Manufacturer Spotlight: Mountain Khakis
Published on 07/19/2012
By Mallory Ayres
The inspiration behind Mountain Khakis came to a Jackson Hole, Wyoming local when he began noticing that many fellow locals were walking around in utilitarian Carhartts with $300 sweaters and $500 technical jackets. Something about that just didn’t seem right. “He recognized a niche for an authentic pant collection that was specifically suited to the mountain lifestyle,” said Jen Taylor, Mountain Khakis Creative Director.
In a classic Western scene, Jackson Hole’s Shady Lady Saloon set the stage for the founder and co-conspirators to brainstorm and sketch their ideas and designs on beer-stained napkins. “They designed pants to fit the needs of folks from the time they woke up in the morning to the time they took their boots off for bedtime, from ‘basecamp to boardroom’. “Every one of our apparel pieces speaks to the mountain culture and to the foundation and western spirit of our company’s heritage. It’s very much alive in the brand and we have a lot fun with that. She also explained that MK apparel is designed to be sustainable, “One pair of pants should handle anything you throw at them for years and years. We call them ‘wardrobe staples’.”
MK’s best-selling pants styles are their classics – they designs they started with back in 2003: the Original Mountain Pant, the Teton Twill and the Alpine Utility Pant.
The Original Mountain Pant and the Alpine Utility Pant both utilize MK’s proprietary 10.4oz 2x2 canvas. “It’s a 2x2 fabric, which means that two strands of fiber are woven together, then woven each direction right to left and up and down.” This creates an uber-durable fabric, which inherently gives these pants a bit of abrasion and wind resistance. MK has even received testimonials from people who say that these pants are even water resistant for a short while. Both styles represent MK’s signature features, including diamond-shaped action gusset, triple-stitching throughout, ‘mudflap’ reinforced heel cuffs, hidden right-hand pocket, angled hand pockets, gros-grain-lined waistband, reinforced back pockets and YKK® zipper. Rowdy yet refined, the Alpine Utility Pant also features reinforced knee and seat panels, and a utility pocket on the thigh.
“We had a guy write us one time who was attacked by two German Shepherds while he was fishing,” said Taylor. “He was wearing our AUP’s and some waders. He sent us the story and pictures – the dogs mauled his leg and tore through the waders, but not through the AUP’s. His leg was gnarled and bruised but no broken skin, saving him from the possibility of infection or rabies.” The company has received similar testimonials about chainsaws slipping.
Their third original pant, the Teton Twill, is multi-purpose as well. “This pant says, ‘Let’s go crawl up the crag face but we can also have lunch with the in-laws,’” explained Taylor. The Teton Twill is made with 8.5oz cotton twill and is said to get better with every wash. It has classy, welted button-through back pockets with all the classic MK signature features mentioned above.
To accompany their world-famous pants, Mountain Khakis introduced their ‘MountainTops’ collection in 2010, including t-shirts, polos, henleys, button-downs, sweaters, jackets and vests. All have the same ‘rowdy yet refined’ feel as their pants. This Spring, MK launched their beautiful women’s line as well. Expanding on their tight assortment of women’s pants and shorts, they have now offer a complete line of skirts, shirts, and jackets. MK has also offers an authentic collection of belts, hats and organic t-shirts for men and women, which continues to expand each season.
Looking at this apparel company, it is clear that it genuinely reflects the mountain spirit. “’Rise Above It’ is a mantra we have,” said Taylor. “We can all relate to the tensions of everyday life… we all have obligations that keep us, at times, from doing what we’d rather be doing outdoors. MK and Rise Above It remind and inspire us to keep our chin up and let it roll. It helps keep us centered until we’re able to get back outdoors.” If an apparel company reflects that we’d rather be ‘out there than in here’, that’s something we can definitely get behind.