Up Close: the Gadget Pants and Shorts
Hard-wearing and highly-functional, the Gadget Pants (along with their summer-friendly counterparts, the Gadget Shorts) are Gramicci through and through. Whilst they might share a few similarities with military, work-wear and outdoor pants which came before them, they’re a wholly unique design—sitting somewhere between cargo pants, painter pants and our own G-Pants.
With those big pockets and handy details, they’re the kind of clever, functional design you can imagine we’ve always made, but up until recently, they’d actually been out of the roster for nearly three decades. Their return was thanks to our Creative Director Stephan Wendler, who stumbled across a tiny photo of them whilst poring through the Gramicci archives.
“I came across today’s newly-named Gadget Pants a few seasons ago. It was an image inside one of our early 90’s backorder product catalogs for the US market. The product image itself wasn’t very detailed but it just looked super cool,” Stephan says.
“The first thing that stood out was its defining detail of a nylon webbing stretched above the right pocket entry. It gave it this functional appeal and climbing purpose. The pant itself looked to be constructed out of durable canvas or twill material, so the whole style felt very hard-wearing.”
“These were designed with climbing in mind, with a function-first approach. Introduced as a means to solve the problem in holding all the climbing gadgets in place through its two spacious pockets, that extend from the front around to the back, along with the added nylon webbing at the pocket to attach one’s carabiners.”
This small photo provided the jumping point for the new Gadget Pants. Whilst making a 100% authentic version of the originals was out of the question, there was still enough detail in the image to create a modern-day reimagining—taking the best bits of the initial design, and combining them with a more contemporary shape.
“In this specific case, we just had this one-dimensional catalog photo and went off that,” Stephan says. “With its hard-wearing nature, I wanted to bring this style closer to our mountaineering roots and back on the rocks. It’s probably not exactly the same as the 90’s original—I gave it a more relaxed fit than the original—but it definitely shares all of the design and functional traits that first stood out to me.”
A lot of things have moved on since the early 90s, but even in today’s age of technical fabrics, the Gadget Pants hold their own—and far from being a ‘retro throwback’ their comfortable fit and unique details mean that they’re still more than up to the task of rock-face scrambling, back-country hiking and general outdoor exploration.
To put it simply, they still work. Josh Rothery, buyer for Outsiders Store—a shop in England dedicated to high-quality outdoor clothing and gear—explains why. “They still work because some things don’t change as much as we might think they do. In most day-to-day instances, now just as 30 years ago, tech fabrics really aren’t needed. You can use natural fabrics that look good and last well to make a pair of trousers that will cover most people’s daily needs, and add in a great pocket design or something and you’ve got something people might get behind. It’s not as easy to land on a classic design, but if you get it right, there’s not really anything to stop said design lasting decades.”
“They’re still worn by rock climbers, but definitely not just rock climbers. They’re just good, casual trousers, with that touch more flavour than the G Pants—they have the centre seams and the large side pockets and loops. They’re nothing crazy, but they’re just that little bit different, and sometimes that’s what you need.
Not bad for a pair of trousers resurrected from a tiny photo in an old catalog. And thanks to their clever design, there’s no reason why they won’t be around for a good while longer either, as Stephan says, “I hope the Gadget pant will continue its journey for another three decades.”
The Gadget Pants and Gadget Shorts are available now.