Made in America: Design Your Own Wild Things Apparel


Wild Things has launched the outdoor industry’s first fully customized technical clothing program, allowing you to choose every detail your own insulated jacket or fleece hoody — right down to the color of the zippers and number of pockets — all through a new website.

The New Hampshire manufacturer is taking a page from Nike and other softgoods companies, which have offered customers custom clothing and shoe options for almost a decade. But there’s a big difference between picking the colors on the NikeID shirt or shoes you wear to the gym and the shell you wear ice climbing, Wild Things CEO Ed Schmults says. Wild Things launched the website with just two products, the Insulight Jacket and Wind Pro Hoody on November 7 and will add the Mountain Guide soft shell by Thanksgiving. Other pieces in the following months, including backpacks. Men’s and women’s styles are available.

“We think we’re going to surprise some people,” Schmults says. “We’re figuring out what someone wants, and then shipping directly from America to them. “We’re not building 5,000 of these and discovering that the orange stitching turned a lot of people off and lowering our prices to help someone get over the ugliness and buy it.”

The process is slick, showing a full set of colors and fabrics and walking the customer through the design steps, picking colors of fabric, zippers, pockets, logos, cuffs, and everything else. Men’s and women’s have all the same options — which means women can escape the pink-and-purple palette of outdoor apparel. Pop-up windows show details of fabric and insulation choice as you build, and Share buttons allow you to send your custom designs to friends via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, e-mail or text message.

The Wind Pro Hoody starts at a base of $119, and depending on options like custom stitching and additional pockets can cost as much as $145. The Insulight Jacket starts at a base cost of $189, and with the maximum additional options — four ounces of Primaloft Sport instead of two (adds $12), a chest pocket ($12 extra), insulated hood ($24 extra), and more — can grow to $282.

When finished, Wild Things promises delivery of your new jacket in 14 days or less — something only possible when it’s made in the United States. The custom design launched on Wild Things’ web site, and will appear on MooseJaw.com in the following weeks. MooseJaw stores will also carry sizes of the jackets for customers to try on before they design their own.

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{ 4 comments…read them below or write one }

  • KatieSue

    This is so cool!! I’d totally have paid extra for someone to have sewn a damn inside dump pocket into my puffy and made it red instead of lame girly colors.

  • Mark Hespenheide

    Brendan,

    Beyond Clothing (formerly Beyond Fleece) has been doing this for a decade or so, including custom sizing and the ability to pick which details you want. They don’t have the zipper-color options, though, and list a 5-week turnaround.

    Check them out at http://www.beyondclothing.com/

    I’m not affiliated with them in any way, but as a 6’4″ and skinny hiker, I’ve often though about it.

    Cheers,
    Mark.

  • Charlie Hagedorn

    A second bump for Beyond Clothing. Beyond wasn’t the first maker to offer custom outdoor gear either (did Shackleton get arctic gear off the shelf?), but Wild Things certainly isn’t “the outdoor industry’s first fully customized technical clothing program”.

    That said, Wild Things makes good gear. For a long time, there wasn’t anything quite like the Andinista pack. Their belay jacket’s reputation is excellent. Short lead-time custom outdoor gear is exactly the sort of thing the Internet and fast shipping make possible… Hope it goes well for WT!

  • brendan leonard Post author

    Hi Mark and Charlie — You’re right, Beyond does a great job with custom gear, and I should have mentioned them in the story. Wild Things’ web tool is quite a bit more robust than Beyond’s — you pick fabrics, colors, insulation, and you get to see a mockup of the jacket you’re building in 3-D as you do it. Thanks for your comments!

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