As both a fishing guide and ski instructor in Vail, CO, Will Watters knew that the mountains offered more than just one specific sport or experience. Along with his girlfriend (who would later be his wife), a fellow ski instructor in the valley, Watters wanted to design clothing that encapsulated the diversity of mountain life. The resulting new brand, Western Rise, launches with their debut spring collection with options for all genders.
“Living in the mountains, with so much surrounding you, there was no telling what a day might consist of,” Watters tells CH. “Everyone we knew was pretty fast off the couch. A typical day could consist of bouldering or biking in the morning to floating the Colorado River all afternoon, followed by a riverside bluegrass concert. We wanted clothes that looked classic, but could perform in all of those conditions.”
Watters (who originally hails from Rome, Georgia) follows in his family’s footsteps, as they’ve owned yarn mills as well as fabric and carpet production facilities for two generations, which has been useful in researching benefits of different fibers. Western Rise has a line called DryRise, which offers products to keep users especially dry—whether climbing, biking, paddle-boarding or wading. “This water resistance is currently attained in two different ways,” Watters explains. “We have our DryRise [tech], which is created by a tighter weave and a DWR treatment, allowing our apparel to shed water, and perform at almost any mountain activity. This is the treatment applied to the pants, shorts, and Bodie button-down. Then we also have our Ultra DryRise Fabric which is also water, dirt, stain and mildew-resistant. This is a proprietary treatment done at the yarn level to inhibit anything sticking to the fibers.”
Each product from the debut collection boasts plenty of useful features, while still looking classic enough to wear for a post-activity drink. The aforementioned Bodie button-down, for example, has a Velcro patch on its pocket for fly fishing flies, an inner mesh pocket bag, UPF 30+ sun protection, cuffs lined with fabric to clean smudged sunglasses—and pearl snaps. The four-way stretch, quick-drying Granite Camp pants balance performance, comfort and durability. But we’re most looking forward to Western Rise’s future outerwear offerings based on the unisex Bitter Creek Anorak alone.
A portion of the profits from every Western Rise product sold will go to Western Rivers Conservancy, which works to protect rivers, fish and wildlife through land acquisition. Shop the debut collection online at Western Rise with a list of stockists coming soon.
Lifestyle images courtesy of Matt Shaw; product images courtesy of Western Rise