Words from Charlie Cronk, our lead designer, stylist, and eloquently sophisticated creative director on the elusive subject of “the base” and how it has dominated music, ancient clothing design, and technical apparel systems.
It’s All About The Base
Although I agree with Meghan Trainor, that’s not the base I’m here to talk about. I want to share some thoughts on base layers. But since music is everything for me, humor me for a second…
The bass is the instrument that gives music its genre, its moves, its style. Whether funk, rock, or jazz, the bass is the foundation of the rhythm section, and the foundation of the music. While repeating Ms. Trainor’s little ditty in my head on a ride, I started thinking about why I love base layers for cycling and other outdoor activities. Just like the bass lays the groove, or root, that all music builds upon, the base layer creates the foundation for all the other garments to do their job to keep you comfortable in whatever conditions.
Touregs, Bedouins, and other desert dwellers wear layers as a way to protect themselves from the sun, and cool their bodies more consistently. Typical desert clothing is lightweight and loose, effectively creating a layer of insulation that allows air to circulate near the skin and evaporate sweat. The Inuit, in colder climes, skillfully layer to capture pockets of insulating air between each garment. Both of these indigenous groups have adapted their clothing to control body temperature, and especially to dissipate sweat; critical in both hot and cold environments.
In the landscape of high-exertion active sports, the base layer is designed to be worn next to the skin. The technically woven structure and material science advancements of today’s fabrics greatly improve transporting moisture away from the skin to distribute it outwards, where it either evaporates or is passed on to the next layer to continue its movement toward the outside. Very much the same concepts of the past, just a heck of a lot more efficient.
We at Kitsbow are inspired by the past, while continually looking forward. So whether it seems classic, old-fashioned, proper, or simply smart, I’m a base layer wearing kind of fella who likes to stay dry and cool, or warm (weather depending). Like the walking bass line of a song, the base layer lays the foundation for technically dressing well, and keeping a groove, which makes one happy. Enjoy the trail…and the GROOVE!
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