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Monday, May 20, 2024

Microsoft announces ‘Hardwear’ clothing line. Yes, really.

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You read that right. Microsoft now has its own clothing line. Now, I’m going to try and stick to the facts here until I’ve actually tried on some of this gear, but what I will say is this: it’s not as nerdy as you might expect. It’s actually pretty rad.

If you prescribe to the tired nerd fashion stereotype, you’d expect Microsoft to come out with a line of straight-leg capri pants, plaid shirts for buttoning right up to the neck, and some thick-rimmed glasses. And while that late ’80s, early ’90s nerd style is actually kind of in right now, Microsoft’s new ‘Hardwear’ line (I know, isn’t it great) goes for more of a street style, crossed with that early, pixelated internet aesthetic for the print. 

If you want the official term, it’s inspired by the ‘Normcore’ movement, which Microsoft explains is a “lifestyle aesthetic that puts the focus on individuals and not on the clothing they wear.”

Designed by Gavin Mathieu, the idea grew around his shared philosophy with Microsoft, where (according to the MS life blog post) you’ll often hear people say “You don’t work here to look cool, you work at Microsoft to make others cool.”

Mathieu speaks passionately about the project in Microsoft’s overview vid, attributing the start of his artistic journey to his dad’s shenanigans. He always thought ‘Pops,’ who was an attorney, was there reading serious documents on his PC late at night, but actually he was just messing around in MS Paint

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It’s a strange journey, to go from watching Pops playing with Microsoft’s Paint tool to becoming a full-blown fashion designer, and finally getting a chance to work with Microsoft to design their own clothing line. And I’m sure plenty of us can relate to Mathieu’s feeling of always being the underdog, which he notes became his driving force for success.

Back to Microsoft’s new clothing line, I just love that the photoshoot was done surrounded by rolling hills made of fake grass, and with a backdrop of mottled clouds. That’s some perfect nostalgia of Windows XP’s Bliss wallpaper right there.

Hopefully, we’ll be getting some of the range in to ‘review,’ so keep an eye on the homepage if you’re interested to see how that goes. Also if you’re already raring to pick some of Mathieu and Microsoft’s Hardwear designs up for yourself, you can check out the Xbox Gear store

Please send in some of your style shots, because it’s about time we overturned the worn-out nerd style stereotype.

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