Generally, what you wear can be split into two distinct camps: stylish and practical. Both have their place, both have their own values and, more often than not, never the twain shall meet. Except, that is, in innovative, Manchester-based technical-wear label, 7L, or Seven Layer.
The concept behind the brand’s collection is one taken directly from the US Military and its Generation III Extended Cold Weather Clothing System. Split into seven layers with 12 different components to suit the environment, it’s a way of approaching clothing to ensure that the wind stays out, you stay warm and your skin stays dry, the practical trifecta for any would-be explorer.
In case you were wondering, the seven exact layers in question are as follows: base layers, mid layers, thermal layer, field layer (or in military terms, the combat layer), wind layer, rain layer and cold layer. Just scale up and down according to the weather. If that doesn’t tick off everything the environment could throw at you, you probably shouldn’t be there.
Of course, military clothing isn’t exactly suited to everyday life, especially a soldier’s combat layer, and it needs to be backed by a certain level of style. That’s where 7L’s Manchester roots and come into play, particularly now the brand is under the guidance of Stockport-born entrepreneur and engineer Jamie Lundy. “Over the past few years, I think Manchester has struggled for an identity,” says Lundy. “After the 90s, with the demise of the music scene, the city slowed down with the Northern Quarter clinging on to its character and culture. Now, it feels as though something is happening again – it’s great to see and be involved with.” That new stirring of the Manchester scene begins with the aptly-named ORIGIN collection.
ORIGIN is a truly modular layering system, with effortless switching between the various layers. The 3L Waterproof Shell jacket is perfect in a torrent, but once the rain stops simply unzip the sides and transition to a comfortable down number. That’s just one example of the brand’s interchangeable, adaptable and wonderfully versatile collection.
Because carbon footprint is an important factor for any brand – even one with a focus on performance – 7L has made sure that as much as possible has been constructed naturally and close to home. That means that the cotton-based layers 1-4 are made in the UK, while the synthetic, hydrophobic outer layers are not. It’s a nice compromise, and one that shows 7L’s commitment not just to practical, modular style but to Manchester, too.
In terms of style, silhouettes are sleek and minimal, unfussed and effortless but with deliberately clean, elegant lines. Forget the copious zips and unnecessary pockets that plague technical wear; here less is more, and it works.
Colourwise, ORIGIN sticks to a performance palette of black and orange with a healthy dose of dark camo in the distinctive, military-inspired Field Parkas. This toned-down field of colours means that each piece will go with every other, from the incredibly versatile 7L Stretch Overshirt (£250) through to the bright Half Zip Smock (£295).
ORIGIN is an easily digestible collection, but one whose thoughtful, modular approach suits any conditions while retaining a sleek, stylish look. If 7L wanted to make a serious impact in the style stakes, mission accomplished.
Discover the full collection at 7L (SEVEN LAYER).