Winter is coming. Between blustery winds and slushy streets, sometimes it can be a challenge to decide whether you need an umbrella, an overcoat, a trash bag or all of the above. Enter the Häring Poncho, a lightweight, multifunctional solution from The Arrivals, a New York City-based clothing company focused specifically on American-made outerwear.
The Arrivals' creative team is made up of architects, designers and engineers, championed by creative director Jeff Johnson, who originally hails from San Diego, but spent time living in the Netherlands. "Living in Amsterdam, the weather is unpredictable, likely resulting in a soaking wet afternoon," Johnson says. "I wanted to design something light, packable and functional." Taking its name from the German architect Hugo Häring, known for his obsession with place and condition, the Häring Poncho is a "wearable, waterproof shelter" constructed of weatherproof poly-spandex and rubberized twill.
"Our fabrics for all of our garments are chosen for their performance properties," Johnson says. In the case of the Häring Poncho, that means an Italian twill undergoes a rubberizing process where an impermeable layer of matte rubberized film is laminated onto a portion of the material. This creates a double-face effect to the fabric, resulting in a water-resistant and windproof coating. For the body of the poncho, the designers fused a breathable yet water-repellent Korean Din-Tex micro-knit mesh to the rest of the shell.
As for the shape of the poncho, the designers based the garment's silhouette on a diagram of a house, then worked "from the outside in," Johnson says, adding design details as they went. Based on the design team's own experience wearing ponchos, they opted for specially placed snaps that create the look and functionality of sleeves—but that allow for a full range of arm motion. A long zipper on each side provides even more flexibility, allowing for access to the wearer's pockets or additional ventilation. The hood is also distinctive. "The hood's design was one that came over a few fittings," Johnson says. "In Amsterdam, I was often wearing a baseball hat while riding my bike and there seems to be a correlation between riding your bike and being caught in the rain. The baseball-cap style beak provides protection for your face from the rain, and the shape is ideal for commuting."
Construction for the poncho begins with the digitization of all 2D patterns by the factory. From there, the mesh and rubberized twill are laser-cut into 40 individual pieces—including details such as pockets, zipper openings and ventilation apertures. Waterproof reverse coil zippers sourced both domestically and overseas are heat welded into the main body piece using heat-welding tape imported from Italy.
Then all of the pieces are organized by location. The right hood panel is placed next to left hood panel and the right shoulder panels are placed next to the left shoulder panels. All the remaining pieces of fabric are placed edge to edge and run through a welding machine. The machine applies 140 degree Celsius heat at 6 bars of pressure for 15 seconds, welding all the individual panels together into a final seamless garment. This process replaces traditional stitching methods, ensuring that the Häring Poncho will be waterproof and durable against the elements.
While The Arrivals tout American-made products, finding high quality technical craftsmanship in the United States to create the Häring Poncho proved to be the team's biggest challenge. "Unfortunately, most of the technical garment construction industry is located overseas," Johnson says. "After much research we were able to find a partner with an San Francisco-based factory that could implement technologies such as laser cutting and seam welding that are an integral component of the Häring's design."
The final product is a poncho with Scandinavian lines, watertight pockets and sleek contours. But if you're sold on its utility for late-autumn weather, don't get too excited—the Häring currently has a 2-4 week delay in shipping over at The Arrivals, where it retails for $245. Maybe for those spring showers?