Robyn Lynch Upcycles Columbia Pants and Parkas Into Ingenious New Menswear

1 month ago 16
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Last season, Robyn Lynch worked with chic British cycling wear label Rapha to renew its unsold upscale lycra lout attire, ingeniously remixing it to cut in the knits she sources from her homeland of Ireland. The results were commercially spectacular: of the 126 pieces painstakingly produced and sold through Browns in London, only four remain available to buy.

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That’s sell-through you don’t sniff at, so for this season Lynch approached another sportswear specialist, the 1938-founded US skiwear staple Columbia. Lynch, who turned 29 last Friday, said that when she was at school in the mid-aughts, Columbia was the swaggiest brand you could wear over your school uniform. She added: “And for me it’s all about the research process, right? I want to have fun while I’m working and make it as personal as possible. So I got all my friends to unlock their private Facebook albums, because I grew up in the era where we ran out with a camera and an SD card, then the SD card was plugged into the computer the next morning, and every photo went online—if you didn’t like it, tough luck. But we’ve all turned those albums off at this point, because we all have jobs, right?”

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Lynch used the resulting trove of long-lost Columbia-clad larking about as the starting point for a collection that took a similarly playful approach to its source material. Especially impressive are the coats—such as the one in look 6—that are fashioned from 1.5 pairs of ski-pants to reapply all of the technical functionalities of the original garments to serve the new. The pieces are then garlanded with Lynch’s own 70-percent-sustainable additions, such as reflective piping and recycled eco-waste padding.

Like the Rapha collaboration, the results of this collection—presented via a cave-set film inspired by the glowing Mr. Burns in The Springfield Files episode of The Simpsons—are strictly limited. The maximum run of each garment is 14, and most have been produced in tighter quantities still, thanks both to the limited amount of leftover Columbia winter collection made available to Lynch and the painstaking precision of her process to grant those clothes a super-cool second life.

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