Rohantime is all about people. We all share something in common our relationship with Rohan.
To create an enjoyable community on Rohantime we need to have a greater understanding of each other. The first stories on Rohantime are about early Rohan which is great but we need to increase our knowledge of Rohan 2009. To do this we have to talk to Tim Jasper, Rohan Design Director. Tim has been immersed in Rohan now for over 20 years. When I asked him to talk to me about his milestones these words stuck in my mind:
“I’m getting to the stage where I’ve forgotten more than I know”. Don’t worry this hasn’t happened – I got Tim to write it all down and we have an amazing list of the Rohan milestones below. Take a look at the impressive list – spot your favourites. To constantly keep Rohan moving forward in a caring and meaningful way whilst maintaining the spirit of what Rohan means to us all over such a long period of time is a fantastic achievement. Below is a selection of answers from Tim on some of the questions that I put to him recently. This was a long talk we covered a lot of years. To write all this down would require a book. These are some highlights more will follow in future posts:
Q. OK Tim this is the old chestnut in interviews tell us what you like to do when you are not in working mode
A. Hillwalking, clothes, music, cycling, going somewhere new, coming home, critical theory, psychology, curry
Q. The motivation
A. Can’t help it. Clothing is a primary need, so that’s good… But making clothes that work is a pretty obscure occupation. For me it’s always been an amazingly interesting and involving one. It might sound trite but trying to improve people’s experience a little bit each time they wear our clothes is a major motivation: whether that’s stopping your wallet getting lifted in Lima or being able to travel lighter so you can do more. Thousands upon thousands of Rohan wearers can get on and enjoy the amazing things they do – being helped along a little by their/our clothes, rather than being held back.
Q. Sum up your feelings for the Range:
A. Rohan outdoor clothing at it’s best is wide-ranging, specialist and very versatile. We aim for a well-edited range of definitive garments that don’t need to be constantly changed. If we do change things it’ll be because of previously unmet needs or because there is a new, genuine, technical or practical improvement we can build in. The original premise for design is not just “function dictates form”, but “Making Useful Things That Last”. We’re not interested in fashion fads, in built obsolescence or throwaway culture. We’re interested in the long run and genuine, practical benefits. The form and the function are inextricably entwined anyway, and it’s a result of skill and care as to how well we can make these things balance out. Paul Smith – who is a good guy – first coined the phrase “classics with a twist”. His twist was aesthetic. Our twist is that the stuff actually works – unlike 99.99% of fashion. Most of what’s good about Rohan is hidden: it’s been described as “stealth” performance. You unlock the potential by wearing it, not by looking at it. And I like that you can wear Rohan for everything from the farmers’ market to the trip of a lifetime. In fact, the harder you wear Rohan the better you’ll find it works.
OK there is loads more to tell but that’s for future posts. Take a look at Tims Rohantime Line. It speaks for itself- say no more
Tim’s Rohan Timeline
First use of advanced microfibres with a cotton feel. Wadded garments used Neidhart insulation – highly technical.
Early adoption of microfleece – very soft and warm, championed the idea of lighter fleece layers – customers agreed.
Serac Trousers used an early variant of windproof fleece with stretch.
Muztag Quads! – thermal undies at a “bike short” length, kept your main muscle groups warm.
Developed test method for Sun Protection ratings. First in the UK we think.
Launched Sun Protection ratings on summer clothes, tested to our own test protocol.
Early use of soft but tough technical fibres in Goas range.
Khosi fleece – a midweight fleece with windproof panels and lots of pockets. We’re bringing this back in Winter 2009!
Ultratough fabrics launched on Uplanders predecessor and Base Camp Bags – tough as nails but feel soft and comfortable. Durability remains a byword for us.
Launch of the Globetrotter Suit – a full featured, smart, properly tailored suit that in addition to being crease-resistant, comfortable and with a plethora of useful secure pockets – was also washable and fast drying. This was long before Marks & Spencer claimed a first here we think.
Cooltech range for hot weather – early against-the-skin fabrics specifically designed to keep you cooler.
Dry Bags – a completely waterproof, lined version of Bags.
Khombo fleece – a radical approach to light fleece with a soft windproof inner, works better as a midlayer and as an outer.
Atlas Mac – a full length, city waterproof using a soft but tough, mountain waterproof fabric. At last, full rain protection for the urban traveller.
Linen-look Synflax fabric launched for men and women in summer travel garments.
Uplanders launched – probably the toughest trekking trousers in the world. Went on to sell like crazy for years until finally the Belgian mill who supplied the yarn and fabric went bust.
Nimbus insulation – ultrafine, wadded garments that were as warm as down but half the bulk. Ahead of their time we think.
Red and green coding on zips for convertible trousers. A little thing, but useful and now widely copied…
T Plus and Polo Plus – technical variants of classic garments using our Progressive Density Knit concept. Wicks and dries really fast but still look like ordinary clothes.
Launch of British Standard for UV Protection. Because we have been rating our cloths for sun protection since 1995 we were a key part of the Standards committee. Glad to say our test method was endorsed and with a few amends enshrined in the British Standards pantheon.
Universal waterproofs – light, soft, packable and tough waterproof jackets and trousers range in “colours for the Millenium” – we mean bright and cheerful…
We launch our Dynamic Moisture Control™ fabrics. A new standard for true, reliable and permanent wicking performance. Dissatisfied with misleading claims and varying performance we established this benchmark technology across the range.
First use of Cordura Naturelle worldwide – a tough, textured version of Cordura adapted to be soft enough to use in clothing.
Microgrid fleece introduced – a distinctive, highly technical fleece fabric, still in our top 20 best sellers.
Rohan Baggage – our bombproof, unique travel luggage with radical (at the time) features such as removeable covers, internal laundry bags and travel document pockets.
On Route Trousers – the first “technical chinos”, presentable enough for the office, tough enough for trekking. A variant is still in the range.
Phase Change Material introduced - a weird technology that absorbs surplus heat and returns it back when needed. First of a generation of “smart” fabrics.
One-Pull™ hood introduced – one pull at the back locks the hood onto the circumference of the head. No more staring into the inside of your hood when you turn your head.
Rohan MiniBaggage range of useful wallets, washbags and pouches.
Weatherguard system of protection ratings introduced.
First use worldwide of Micromattique fabric – a type of synthetic silk for hot weather.
Backpackers range launched – younger and more active and very popular with our older customers too.
Permanent Water Repellency™ established – a benchmark for durable repellency on waterproof fabrics. First in the market.
First use of water-resistant zips with a matt finish anywhere.
Bugbear™ mesh zip-ons – to attach to shorts and short sleeved shirts for insect protection. Highly effective but rather an unorthodox look.
Filifine® and filament CoolMax® fabrics launched on summer shirts – very early adoption of these new materials.
Core fleece – with 8 times the windresistance of a normal fleece, due to “torsional knitting”.
Interchange™ system allows zipping together of outer and inner garments, including fleece and wadded jackets.
Cloudcover waterproof – industry leading lightness at the time at 350gm. No lining and a special coating process inside instead.
Launch of X-static® in underwear – after x-tensive weartesting this silver based technology is proven to reduce bacteria and odour. Perfect for wilderness travel.
First use of Primaloft One – a very soft, advanced insulation originally designed for gloves – in garments anywhere.
First use of a sub 30g ultralight fabric on Icepack Jacket.
City Cocoon and City Block – insulated and windproof town coats with mountain technologies.
More silver – launched Skinlife® silver in trousers, a world first and excellent for the long-distance walker.
Windshadow Jacket – incredibly light windproof jacket at only 250g with Permanent Water Repellency™.
Rohan Travel Jeans launched – lighter, softer, less bulky, stretchier, faster drying, with zipped pockets.
Airspace™ honeycomb insulation launched.
First use of Superfine Merino – the best against the skin fabric as used by a few very special sheep…
Striders for women – return of the original Multiflex™ soft shell fabric updated for the 21st century.
Healthguard Total Protection launched – the best and most durable insect repelling and microbe inhibiting technology.
New technologies included Advanced Teflon®, Nano-Care™ and Dri-release® – all working hard to improve comfort and convenience for you.
Reykjavik tech-wool garments launched – knitwear with a plus.
1975 Blue Label launched as a commemorative, limited edition range, inspired by the ‘70’s. Popular but perhaps we were a little too creative with the original, now sacred designs.
Rohan Footwear – shoes launched under licence.
HardCore™ polypropylene launched – far lighter and tougher and very rapid drying material. First worldwide to use this in woven fabric for trousers and jackets.
Expedition Vest with built-in water reservoir for thirsty adventurers.
Encapsulation – experimented with women’s shirt with aloe vera built into fabric.
Windfoil reversible fleeces – 10 times the wind resistance of normal fleece.
Power Station Vest – using the EXO2 heating and power pack.
Vapour Trail – the lightest 2-layer waterproof on the market at 360g, with Rohan development fabrics.
Nightfall range – first use of premium, white goose down, unsurpassed for high warmth and low weight.
Biomimetic fabric that self cleans by mimicking the structure of glossy plant leaves.
Hotliners™ – soft liners for tough trousers, add warmth or can be used on their own as leisure wear.
Epic® weather protection – near waterproof performance with unimpeded breathability, on Pampas and Bags.
Roamers – at last soft shell stretch trousers in a summer weight.
Shelter Cape – they thought we were mad but we know a poncho is the only thing to wear in a monsoon. If it doubles up as a shelter so much the better.
Safari Dress – the only one in the world with so many technical benefits. Looks good too.
Ultra T – the world’s lightest T shirt using revolutionary ultrafine knitting techniques.
Thermocore – like a soft brushed flannel shirt but technical enough for Everest Base Camp.
Barricade™ – a new name for our top spec waterproof and breathable technology featuring Active Diffusion™.