™ and detachable hood. AND in a spot on shade too.

A safari perfect shirt dress (Gwenavieve) in beige is amazing… it’s versatile chicness personified with zipped pockets and venting, comfortable, wrinkle resistant, and loaded with tech embellishments (UPF+25, easy care, breathable, etc.) We wish we had this when we backpacked around the globe. Watch out Ralph Lauren.

Popular with retailers…the 7 in 1 Lenaia ($89) is a super travel friendly convertible pant, zip off shorts, capri- item that’s moisture wicking, quick drying, UPF50+. It even has a “contrasting waist band” to lie flat in a backpack.” Cool.

What we truly coveted (we’re an XS-ahem)…is in the Trail Mix Collection. We could not believe that we could actually trek/run in a Longmont ($79)-a top with a built in shelf bra and a genius matching shrug (guys get removable arm warmers in the Dualtrek $65). And yes the Opti-Wick™ fabric, stash pockets, and very subtle reflective tape details are there. But talk about panache.

Brookvale (M) and Breeze (W) jackets are running/endurance outer garments that squish down into a belted lumbar pack that can actually hold essentials like keys, energy bars, lip gloss etc.($79)

We also saw some multi-functional, go anywhere selections from the Salute to the Sun Collection that features woven shirts (M-Kalamatan $69, W-Krabi $59) with UPF+25, a discreet zipped pocket for whatever one wants to conceal, subtle venting, and the proprietary Opti-Wick™ moisture wicking properties to keep the wearer tidy and comfortable.

Impressive---we think some of the garb we saw will blow out of the stores as the value of the items…in terms of design/functionalty/pricepoints---is phenomenal! Deliveries start in January 2010…