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Freeport, ME, July 29, 2022

Discover the Storied Past of Mountain Classic, a Collection That Keeps Peaking

From 1992 through today, the Mountain Classic collection has always been ready for any adventure you have in mind.

5 Min. Read | Inside L.L.Bean | Current Stories

The Origin of a Classic

The year was 1990, and former L.L.Bean President Leon Gorman and then Chief Merchandising Officer Tom Armstrong were on a journey to new heights. The pair were participating in the L.L.Bean-sponsored Peace Climb of Mount Everest, led by citizen climbers from the U.S., the Soviet Union and China, intended to show that all people can work together to accomplish something tremendous.

It was also an opportunity — in the ultimate outdoor environment — for L.L.Bean products to “walk the walk,” including an early Mountain Classic Supplex Anorak prototype.

“Participating in the expedition allowed us to take a big step with our outerwear collection,” Armstrong said at the time. The “DNA” of the designs would go on to inform many Mountain Classic pieces — classic apparel built for everyday use.

In fact, the early ‘90s proved to be a critical era for L.L.Bean, as technical gear increasingly doubled as everyday apparel, making its way into the closets of a broad range of consumers — not just the dedicated outdoorsman.

A 1992 Los Angeles Times story highlighted the trend, explaining, “The idea of rough-and-ready apparel crossing over into the fashion mainstream is scarcely new. It happened with surfwear, high-top basketball shoes and flight jackets. But the look, particularly in outerwear, appears to be coming on stronger of late.”

The same year, the first Mountain Classic product appeared, debuting as the Mountain Classic Supplex Anorak. The everywhere-jacket earned attention for in-demand features, offering lightweight resistance to wind and water, generous pocket space, easy layering and a classic look that wasn’t just in fashion — it helped define style going forward.

As appetites grew for mountain-to-town clothing, the Mountain Classic collection expanded with new products, patterns and stylish colorways, easily transitioning from the campsite to brunch. Many of these pieces would go on to become L.L.Bean mainstays — from the Cordura Duffle Bag to the Fleece Vest – but the Mountain Classic Anorak would inform the design of many collections to come.

Its “woven alpine trim” became an instantly recognizable pattern. This taping, along with the Mount Katahdin logo, which first appeared in 1987, would heavily influence the Mountain Classic look — even 30 years later.

“This is a collection that will go everywhere with you.”

Amy Yeo, L.L.Bean Senior Designer

(Top): A spread from a 1992 L.L.Bean catalog showing the first Mountain Classic product, called the Mountain Classic Supplex Anorak.

(Bottom, from Left to Right): New Mountain Classic Anoraks in Men's and Women's Styles

Honoring Mountain Classic Today

The new 2022 Mountain Classic collection pays tribute to this storied history, weaving in iconic patterns and detailing on a competitively priced range of apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment that are trail- and street-ready.

“This is a collection that will go everywhere with you,” L.L.Bean Senior Designer Amy Yeo says. “You can wear it at camp, you can wear it at home, you can wear it at school, and you can wear it to go out.

“There’s something nostalgic about the taping, whether folks knew it from the original Anorak or have seen it for the first time today,” Yeo says. “We really wanted to go back to the original 1992 colorway, so we threaded those colors through everything in the new collection to create a distinct and familiar look.”

2022 brings an expanded selection of accessories and the most diverse line of footwear yet, with water-resistant Slipper Ankle Boots and Slides that feature quilted uppers and a fresh color-blocked design.

A robust selection for kids and toddlers rounds out the new Mountain Classic apparel line, including Down, Fleece and Pile Bunting and choices in headwear like a Cord Trapper for junior outdoorspeople. “We have so many family favorites, for grownups to toddlers,” Yeo says. “It’s part of fulfilling our goal to get the whole family outside.”

The new line also includes a range of equipment in sleek patterns and colorways. Fans can shop essential cold-weather goods, like the Mountain Classic Winter Walker and Sonic Snow Tube in a newly designed, all-over graphic. Other trail-ready staples, like the Mountain Classic Cordura Duffle and Sleeping Bag, integrate the redesigned taping in creative new locations, from zippers to seams.

"For 30 years, people have identified Mountain Classic with L.L.Bean, and we are proud to carry on that streak with a rigorously vetted, imaginative, accessible, fun and durable collection for everyone,” Yeo says.

The 2022 Mountain Classic collection will be available August 17, with new styles to be introduced throughout the fall season. For updates and new products, visit llbean.com.