The band Mamalarkey, in a performatively profound-20-something kind of way, would like you to know that their two singles, “Meadow” and “Moss” were both written outside. If that detail doesn’t make you appreciate the group’s oneness with nature, you’ll certainly be convinced by the videos with the frontwoman traipsing around landscapes in very good clothes. What I’m getting at is, outside is fashion now, and fashion is outside. And after you get over that as the central premise, this music is good. Listen to “Meadow” now, while you need a boost— it’s the more upbeat of the two. “Moss” is made for the afternoon glow, so save that for the hour when the “feels-like” hits 107°. (We love the outdoors.)
When I went to Washington a few weeks ago and everyone was building pickleball courts in their yards, I assumed it was a regional thing, or even just a figment of my Washington people’s sporty culture. Turns out, my New York was showing that whole time: there’s not much room for driveway additions in the city, but pickleball courts are evidently cropping up everywhere besides here. According to the Economist, pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America— it already was in 2019, and pandemic interest has only increased the surge. Time to hop a train to Connecticut and get a round in.
For every pandemic Pickleball enthusiast, there’s a first-time camper, who, as a group, outdoor types sort of resent for crowding the trails and taxing the land. Now there’s some salt making its way into that wound as brands meet all this new interest with “elevated” gear to make sure we all look as nice in the woods as we do in our wine bar’s little plywood terrace. Do our folding chairs really need to look like Dusen Dusen? (They certainly cost less if they don’t.) Do we have to pretend enamelware is cute? Surely bug spray needn’t come in a glass bottle. To be fair, it was only a matter of time before the ancillary gear caught up to Outdoor Voices. But that doesn’t make it any less oppressive to impose fashion on a good, old-fashioned hike.
I do want to draw a distinction, though, between brands capitalizing on a new market and brands designing for inclusiveness. ITA Leisure, for example, was born when a Nigerian Brit marketing exec, Jade Akintola, realized during her outdoor pandemic time how extremely white the design language of outdoor gear tends to be. So she created a visual vernacular that’s welcoming to adventurers of color— and made by BIPOC producers. That’s an update we can get down with.
One more welcome update: Lorem reader Jane just launched Frankly, a womenswear line made exclusively of braless garments that help you ditch slippy straps while you retain shape, support and coverage. Their dresses and bodysuits have got all sizes covered (Jane’s co-founder is an F cup) and they want to give you $15 off your first purchase. Use the code LOREMIPSUM and you’ll be on your way to one less undergarment. Freedom feels good, doesn’t it?
$ = sponsored