Seattle, WA-based apparel and outdoor brand Outdoor Research has announced a new manufacturing facility that opened in April, doubling the number of OR staff now making apparel and gear onshore.
The new, wholly owned factory is located in El Monte, CA. It joins the manufacturing enterprise that Outdoor Research has operated for decades at its Seattle headquarters, helping the brand continue to raise the bar for apparel and equipment innovation.
Thanks to its U.S. manufacturing capabilities, which are unique in the outdoor market, Outdoor Research has created purpose-built products for the U.S. military and tactical markets for 25 years. Highly respected in the outdoor industry for developing functional solutions for extreme environments, Outdoor Research has a long history of successfully leveraging the best commercial market technologies to serve the needs of the U.S. armed forces. OR tactical products have been improved through cross-pollination from user groups, including the elite communities of military, law enforcement, and government agencies.
Innovations developed for the military and tactical markets have, in turn, driven innovations in products for outdoor consumers. Having highly skilled manufacturing located in the U.S. gives Outdoor Research the ability to prototype products on-site, allowing new products to be developed more quickly and to go through more rounds of improvement. In addition, innovations pioneered for the military and tactical markets have been incorporated into outdoor products.
“Developing cutting-edge military and tactical products has been a key part of our business since 1994, and it’s been an integral part of what has allowed us to maintain and build upon the domestic manufacturing capabilities that Outdoor Research has always had,” said Michelle Wardian, president of Outdoor Research. “This new investment will allow us to continue to accelerate our product-development cycle so we can more rapidly field the latest innovations to the end-user, helping increase the mobility and protection of soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and law-enforcement officers, and also driving innovation companywide in the process. We’re proud that we’ve been able to bring American manufacturing to the table to accomplish this.”
Over the past two years, Outdoor Research conducted a comprehensive review of the U.S. supply chain and is in active development with textile mills and materials providers to expand and elevate the capabilities of products that are 100-percent American-made. It has also made significant capital investments in cutting-edge machinery and process efficiency to improve and modernize its Seattle factory, along with hiring more site engineers. This template was replicated in El Monte to significantly increase the brand’s U.S. manufacturing capacity. The new facility doubles the number of OR employees manufacturing products in the U.S. to more than 200.
These investments allow Outdoor Research to take advantage of the company’s global knowledge of design, materials, and innovative manufacturing techniques while producing the next generation of tactical and outdoor products at its U.S. facilities.