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From corsets to high heels to lead-based makeup, fashion hasn’t historically been kind to women. But there’s perhaps no greater transgression in modern women’s clothing design than the universal lack of pockets.
In the face of this, we have good news. Designer Jeein Shin wants to give you pockets. “Two satisfying deep front pockets,” she says. And that’s just one of the oft-overlooked features the Korean-born, Los Angeles-based designer baked into the Hemp Send Pants, the first product from her newly-launched women’s adventure apparel brand, Comfortable Adventures (formerly Shiner Goods).
What makes Shin's designs so smart is the simplicity. There’s the high-rise elastic waistband with hidden drawcord. The center back belt loop for attaching a chalk bag or portaging a climbing shoes on the approach. Double-layered fabric at the knees and rear for durability. The slim fit that magically accommodates larger hips. And the comfortable, natural hemp fiber construction that makes her pants suitable both for big bouldering moves and big Sundays on the couch.
At risk of sounding hyperbolic, these may just be the best climbing pants I’ve ever worn. Make that the best pants I’ve ever worn, full stop.
If anyone is equipped to crack the code on women’s adventure pants, it’s Jeein, who spent years designing for industry giants like Abercrombie and Fitch, Converse, and J.Crew before segwaying into the outdoor industry with a stint at Woolrich. Around the same time, she was introduced to indoor rock climbing at a gym in Brooklyn. Then came a move to Los Angeles, and shortly thereafter, Comfortable Adventures was born.
"I never thought I would [start my own thing] but I realized if I wanted comfortable, sustainable pants, I was going to have to be the one to make them." —Jeein Shin
“When I moved to L.A., it opened the floodgates for outdoor climbing,” she says. “The way I looked at nature changed completely and I was in love. What I didn’t love was the apparel. I would wear tight leggings and have seam lines all over my legs when I took them off, and I didn’t always look good in nylon pants. When you work in fashion people are always asking you when you’re going to start your own thing—I never thought I would but I realized if I wanted comfortable, sustainable pants, I was going to have to be the one to make them.”
Jeein pinned up survey flyers at her local climbing gym and was inundated with responses. Jeein took that feedback and embarked on a year-and-a-half of research and development before launching Comfortable Adventures with her debut design: the Hemp Send Pant.
Moved by her own frustration at fashion’s polluting status quo and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard’s business tome, Let My People Go Surfing, Jeein’s brand uses hemp as a natural material alternative to nylon and polyester and strives for sustainability, transparency, and inclusion in all aspects of the brand.
“Hemp is like the electric vehicle of the car industry,” says Jeein, who curated a hemp primer on her website to educate customers not only on the benefits of the fiber, but its history (including its ties to systemic racism). “Hemp is gaining popularity thanks to brands like Patagonia; it’s going to have a huge environmental impact. But still, it takes educating our consumers about the benefits and versatility of hemp. And I’m noticing as more people are informed, they are curious about climbing in natural fibers.”
If simply having pockets large enough to actually store something in is the baseline for “good” women’s pant design, Comfortable Adventures exceeds expectations. But throw in thoughtful details, truly sustainable fibers (you can rip out the seams and bury these pants in your garden when you’re done with them, if you'd like), and inclusive branding that plays off Jeein’s Korean heritage and chooses not to ignore the diverse needs of modern woman, and you have the recipe for a pant—and a company—that is actually doing something new.
“The thing with pushing boundaries is that you push one and then a week later, it feels easy,” says Jeein. “Boundaries grow.”