9 things to know about Arcteryx
We're confident you're already familiar with the ARCHAEOPTERYX LITHOGRAPHICA.
SAY WHAT?! No, really. You might even own a piece of gear that's laden with the fossil logo. But what do you really know about the brand Arc'teryx? We chatted with Territory Manager for the Great Lakes Region, Josh Tedeschi (who's originally from Connecticut ... Go Whalers...) to learn more about the brand that found its humble beginnings in a climber's basement and rose quickly to secure its legendary status in the outdoor gear industry. Read on for nine fast facts about Arc'teryx...
- Arc’teryx was started in 1989 out of a climber’s basement in British Columbia. We began with four sewing machines turning out unrivaled climbing harnesses. In 1998 we launched into the apparel world debuting the most advanced alpine climbing shell available in the Alpha SV. Little known fact: the original company name was actually Rock Solid Manufacturing. It wasn’t until 1991 when we entered the US market that the name was changed to Arc’teryx Equipment.
- Arc’teryx is named after a 140 million year old creature, the Archaeopteryx. It made an evolutionary leap forward to escape the horizontal world of dinosaurs and developed the feathers for flight. Our logo is the fossil of that creature. At Arc’teryx, our highest ambition is to build the best product possible. Much like the Archaeopteryx making an evolutionary leap forward, we don’t focus on incremental advancements, but on radically improving the status quo.
- Arc'teryx is generally understood as the brand that produces the "supreme system." Can you explain brand approach to designing its pieces?
I could probably write a full term paper answering this question, but two things stand out to me most. First is that Arc’teryx views itself as builders above all else. Second is the playground that Arc’teryx calls home which inspires and provides a unique design process. Having the rugged terrain of British Columbia only minutes away from the office, our designers can design a product early in the week, have it built in our factory later in the week, and test the piece in the mountains over the weekend. Monday morning, back in the office, they can critique the use, make edits, and begin the process all over again. The motivation always comes from the field; otherwise the design is inherently flawed. This is our process that allows us to combine form and function into a single harmonious object.
- There are three reasons that make Arc’teryx special: Materials, Design, and Construction. From the beginning, Arc’teryx has wanted to make the best product possible and make sure it’s built to last. That starts with sourcing the best possible materials. We build long term partnerships that allow us to develop fabrics and materials that are superior and unique to the industry. If anyone visits a Gore-Tex factory, Arc’teryx is highly visible and spoken of in the highest regard because of that process. I’ve spoken a little about our design process already, but Arc’teryx truly views itself in line with modern design companies in its commitment to excellence and process more so than other apparel companies.
- In 2016, Arc’teryx opened a 243,000 square foot manufacturing plant in North Vancouver known as Arc’One. With this Arc’teryx is the only major apparel manufacturer in the industry that owns its own factory. This allows us to create things others simply cannot. Arc’teryx actually has their own machine shop and mad scientists in the design center to build or modify machinery in the event designers want to construct a product in a way simply not possible with the current available machinery.
- The most legendary piece is probably the Vapor harness from 1991. It was the first climbing harness designed and constructed 3-dimensionally. Close second and third is probably the Alpha SV (still made in Vancouver today), and the Bora backpack.
- Arc’teryx is in a constant state of innovation. Consumers interested in the newest technology can actually see and experience the brand's latest innovations at Yellow Wood.
- The importance of color is mind-blowing. When I first joined Arc’teryx and to this day it’s still impressive. No one else in the industry treats color like we do. We have dedicated color specialists and merchandisers for each category and when they build a collection, color acts and is treated like a technology. I started carrying a color wheel around in order to talk about it, but color theory is a science and whether a collection has complementary or analogous colors, the human eye recognizes and is drawn to a cohesive palate.
- One thing I do get asked a lot about is Arc’teryx and sustainability. We want our products to be the leading impression people have of the brand as builders, but doing right is our ethos. For anyone interested in learning more about our sustainability initiatives, click here. We are driven to act by our social and environmental values. We are committed to Animal Welfare, Materials Responsibility, Fair Social and Labour Practices and doing right in the community with repurposing excessive product, gear donations, community involvement, and outdoor industry activism.