Fashion & Shopping

Pants Party (Win! An Alder Apparel Prize Pack!)

September 17, 2019

Thoughtfully designed by new Canadian outdoor apparel brand Alder, we plan to rock these ultra-flattering and responsibly made (from reconstituted beech trees) open-air pants ($140 through the label’s current Kickstarter campaign, on until September 24th) on all of our autumn adventures. We chatted with founders Mikayla and Naomi about the pants, the brand and their mission to make better outdoor rec apparel (read: skipping the "shrink it and pink it" mentality) for women! —Noa Nichol


Hi ladies of Alder! Please tell us a bit about yourselves to start.

MW: Hi! I’m Mikayla Wujec and I’m one of alder’s co-founders. My background is environmental science and biology. I spent the last five years working and travelling as a National Geographic Explorer, sustainability consultant and photographer. I have always loved the outdoors and been passionate about protecting it.

NB: And I’m Naomi Blackman, the other half of alder’s founding team. I spent the first part of my career focused on marketing and have always had a love for apparel, most recently working as a marketer for Joe Fresh. I consider myself an outdoor recreationalist, which means I love hiking, camping, snowboarding and have been getting into climbing, but I never considered myself a "hard core" outdoorswoman.

How was Alder born? Why the need for outdoor rec apparel specifically for women?

MW: As a National Geographic Explorer, I spent a lot of time in the outdoors and travelling abroad. Myself and the other female explorers were constantly frustrated with the options for women. Everything we looked at was either made for a man’s body and suffered the "shrink it and pink it" effect, or it was either lacking in core functional features like deep pockets or was designed for extreme activity that wasn’t absolutely necessary for our type of recreation and none of it was remotely flattering or fashionable. I wanted something that could satisfy my outdoor and travel needs, but that was comfortable and looked great too in a variety of situations while travelling that was also environmentally conscious.

NB: Mikayla brought the idea back to me and we couldn’t stop talking about it. The more we chatted, the more excited we were and the more we felt like it was necessary, not only for the product but as a brand overall. So many outdoor brands have historically shown a narrow depiction of outdoor recreation—focusing on the "extreme outdoor enthusiast" and, frankly, lacking in diverse representation. We wanted to not only create amazing products for women, but we wanted to showcase that a lot of women of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, sizes and abilities are participating in the outdoors, too—partly to help people like me, who’ve felt a bit excluded from the outdoor world, feel like they do belong and they do have a place.

Tell us about the open air pant; what makes it special?

The open air pant is a real fusion of function + fashion. We created the open-air pant with ex-lululemon and Arc’teryx designers and crowd-sourced feedback from more than 600 women to make sure we were creating a product people actually needed. The major fashion requests we received were for an outdoor pant with elements a high waist fit, tapered leg, and more modern silhouette—all of which we integrated into the pants. Functionally, women wanted pockets, so we put in seven! We also added a D-ring key clip, and innovative reflective strips for night adventures like biking and hiking. We are also super proud of our fabric. The pants are made of modal, a blue-sign certified natural fibre that is responsibly produced with some of the most sustainable practices available. Modal is breathable, moisture-wicking and super soft! We combined it with spandex so the pants also have four-way stretch so you can be prepared, feel good and look great.

Where’s your Kickstarter campaign at, and why should we pitch in?

Our Kickstarter campaign is in its final lap! We have nine days left—ending September 26th and we’ve currently reached 500 per cent of our initial funding goal, which is amazing. It can be intimidating for people to back a Kickstarter project, particularly if it’s their first one, because it is a bit of a different marketplace than your typical e-commerce experience as you support the product before it’s created, so have to wait around six months for production and delivery. We’re fortunate to have done the legwork in advance—we have our product developed, our manufacturer and our fabric. Everyone is ready, we just need to say "go". Why you should back us? It’s so beneficial to new brands to have a platform like Kickstarter, because it can be really capital intensive to get started and that makes it really tough to anyone who doesn’t have access to capital. Historically, it can be a lot more tough for female founders to find investment, so by using Kickstarter, we’re able to get a product that we really believe in out into the world. So if you’re interested in outdoor recreation gear that’s functional while also being ultra flattering, female-focused and sustainably minded, please do check us out!

What’s been your favourite adventure thus far in your open air pants? Or, what adventure are you most looking forward to completing in your open air pants?

NB: Honestly, my favourite adventure in our open-air pants was when we took a group of our friends out to take some photos in High Park in Toronto. Not the most "epic" trek per se, but it was overwhelming to see so many different women of different shapes, sizes and outdoor recreation interests all try out the pants and truly love them. And for us at alder, that’s really what it’s all about—it’s not necessarily about scaling a mountain, it’s about spending more time #RECreating in the outdoors, with people that you love, recharging and having fun.

MW: Agreed with Naomi! It was so special to see the pants come to life.

Win! An Alder Apparel Prize Pack!

We have a winner! Congratulations Laurie B. of Halifax, N.S., who won a pair of Alder Open-Air Pants and a tote!


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