We sat down with QED Style Founder and lead designer, Mike McRae to discuss the inspiration for the Alpine Trousers and to find out what makes them so special.
When you began the process of designing the Alpine Trousers what were you trying to accomplish?
Growing up in Utah, I have learned to enjoy the outdoors and an active lifestyle. I wanted to design a pair that was both functional and comfortable in any environment. That and they had to look good. I mean, how much do you love your favorite pair of pants? I simply wanted to design an active guy’s favorite pair of pants.
Was there anything specific from your past that you used for inspiration?
Yes, the fabric was taken from my favorite pair of pants growing up. They were a turquoise green pair of Tiger Woods Nike pants. They had a polyester spandex fabric that I hadn’t seen in other pants. I loved how I could bend down to read a putt without the fabric pulling or bunching. The spandex made the pants incredibly comfortable and versatile in many positions. With the Alpine Trousers, I chose the same fabric composition, but I decided to go with nylon rather than polyester. Nylon is a better all-around performance fabric. It has a tougher and stronger feel to it. I didn't want a stretchy pant that would feel like it might tear or break, so the nylon spandex fabric we chose was perfect. Once we chose the fabric, we wanted to elevate it even more. All of our pants' fabric is applied with a water, stain, and wind resistant coating before it is cut. This would make our pants viable for all weather conditions on or off the golf course, any accidental spills, and added warmth in cold weather. The resistance coating sits on the fabric fibers, not in between. This allows for air to still travel through the fabric and be breathable. Perfect!!
Tell me about the construction of the pants as it is quite unique compared to most other trousers.
It starts with the articulated knee which all QED pants have. You will notice stitching and seams that appear on the front and back of each knee cap. An articulated knee design allows for the leg to bend without having the bottom of the pant to rise. In other words, you could do a squat in our pants and not have the fabric around your ankles rise up. An articulated knee allows for this to happen. In most other pants the fabric in the upper leg will naturally pull and the let bottoms will rise up. Why have this? Again, this allows you to bend your leg in a variety of ways without having the pant leg rise. Not only does this allow for comfort but also helps in keeping socks dry and clean during rainy or muddy conditions and creates an overall better looking and better fitting pant in all positions.
Both the Alpine Trousers and Park City Trousers have zippers on the cuffs. Why did you feel it was important to add this feature?
I wanted to put zippers on the hems of our pants to further increase versatility and function. The Alpine trouser has a 6'' zipper hem on the outside of each pant leg which allows for putting on the pants without changing or taking off your shoes. The zipper hem also allows for a much better fit and look when the pant leg is resting on shoes. Additionally, the zipper hem is also lined with a gusset (fabric lining) to maintain closure in the pant leg when the zipper is completely opened. The gusset also prevents mud and water from touching the sock.
Having played competitive golf your whole life was there anything that just seemed to be missing in today's pants that you wanted to make sure you worked into your design?
Absolutely. Specifically, the waterproof zipper pocket: As a player, I hated when my scorecard or yardage book got wet. We put a waterproof zipper pocket above the back left pocket on the Alpine trouser. The zipper is lined with a completely waterproof tape, and the zipper head enters a garage when completely closed to prevent any chance of water entering the pocket. The waterproof tape is also reflective because we wanted to keep commuters, bikers or any other night activities in mind when making these pants.
You mention that you wanted the Alpine Trouser to be the most comfortable and versatile pants someone will own. From your own experience how do you think they have met that challenge?
Let's see, I have played over 50 golf rounds in the same pair of charcoal alpines. I have worn them to the office most days for 18 months now, and I am still on my first pair of prototypes I received two summers ago. I have even worn these to a couple formal dinners. Don't hesitate to rock them with a button down shirt and a nice matching pair of belt and shoes. Plus, they are called Alpine for a reason. They are my go to skiing pants. They are perfect for skiing because they're waterproof, they stretch, and the zipper hem closes over the ski boot. Honestly, I could go on and on, as I wear them fly fishing, hiking and for any other outdoor activity our Wasatch mountains have to offer.