Dressing for inclement weather is a tricky beast. The majority of rainwear tends to lean infamously drabby, totally un-chic, or reminiscent of ponchos that look like trashbags (really, though). Danish brand Rains is here to change your mind about how fashion-forward and functional wet-weather gear can look. Co-founders Daniel Brix and Philip Lotko, who met while studying at Denmark's TEKO Design School, set out to construct a clean and stylish rain jacket specifically with the young, urban biking community in mind. Copenhagen, often dubbed "the most bike-friendly city in the world," reportedly has "675,000 bicycles and just 120,000 cars [...], meaning bikes outnumber cars by more than five-to-one." As you can imagine, a sleek slicker is a product that's sorely needed for the seasonally rainy Scandinavia region. And, thus, the first Rains jacket was born in 2012 — and the demand has only gained momentum since.
It should be known that Rains doesn't "do" umbrellas. Instead, the brand focuses on everything else that can be waterproofed for hands-free movement. Kasper K. Nielsen, head of ecommerce, tells R29 that while the most popular best-sellers continue to be the unisex rain jackets and waterproof backpacks, the brand has been pushing more into the lifestyle space over the past few years. This past winter, Rains introduced new styles for winter, including warmer jackets, puffers, and bags. "We also just launched a new category within garments — we're moving into tracksuits and footwear — and we're adding more apparel and accessories subcategories," adds Nielsen.
As a newcomer to the Rains brand, I knew I couldn't go wrong with testing the A-Line Jacket and the best-selling Backpack Mini. (I chose the women's A-Line style specifically for this orange creamsicle hue and the long silhouette — but Nielsen told me that the original Rains Jacket and Long Jacket are cult faves across the board.) So, on a fortuitously rainy day, I snapped on my Rains jacket, packed some stuff into the Backpack Mini, and took both products out for a spin while the spring showers cascaded overhead.
What stands out most about the Rains jacket is the minimal, Scandinavian design — the jacket itself is low-frills but you'll find thoughtful details like pocket closures to ensure nothing inside gets wet, wrist snaps for adjustability, a smooth and malleable rubberized finish, and a cute visor on the drawstring hood for good measure. It's basically all you could want in lightweight outerwear meant to withstand wetness, whether you're cycling around or just trying to get from point A to point B.
As for the Rains Backpack Mini, I had no idea how much a waterproof bag abolishes any dread that comes with transporting precious cargo in sloppy weather. I slipped my 13-inch MacBook Air into the built-in laptop sleeve, dropped in a notebook and my charger, then stuffed two sets of gym clothes into the sack with utter ease. Don't be fooled, the Backpack Mini can tote a lot of stuff — all while keeping all the contents within dry from moderate rainfall. "If you go to the different universities here, you'll just see maybe more than 50 percent of all students have a Rains backpack," says Nielsen of this MVP product. And at around — or less than — the $100 price point, these backpacks are as affordable as they are essential.
While the bags aren't quite as ubiquitous in the US, the brand is seeing interest from American consumers in both the accessories and rainwear categories. The brand also "focus[es] on bags and apparel at the same level," says Nielsen. It may be the reason why Rains currently sells over 30 outerwear pieces and well over 50 bags and accessories. The bags, at their easy price points, are often the gateway product into the rest of the Rains lineup. In addition to everyday backpacks, the brand's travel bags and luggage — such as the Rains Weekend Bag — are also growing in popularity. As Rains fans travel, they're discovering they don't want to worry about any unforeseen terrible weather ruining their vacation clothes. (When in doubt, pack it in a waterproof bag, am I right?)
And, with all this talk about an expansive selection, Nielsen does mention that being sustainable and responsible is "part of our DNA; we are not a fast-fashion brand." Products are made from deadstock wherever possible, and the vast offerings you see are simply products made from what would have been waste materials. "One thing we are trying to do in terms of being more responsible is buying our customers' products back — if they have an older style that they'd like in a new style or color, we buy them back, give them store credit [that can be applied to] buying a new product, and we refurbish and sell those as a new style [in the future]," Nielsen says. Similar to the revolving nature of condensation and rainfall, you can be assured that when you buy into Rains, you'll be able to partake in its closed-loop cycle program. If all this doesn't sound like a dry spell that's worth getting into, we don't know what is.
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