As I write this, I’m wearing ArchiTec’s Aysen hoodie, but this is no big surprise, as I wear the Aysen hoodie four to five days a week and have since I got it in fall 2020. I don’t think I’ve ever as an adult worn a single piece of clothing as often as the Aysen or with such great pleasure. I’ve worn it on hikes, I’ve worn on it rides, I’ve worn it under a jacket to have a nice meal out. It is a flawless garment and I only wish I had two in case something happens to this one (though it’s backed by a lifetime warranty).
So far, nothing has. Despite constant use, the Aysen still looks new. If you look closely at the cuffs, you can see a teeny bit of micro-fringing, but that’s the only sign it’s been worn—and that’s after a couple hundred wearings. This is thanks to the hoodie’s construction from Polartec Power Wool, which places soft merino against the skin with a synthetic outer layer. As we discussed in our review of the best wool t-shirts, wool has fantastic properties, but durability isn’t one of them. Manufacturers typically blend wool and synthetic into one fabric; Power Wool is “bi-component,” where the wool is one layer and the synthetic is another, ideally getting the best properties of both instead of compromising with a blend.
ArchiTec is a small brand trying to do things right, making limited runs of products, with capsule collections based around where the fabrics are sourced. Founder Justin Seale was at Chrome Industries and Mission Workshop for over a decade, and he’s consulted with brands such as Kitsbow and Oliver’s. With ArchiTec, he brings a “build cool shit and less of it” ethos. Products are designed in the Bay Area and manufactured in Los Angeles, and they seemingly last forever. I also own a button-up merino ArchiTec overshirt that I got when the brand launched in 2018, and despite living in it while traveling (and backpacking), it shows few signs of wear.
$188 is a lot for a hoodie, for sure. But the fit is excellent, the hood lays flat, the zippered secret pocket stashes a phone, and the fabric performs in temps from cool to cold. I’m all in on this one. — Stephen Casimiro