A century ago, Eddie Bauer opened a shop in Seattle selling exercise equipment. Now his company of the same name can look back on another century with its recently introduced Centennial Collection of Gear.
GearJunkie hasn’t been around as long as Eddie Bauer, But our editors and transmission testers have been following the brand for the past 10 years. We have seen a brand revitalization that has grown from a core company and innovative company to one geared towards the mass consumer.
Introducing the First Ascent line of products a decade ago brought back innovation moved into the spotlight and brought Eddie Bauer back into contact with first-class guides. Melissa Arnot Reid, Adrian Ballinger, Dave Hahn, and other outdoor lighting fixtures were brought in to design products and build new types of equipment.
Uphill in the backcountry: GearJunkie joined Eddie Bauer in Rocky Mountain National Park in January 2020
Last winter GearJunkie attended an event hosted by Eddie Bauer to celebrate his 100th birthday in Estes Park, Colorado. We rode backcountry laps with prototype equipment and interviewed Damien Huang, President at Eddie Bauer, as well as several product developers and guides.
“I’m trying not to be too nostalgic,” Huang told our editor at the event. “It’s more about looking to the next 100 years.”
So Eddie Bauer came today – and a look to the future.
In 1920, 21-year-old athlete Eddie Bauer opened his Eddie Bauer sports store in Seattle. Initially, he sold sporting goods such as tennis rackets, handmade golf clubs and fishing tackle. Then in 1940 – after Bauer fell ill with hypothermia on a fishing trip – he created a solution to increase warmth with his patented Skyliner jacket.
It was the first quilted down jacket ever made.
Original storefront by Eddie Bauer in Seattle, with the brand’s namesake for a shot
In 1957, Eddie Bauer introduced a down shirt – one of the first in ultra-light insulation layers, according to the brand. Now, on the occasion of its 100th anniversary, Eddie Bauer has revived the concept of this shirt and several other products Centennial Collection.
Eddie Bauer Now it’s just one of a handful of U.S. brands that has been around for a century (others include) LLBean and Filson). In his day, Eddie Bauer equipped the US Army, the first Americans to climb Everest, scientists at the South Pole, an American K2 Himalayan expedition and countless others.
Eddie Bauer Centennial Collection: Highlights
The Centennial Collection includes 18 products for men and women across leisure, performance and alpine categories. In particular, the collection contains a lot of highly padded RDS goose down.
That year, Eddie Bauer took a trip back in time to 1957 when he created his down shirt. Now it has revived that style in the Centennial Collection MicroTherm 1000. The jacket has RDS down with 1,000 fillings and weighs 8 to 10 ounces depending on the size. It celebrates ultra-light construction, super warm insulation and classic pouf style.
There is also a Centennial Down Camp suit in the collection inspired by Eddie Bauer’s down underwear (down underwear worn by the first US summit team on Mt. Everest in the 1960s). This proved so popular that it sold out almost immediately. But the brand intends to bring it back in full.
For 2020, EB updated the original concept with a streamlined, one-piece design and elevated style.
And finally, Eddie Bauer brought back the original layer that made the brand what it is today – the Skyliner jacket. The Centennial Collection Edition Skyliner jacket With 800 fill power, a moisture-repellent DWR finish, ribbed collar and cuffs and a classic, medium-weight fit.
After 100 years, EB brand president Damien Huang told us the company was just getting started. He identified three pillars that Eddie Bauer will focus on, including innovation.
“[Bauer founded the brand] and we want to show that the thread of innovation continues, ”said Huang about the first pillar. He cited EverTherm Down Insulation as an example.
Sustainability is the second pillar. The company hopes to design “least harm” products, Huang said. “We have materials and processes that help, but also durability [of our gear] makes it naturally sustainable because it has been used for years. “
Finally, inclusivity marks the third pillar – an important step for Eddie Bauer. Huang said that for nearly 100 years, the emphasis has been on “leadership-approved” equipment, and that was an operational phrase in the company.
While this remains a focus, the modern Eddie Bauer now has an ethical inclusion. A new initiative that An external programis Eddie Bauer’s first step. There is also one generally neutral side on its website for those looking for gender neutral clothing (who want to expand the brand).
“We hope to expand the effort for the outdoor experience,” he said. “The character of the industry has changed. Even what we do outdoors is often viewed as too expensive and too intimidating. We want to change that. “
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