Retro is All The Rage as MEC Brings Back Fan-favourites with Limited-edition Classics Collection
MEC are going back to their beginnings. The beloved (formerly) Canadian company have launched a new marketing initiative in hopes of perhaps attracting their original dedicated customers back, or trying to woo a younger set of new customers in. Now owned by Mountain Equipment Company based in the United States, who purchased the Canadian Co-op brand back in October 2020, there are still throngs of Canadian consumers who have fond memories of the brand and are not willing to let go just yet.
Label designers scoured past catalogues, asking staffers and members what designs, fabrics and colours inspired them and brought back the best memories. The result is a curated assortment of classic pieces updated to be durable, built to last, and versatile enough for hiking, camping, climbing and paddle trips.
Some familiar friends are back with a new colour scheme inspired by the bright colours and monogram prints of the 1970s, including the Rad Pant and the Hip Pack – both sought after items in last year’s limited release. For the first time ever, a few long-loved legends like the Rad Shorts have been reimagined after massive demand from MEC staffers and members.
When it comes to fabrics and materials, a lot has been improved since the 1980s. That includes more sustainable and low-impact materials available than ever before. Bluesign® approved fabrics feature widely alongside recycled content, organically grown cotton and Fair Trade Certified products.
Each piece also features a label stitched inside with the phrase ‘Hello, old friend’ and sporting the classic green mountain peaks of MEC’s logo. A nod to the brand’s rich heritage, this label is uniquely reserved for classic drops, making each item even more collectible.
Standouts from the Classics Collection include:
“The ultimate movement pant” is what MEC called the Rad Pant when it launched in 1989. And that holds up. With over 30 years of legit outdoor cred, Rad Pants still have it all: cuffs, integrated belt, that pocket. For 2022, bluesign®-approved fabrics mean the tear-resistant material is made in the safest possible way for the planet, workers and you.
According to MEC’s 1996 catalogue, these were “built for radical action.” And after testing out some prototypes, MEC Label designers can confirm that remains 100% true. Out of circulation since the late 1990s, Rad Shorts have been in big demand from MEC staffers and members since Rad Pants made a comeback a few years ago. Imagine everything that rules about Rad Pants, just shorter.
The earliest mention anyone can find of the Klettersack is in MEC’s 1979 catalogue. By 1989, they were already calling it “a tradition for rock climbing.” And with good cause. Simple, versatile, so tough – there are original Klettersacks still hauling ropes and racks to this day. For 2022, the team introduced 600-denier bluesign®-approved materials.
The little pack that went from cool, to uncool, back to cool again. First hitting MEC catalogues over thirty years ago, MEC spruced up this travel staple a bit. But just a bit. Chunky zippers, multiple pockets, throwback colours – all still there. But these days it’s made with lower-impact bluesign®-approved materials.
Berber Fleece Full Zip
Ask any MEC staffer or member, and they’ve probably got a fleece they remember. Warm, fuzzy, durable as heck. This year, MEC riffed on its ultra-classic Cornice Jacket – their warmest fleece of the 1990s – and gave it an upgrade with fuzzy Polartec® Thermal Pro® shearling fleece made from recycled content. Classic pit zips and elbow patches are alive and well. RRP
Time-tested over decades of gear closet and long-haul duty – tough zippers, heavy-duty stitching, and burly 1680-denier ballistic polyester. Plus, the recycled fabric is also bluesign®-approved, so it’s more responsible than ever.
The MEC Classics Collection isn’t just for grown-ups, with a bold Two Tone Fleece and Youth Rad Pant just for kids. A repeating motif of the famed twin peaks is highlighted on many pieces, including an All Over Print Tee, Rad 6 Panel Hat and 1L Nalgene water bottle.
The MEC Classics Collection will be available at mec.ca and in MEC stores nationwide from August 12. Prices range from $12.95 to $109.95 CAD.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.