The city-to-mountain trend is on the up and up. There’s been a flourishing of small brands combining outdoor tech and performance with urban aesthetics and fit, the idea being that you can own one jacket or shirt (or boots or belts or whatever) that transitions from activity to work in a single day. But the thing is, there aren’t that many places where you can go from ski slope to metropolis quickly enough for your clothes to be a problem. Nobody in a mountain town is going to question your stylistic taste if you walk into a bar (or a meeting for that matter) clad in Patagonia.
New Zealand is one of those Goldilocks-zone places, though. You can ski, surf, climb or hike easily from the small island country’s urban centers. It’s one place where “city to mountain” is more than a nifty marketing term, and apparel brand Alchemy Equipment knows it; Alchemy is based in Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island and a day’s drive from, well, anywhere else in the country. It’s a place where an understated merino wool jersey or a top-loading day pack makes sense for everyday use. Alchemy’s restrained aesthetic and philosophy let the clothes avoid easy categorization without becoming basic; as a result, every piece is high quality in both style and performance.