First Look | Aether

One good thing about living in the greater Los Angeles area is the easy access to sun, surf, mountains and powder. This accessibility makes LA much more of an outdoors focused place than my Manhattan home base. With outdoor adventures comes the need for appropriate gear. Enter LA based Aether, a new line of stylish yet technical men’s apparel from two film producer friends, Palmer West and Jonas Smith. The new collection – which will be in stores for the first time this spring– aims to fill the void left by the outdoor companies that put out very little cool looking performance apparel.


After looking through the website I wasn’t completely sold as to the technical bona fides so I did what any good blogger would do, I emailed the owners. In response Aether founder Palmer West says. “Yes, the pieces on the site definitely work for hiking and spring skiing. We understood that at first glance these pieces don’t “look” functional – (but) the technology is within them.” That sounds good in theory but might require use and further inspection. Either way the line looks good and the presentation is well done. Aether (good name, by the way) even managed to sneak a Defender into the website, so bonus points for that. The full Aether collection can be seen here.

Below: one of my personal favorites, the “Stormy” jacket from the Aether SS09 collection.





Comments on “First Look | Aether

    plaidout on January 16, 2009 2:57 PM:

    Beautiful! The real horn button on the epaulette is a nice touch.

    Tom on January 16, 2009 4:09 PM:

    So it’s basically Holden for people who like The Gap .. No thanks…

    Thom on January 16, 2009 4:44 PM:

    I think the Holden/Gap description might be taking it a little too far. Holden is practically Banana Republic in its own way. That jacket looks lovely.

    Tyler "Fort Worth" on January 16, 2009 5:14 PM:

    I have to agree with the GAP comment, they really missed the mark. I know what they were trying to do was create stylish outdoor clothing, but it just looks too stylish and not functional….

    CHECK OUT: Icebreaker (out of New Zealand), they make outdoor wear that has more of a modern cut and style, plus the wool they use feels absolutely amazing.

    Will on January 16, 2009 5:26 PM:

    I think some of the Gap/Banana Republic vibes come not as much from the clothes themselves but the way they are styled and photographed and put into grids for the Aether site.

    For a young and outdoorsy-themed line I envisioned something a little more tousled in its branding than what I found on their site.

    If its all in the details, like the horn buttons, I’d enjoy seeing that called out more in their base visuals.

    Good find, ACL.

    dan on January 16, 2009 6:23 PM:

    Icebreaker, which I have too many of, is going the wrong way with their funky colors/designs. Who needs long orange stripes? But it does fit well.

    I wish Ibex out of Vermont would slim their cut a bit.

    wayne pate on January 16, 2009 6:23 PM:

    Nope on a rope! I’ll keep looking to the land of the rising sun.

    Simon on January 16, 2009 8:13 PM:

    Just saw your post on Selectism about you wanting to go to Copenhagen, Michael.

    You really should and you should give a report, just like you did about Tokyo. Not that there is half as much to report about, but it wouldn’t hurt this city to have some friendly and well-dressed Americans coming by.

    Let us know, if you need any help or any ideas on where the good spots are in Copenhagen.


    /Simon, Copenhagen

    akatsuki on January 16, 2009 11:59 PM:

    So where are the technical fabrics? A bit of polyester does not an outdoor jacket make. Are the seams taped for waterproofing? What about eVent or Gore Tex Pro? Maybe they use Derzimax?

    Or SpaceLoft aerogel for thin insulation? Outlast has temperature regulation properties.

    This is the stuff that we should be seeing in more common clothing. I’d love to get an eVent mackintosh so that on warm summer rainy days, I am not sweltering. Or how about a stylish winter coat using SpaceLoft for insulation so it can be super-thin at the same time?

    Sarno on January 17, 2009 12:04 AM:

    Outerwear? Jeff Griffin in England. Michael, we need to wean you from the color navy. Wean you in a good way, I mean. : )

    Bill on January 17, 2009 1:37 AM:

    I don’t think they look functional *or* stylish.

    Compare with the Errolson Hugh pieces in last fall’s Stone Island Shadow Project, or for that matter with anything by Acronym.

    Abe on January 17, 2009 7:52 AM:

    akatsuki, can’t say much more than watch what we do at Outlier, I think you’ll like it.

    This Aether stuff more than anything reminds me of Nau.

    J. F. B. on January 17, 2009 10:20 AM:


    Clint on January 17, 2009 12:54 PM:

    Just on Icebreaker, how would you guys rate the quality of their stuff?

    Bought a pair of their gloves before Xmas, and within a couple of days there was already a big tear on one of ’em…. (although granted, wool gloves often aren’t the most durable of goods).

    Abe on January 17, 2009 2:57 PM:

    both Icebreaker and Ibex make very solid, straight up the middle merino products. They use the good stuff, but are both pretty cost conscious so its generally the low end of the good stuff. Construction is decent if unremarkable, Icebreaker is cut sportier, ala running gear, they are in love with flatlocked seams, while Ibex seems to be cut for middle aged hikers or something.

    Merino gloves aren’t going to last, they are better being bonded into something as a lining, the fabric is just not strong enough when faced with perpendicular forces like you get in a glove.

    Bill on January 17, 2009 3:53 PM:

    I love trad and I love technical, but combining the two in one garment seldom strikes me as a very good idea.

    What does strike me as a very good idea might be thought of as “traditional technical”, as exemplified by this Nigel Cabourn jacket:

    Ditto for a tweed hacking jacket with Ventile yoke and elbow patches. Something that could have been made in 1948, from available materials, but may not have been. There, a hand-carved horn button makes contextual sense. Otherwise, we’re edging into latter-day Willis & Geiger territory (to date myself badly).

    JP on January 18, 2009 1:08 AM:


    Sam on January 18, 2009 12:57 PM:

    I find this quite dull. I can think of many lines–both in the states and overseas–that do this in far more interesting manner.

    pete on January 19, 2009 7:43 PM:

    I like it. Depends on the price point and fit.
    And whoever brought up Acronym should take a look at Tad Gear.
    Acronym fit is good, but they certainly are not the only people doing innovative technical wear.
    Plus, their price point is getting ridiculous.

    Hobo Ken on January 19, 2009 9:58 PM:

    Lovely gear this – feels very football hooligan and I mean that in a good way ! Would look fantastic with some original gazelles or tretorns .

    foo fighter on January 20, 2009 1:02 AM:

    Looks like people who want to look like they’re cold while standing around in the US south west (AKA LA scenesters).

    There is a reason every serious piece of outdoor gear looks the same regardless of designer: millennia of evolution has found the solutions that works for humans. The weight and thickness might change, but the fundamentals are sound.

    Also: epaulets make you look like a cunt unless you are actually in a military that currently uses them to denote rank.

    lt123 on February 10, 2009 2:28 PM:

    I just saw their new season at Project New York and I think they are really onto something. The clothes look and feel so good and have tons of details built in. I think it’s one of those lines that is going to develop of following quickly as people buy it and own it and wear it. They had seam sealed three layer jackets and features I’ve only ever seen on the outdoorsy brands of the world. I haven’t found a lot out there that doesn’t look like the same old ski jacket or some poser fashion piece. Aether seems so get it and if someone has a little coin and some taste I think they’re gonna love it.

Comments are closed.