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The Season's Aspen Secret

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2nd Oct 2008

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Comfy, shaped, & chic: integral protection from the elements
Hub Culture rarely bestows critical praise in the fashion industry - having only called one shout out to Stella McCartney about a year ago, as we concluded that she had, indeed and for certain, truly arrived.

As the winter sets in, we are pleased to direct your attention to 66 North - which for different reasons is a hot pick for right now. This brand sums up the moment: authenticity. Unlike your typical outdoor and ski brands, which are marketed on an aesthetic or lifestyle, this stuff is the real deal. 66 North is made in Iceland, by Icelanders. These are people who do authentic things; like fly-fishing in frigid waters, mud bogging across volcanic lava fields and eating herring for breakfast after clubbing all night. Iceland (as we've always maintained) rocks, and this is like the national uniform of Europe's coolest islanders.

Everyone else now seems to be catching on. Founded in 1926 by a guy named Lars, it took awhile for 66 North to branch out, and if you visit their flagship in Rekjavik, you'll find a suprisingly warm and down to earth set of staff. It is only in recent years that they have become well known outside of the frozen north, and the internet combined with accelerating word of mouth has been fueling their success. 66 North will open their first flagship in New York City in 2007 - sequel to a Soho pop-up which was practically mobbed during the 2005 holiday season. Their retail links are growing fast, and they now take orders for their delicious items online. Like many good things, the 66 North logo no longer elicits blank stares, but it still remains one of those "people who know, know" sort of jewels.

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66 North kitting out the Icelandic Olympic Ski Team
This stuff is rugged without being pretentious: think of it as the Prada of the North. Durable, form fitting, and sexy, the folks at 66 North have cultivated an image that is not about fashion, but is somehow very fashionable. Check Ajax in high season or Little Nell at 'Apr s Hour' and you'll see for yourself. The fleeces are great. The outerwear is actually water proof, and the tailored cuts mean that just because you're filled with goose feathers doesn't mean you have to look like the Michelin Man.

Hub Culture have been fans of 66 North since they outfitted our expedition to Antarctica in 2005. Three weeks in snow suits, puffy down jackets, and inner thermals convinced us that if its good enough for the South Pole, its good enough for the slopes as well.

Sure, the site and the brand is very wholesome, and its hard to imagine Nordic fisherman at the epicenter of fashion. But for the slopes, this is the statement. Mix it with your Dior skis and your Fendi goggles if you must, but you will know the difference between poseur and professional when stuck on a ski lift on the side of a Rocky with the wind howling down your neck.

And how much do we love it that they sponsor the Icelandic Ski Team?!