The sun dips below the horizon on the northern tip of Vancouver Island as the waves crash onto the beach in front of me. The sea mist slowly rolls in with the tide and a light drizzle dampens and cools the air. My eyes are drawn to the water as a faint blue light begins to glow in the surf. The bioluminescence comes to life with each rolling wave. I don’t want to miss the moment. In this weather, a down coat will get too wet and a raincoat isn't enough to keep me warm enough, so I reach into my bag and grab my Melton Wool shirt.
As someone who often spends more time on the road—and outdoors—than at home, there is a lot of intention behind each item that I pack. With limited space, every piece has to serve a purpose and suit my spontaneous lifestyle. ANIÁN’s Melton Wool shirt is one of those few items.
As an outdoor photographer working in a variety of environments, my Melton is the perfect companion. I can wear it to meetings with clients as well as on shoots or in the field with the peace of mind that I’m going to stay warm and dry, all while looking professional. From chasing icebergs in Newfoundland and Labrador to photographing grizzlies in the Great Bear Rainforest and skiing the fjords of Norway, it’s become the staple piece in my wardrobe.
ANIÁN is a boutique clothing manufacturer rooted in coastal culture and outdoor lifestyle based on Vancouver Island, Canada. Starting in a small shack in Victoria nearly a decade ago, Anián has grown a lot since—in sales and recognition—thanks to their iconic Melton wool shirt, and it's clearly demonstrated throughout the island community by how frequently you’ll spot someone sporting one.
This is largely due to the practicality of wool, which can withstand a proper west coast winter and is surprisingly technical. Due to its thick and dense weave, Melton wool is often used for garments like peacoats and military wear. There is minimal fraying and in addition to being super warm and soft, it also has water-wicking and wind-resistant properties, making it the most weatherproof of all woolen cloth. Then there's the flattering and versatile fit, which can be worn everywhere from the office to a beach fire or a hike in the woods to a night on the town. It truly is one shirt for every occasion.
Timeless, well-designed pieces like this are hard to come by in a fast fashion landscape. Each of ANIÁN's product drops has a limited run and is made from 80% post-consumer recycled wool, which is sorted by color then graded and processed in Italy. You can feel good knowing that you’re supporting leaders in the circular economy movement who aim to keep clothing out of landfills and reduce the need to create excess waste by using a dye-free process. From there, all of the cutting, sewing, and design work is done in British Columbia, ensuring everything is as local and hands-on as possible to guarantee quality heirloom craftsmanship.
By investing in a piece from ANIÁN you are reducing the overall amount of clothing being bought and/or thrown away. This helps shift the perception of clothing from being disposable to durable. They have even gone as far as creating an online marketplace—currently exclusive to Canadian customers—where you can buy and sell your old products to keep them in good hands and out in the world.
Not that you'll need to. I got my first Melton back in 2019 and it has plenty of miles on it, though it doesn't look like it. The shirt wears in over time, but in a good way: stretching out and fitting better as time goes on without looking ragged or worn. Truth be told I own a couple of them—ANIÁN keeps coming out with new colors—and it's my most complimented article of clothing. It’s a shirt that will last you a lifetime and serve as a reminder of the good times (especially when they were on a cold, remote beach near the edge of the map).