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Styled for performance

Stierna has made a name based on style, quality and technology. JESS MORTON learns more.

Founded in 2015, the Swedish brand Stierna Equestrian Sportswear has made a name for itself by taking no shortcuts. Every aspect, from the size of the hoods to pocket size, has been perfected in each of their garments. Classy, functional, and built for equestrian performance, what really sets Stierna apart is their technical approach to outerwear.

I sat down with Stierna’s co-founder Robert Kos to hear about the brand’s impressive credentials and to learn more about the difference between techwear marketing jargon and the real deal.

JM: What makes Stierna Equestrian Sportswear different?

RK: The inspiration for Stierna came from co-founder Helena Strömbäck. Born and raised in Haparanda in the north of Sweden, not far from the Arctic Circle, she learned from an early age how to dress for extreme weather conditions.

Weather in Scandinavia can be unpredictable and that’s why she adopted a three-layer approach to dressing. However, finding gear with the functionality and warmth she needed proved difficult. So she developed and perfected her own line: Stierna Equestrian Sportswear, a range of techwear designed to protect equestrians from the elements, wick moisture, maintain the correct temperature and keep the wearer dry in all conditions.

It has always been our ethos that every equestrian is an athlete, whatever level they ride at, or activity they take part in. Therefore, every garment we produce is constructed to the highest technical standard with innovative textiles including Equtex™ membrane fabrics.

Helena’s three-layer system is designed to help riders combine and layer garments to best resist cold, wind and water. From our comprehensive range, equestrians can select an outfit from the base layer through to outerwear that will suit any activity or climate.

Stay warm and dry in Stierna’s outerwear garments, built to cope with hard work.

JM: How does Equtex™ membrane technology work?

RK: When you see a Stierna garment with the Equtex™ logo, you can be assured that a lot of thought and work went into the process of choosing and combining the right outer fabric with the right membrane. Our Equtex™ fabrics are based on a membrane technology that allows the outer fabric to be waterproof while maintaining high levels of breathability. These fabrics not only protect you from the elements, they also manage moisture and maintain proper heat balance to keep you dry, an important part of staying comfortable.

JM: Can you explain the technology behind Stierna coats’ ability to breath?

RK: Breathable outerwear allows moisture to evaporate rather than trapping it against the body. An ultra-thin film is laminated, glued under pressure, to the inside of the outer fabric. This film contains microscopic holes that are large enough to release water molecules from perspiration. However, these tiny holes are too small to let in water drops from rain or snow. The difference in temperature and the pressure between the inside and outside of the fabric is what drives the steam, in this case perspiration, out through the fabric. This is called breathability and it is how our technology keeps you comfortable no matter how hard you train.

Stierna’s stylish but practical Storm rain jacket.

JM: So there’s a difference between water resistant and waterproof?

RK: There is some confusion within the equestrian industry when it comes to waterproofness. A garment can be produced in a waterproof fabric but if the seams are not taped the garment is not waterproof. In the simplest sense, a waterproof jacket offers the highest level of protection from rain and snow. While a water resistant jacket offers a good, but lower, level of protection.

There’s a little more to it than that though. The difference between water resistant and waterproof arises from the fabric. A water resistant material is so tightly woven that water struggles to get through, but it can only stand up to so much rain. A waterproof material, on the other hand, provides a complete barrier to water. In this sense a plastic bag is waterproof, but you’d totally overheat if you were riding in a plastic bag and get wet from your own sweat on the inside.

That’s why Stiernas waterproof garments use a membrane material combining waterproof and breathable properties. This membrane keeps you dry from the inside – yep, from sweat – and from rain and snow on the outside.

Jacket and coat hoods are generously sized and will easily accommodate your helmet.

JM: What’s your best-selling product category and why?

RK: Outerwear, especially coats and jackets. Our gear is used by professionals including veterinarians and riding instructors, as well as the mounted police in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Every item was designed with its lifecycle in mind, and while our prices are slightly more expensive than some other brands, our gear really does perform better and last longer. We are all about creating sustainable, durable garments with a design expression that lasts for the long haul. During 2021 we doubled in size as a company and we are happy that customers appreciate our hard work.

Feature Image: Made from recycled polyester, the Stella waterproof riding coat is as practical as it is street-savvy.