At midnight on December 1st, Columbia will start selling its latest (and greatest) Star Wars collab consisting of orange flight suits, technical sweaters, and more.
Over the past few days, I’ve been lucky enough to go hands-on with a light jacket, a sweater and the crossbody bag. While not all the pieces are perfect for my personal style, I’ve walked away impressed with the quality of the garments and feeling a little more in tune with the Force than I expected.
Skywalker Pilot Lightweight Jacket
While it’s not a perfect recreation of the iconic Star Wars flight suits worn by the red squadron in the Empire Strike Back, it’s pretty close, and details like the big collar and the ribbing on the arms go a long way to feeling like Luke. A small rubber rebel logo is also on the left arm near the cuff, but for the $300 price of the jacket, I would have loved to see some embroidery to help the jacket live up to the vintage flight suit it’s aspiring to be. Instead, Columbia added tighter fabric lining inside the cuff called a ‘comfort cuff.’ These are typically used to keep snow out of your sleeves when skiing, but since this jacket is so lightweight, I’m unclear as to what they’re used for here.
On the chest, there’s a small Columbia logo and a rubber patch meant to mimic a coms pad from the movie sewn onto the left breast. This element is notably on some of the outfits worn by rebel ground troops on Hoth, but not the original flight suit. I’m of two minds to this piece. It gives the front of the jacket some much-needed texture, but the little rubber element also makes it look like a costume since it’s clearly fake. A chunky pocket or something more reminiscent of the actual flight jacket would have been ideal here. Columbia chose to omit this detail when it remade Princess Leia’s jacket a few years ago to make it more wearable, and I think a similar mindset would have worked here.
The other aspect of this jacket that’s a bit of a miss is the orange hue used. While it’s not bad, it reminds me more of a bright blaze orange used for hunting than the subdued burnt orange-yellow look we see in Episode IV and other Star Wars films. I would have loved to see Columbia take a bit more liberties to make the jackets look like we remember them from the movies, instead of being bright orange like a costume might be. I hope the colour will subdue a bit over time, but it feels more NASA than Star Wars out of the box.
The inside of the jacket is the futuristic-looking gold Omni-heat-infinity tech I tried out a few years ago. It works well at retaining your body heat, but it’s lighter than the puffy version I tried a few years ago, so it’s not as cozy on cold days. I biked with it one night and was comfortable when it was -5 degrees, but I had a heavy sweater on underneath. I’m not sure I’d use it if it was much colder than that.
When looking at it for just the style, I love the white accents inside the back. Reminiscent of the flight gear worn by rebel pilots in the films, it’s a subtle touch but used smartly. There’s also an interior pocket with a snow speeder schematics on it. I like this more than the rubber tech piece on the front since it’s a fun nod to the origin of the jacket without being outwardly noticeable. The overall tailoring of the jacket is better than I expected, and it fits my 5’11” frame nicely. I was expecting the jacket to be slimmer like other Columbia jackets, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it with a more vintage style reminiscent of a bomber jacket rather than a classic Columbia ski jacket.
Pullover Hoodie + Bag
Beyond the jackets, there are also a few other items. I got to test out the hoodie, and I love how cozy it is. There’s fleece inside the full sweater, including the hood, and there are zips on the kangaroo pocket, making it awesome for people who like to bike like me. The scuba hood falls nicely when it’s not being worn, especially with the technical drawstrings, but once you pop it up, it’s not the coolest-looking hood silhouette out there. However, it’s functional and very warm.
I also loved the look of the oversized pocket on the chest and the well-defined stitch lines running up the sweater. This piece leans the furthest into tech-wear fashion out of all the new collab, but unfortunately, Columbia decided to brand it with a snow speeder X-wing graphic on the back shoulder, making it feel more like something I might wear in high school, rather than being a fun Star Wars-influenced hoodie. It would have been awesome for the texture and tailoring of the sweater to say ‘”Star Wars” with its look, rather than blatantly slapping a logo on it. Using a cream instead of red accent colour would have also felt more true to the film, while also being more natural to wear. These hoodies are $219 CAD.
The small crossbody bag feels nice and is made of a durable canvas material. There are also lots of pockets inside, allowing it to store a ton of small items when you’re on the go.
You can browse all of the new collection here, and it will be available to purchase at 12:00 on December 1st