The new LITE collection is inspired by WR gals who like to get after it. But what exactly does it take to make the perfect light baselayer that keeps you warm, but not too warm? We sat down with pattern and product designers Kelsey and Lauren to learn a bit more about how these layers came to be.
How do these baselayers differ from the OG merino baselayers?Lauren: The new LITE baselayers are a lightweight poly/merino blend (160 grams per square meter, aka gsm), while our OG baselayers are 100% Merino and 230 gsm (so a good bit heavier). The LITE layers are intended for spring skiing or just a thin layer on warmer days. They are slightly slimmer fitting and come in both a long and short sleeved option. Because these layers contain more biodegradable poly than merino, they retain their shape better, and won’t stretch or bag out like wool can do with multiple wears.
What was the inspiration/reasoning behind creating the baselayer LITE collection?Lauren: We had multiple requests from members of our pro team who spend more time getting after it in the backcountry than most. They were looking for a lighter weight layer that could be worn for spring skiing, longer tours, and while spending long periods of time in the mountains in general.
We wanted to provide an option for spring and late season skiing without sacrificing the functionality of merino fibers. While these baselayers contain only 7% merino, the polyester used is recycled and biodegradable. This means that the layers are still anti-stink and moisture-wicking, with the added benefit of more stretch and a thinner fabric, while still being gentle on the planet.
What was the pattern inspiration for these pieces?
Kelsey: The pomegranate print was inspired by the fruit drawings you can find on vintage dish towels. Think: your grandmother's kitchen with a modern twist.
Happy hour was inspired by our love of all things aprés. Here at Wild Rye we’re in full support of earning your turns, but we also like the idea of earning your aprés.
Any other fun facts/stories/things that almost made you cry during this process?Kelsey: Like any idea that gets tossed around for years and then requires 500 steps (and multiple countries) to bring to life, there were some bumps and roadblocks in the process of making these baselayers. Luckily, compared to most, these pieces actually came together so quickly and seamlessly because our team had such a clear idea of what they wanted. Creating a product based on a specific need is endlessly easier than just trying to guess what people might want. That said, we did almost cry one time. Right at the end of production we found out that the base fabric didn’t perfectly match the print fabric. This coincided with the realization that the base fabric could not be dyed solid and had to be heathered. Fortunately, it ended up looking even better than the solid black in our original designs! Sometimes, things really do work out.
Lauren: This is the first time we are using bio-poly which is biodegradable/sustainable and takes us a step further towards our goal of using 100% recycled/sustainable/natural fibers, which is very exciting!