Montec brings Fast Fashion to Snowsports

Fast fashion is really fucking us over. As an industry, apparel is the second largest consumer of water and responsible for more than 10% of global emissions, and those environmental impacts are expected to get 60% worse by the end of the decade. But we as consumers can’t seem to help ourselves. Trend cycles get faster and faster. We buy more and more clothing each year. We wear it less and less (the average garment now gets 7-12 wears before being cast aside). And we pat ourselves on the back for being generous and giving when we take bags and bags of clothing to our local Goodwill, when in reality, over 80% of those donations shortly end up in a landfill or incinerated.

But it’s a profitable business, so it’s no surprise that someone decided to bring fast fashion to the slopes. That “someone” is Ridestore, the parent company of Montec and Dope Snow. Both brands have a lot of red flags. I’ll make a list.

But first, a quick note: a lot of Montec hate comes from a place of elitism. Snowsports are classist and a Dope Snow or Montec logo serves as a billboard that you’re price sensitive. Those jokes and attitudes are so fucked. But, if budget is a priority, there are ways to stay in that same price range that will cost less-per-wear in the long run and lessen our impact on the environment. (And I say that as someone who skis in a jacket that cost $71).

Likewise, I’ve gotten a lot of messages who like their Montec kits or have friends who are satisfied customers. That’s great for them. Fast fashion has been pleasing customers for years with cheap prices and “meh” quality. That’s why it’s profitable. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Mine happen to be informed by professional work history in the technical apparel space.

So here we go:

They’re missing a lot of product information, including some that is legally required. The best way to gauge a product’s quality while you’re online shopping is through the product and fabric specs, yet some of these are missing from Montec. Notably, 2 pieces of information are required on your website under the Textile and Wool Act: import status and fiber types. But most of their peers are also adding additional, non-required attributes because they reflect well on the product and the brand. Think terms like ripstop, fabric denier (aka fiber thickness), fabric weight, and weather it’s a plain weave, double weave, twill, or dobby. Some of those might not mean much to the average consumer, but anyone with a rudimentary interest in fabric and gear can start to adjust their expectations for a given piece of gear based on these choices.

They probably don’t disclose that fabric information because it’s not good. I can’t tell much about their product construction from their website, but I can learn a lot about their products from used sites like eBay and Poshmark. The products IRL don’t match the website. It’s not quite “ meme” level, but they’re definitely working some magic to make their products seem like better quality online than they are in real life. For me, there are 2 giveaways: wrinkles, and seam puckering. I know what you’re thinking: Wrinkling? You think this brand lacks ethics because wrinkles detract from the aesthetic? But wrinkles also hint at quality when it comes to technical outerwear. Items that have a more complex weave and/or a higher density weave are less likely wrinkle. Those two attributes also influence durability. In other words, a double weave or a twill is both less likely to wrinkle and more durable. And since they’re using polyester, which is weaker than the other popular choice (nylon), they should be relying on weave density to make a garment that holds up for many seasons of use. Also, note that the yellow kit still has the tags attached – it’s not like either piece was just extracted from a month crammed at the bottom of someone’s touring pack.

Then there’s the puckering. Look at the jacket below, both in the on-site marketing imagery, and the used re-sale listing:

The stock image looks sleeker and more streamlined. And that’s because there’s puckering on the seams that adds visual noise to the jacket:

Puckering can come from a number of causes but none of them are good. The thread tension may be too high. There might be structural jamming. The stitch, thread, or needle might be a poor fit for the fabric. But sifting through the shells in the gear closet I share with my partner, none of our pieces have this kind of puckering, regardless of whether they were sub-$100 rain jackets or top end ski shells retailing for over $500.

Whether they’re using steamers, photo touching, or higher quality photo samples, they’re creating the illusion of a crisp, tailored, technical garment. But that illusion isn’t feasible within their quality standard. Is that legal? Yea, every brand adjusts color or uses clips and pins to optimize how their garments look on set. But they’re just barely clearing the bar of acceptability when it comes to matching the images they serve on site. (Also, they explicitly list this disclaimer in their terms: Any image details on the Website, in ads or in other marketing material shall be considered as illustrations only, and thus not as a specification of the exact appearance of our products, their functions, origins, or as warranty.)

They don’t have a warranty. In the Montec terms, they state they’ll address only the mandatory customer protection laws for each country (which, spoiler, isn’t much in America). They’ll allow you to lodge complaints for up to 3 years after you’ve received your product, but there’s no promise what will happen next. Most other brands offer a 3+ year manufacturer warranty that fixes shortcomings in design and materials (broken zippers, failed seams, delaminating materials, etc.). Montec’s TrustPilot page has several complaints about zippers coming apart within a year of purchase, only to be told that they should seek out a seamstress to replace it. And when Montec’s terms do address fixing complaints, they only talk in terms of replacement, not repair, which is a sign that fixing even minor issues is in the US is even more expensive than making a whole new garment.

Their reviews are suspect. Every item has a glut of reviews from 1 particular date. There may be a few one-off reviews from other dates, but 90%+ are all from a single day. For example, this is the Fawk Women’s bibs, with 50 reviews, all written on March 31, 2022. And if you check the page source, even the time is the same – 10:58

Some items have multiple reviews that are all duplicated back-to-back (definitely screams “real reviewer”).

In addition, if I switch between devices, the number changes. For the women’s Fawk bibs, I get 220 reviews on my personal laptop, 228 on my work laptop, and 234 on my phone. Only 50 reviews come up if you keep loading until the end. Across all countries, there 197.

The women’s bibs lack quick bathroom access (you have to lose any layers on top of the straps), which makes the 4.9 star rating even fishier.

They’re mega trendy. Like the rest of fast fashion, Montec’s offering trendy designs at the cheapest possible dollar. They’ll start looking shabby within a few seasons because the quality isn’t there. And conveniently, the trends will start looking tired too, as brands move away from the asymmetrical zippers, double zippers, anoraks, and branded elastic straps. And Montec will be there with another cheap, trendy jacket to continue the cycle of consumerism.


3 thoughts on “Montec brings Fast Fashion to Snowsports

  1. Thank you for this insight – both on the product, it’s place in society, and our attitudes.

    I’m trying to get away from fast fashion, but it’s hard.


  2. Thank you for writing this review, I was considering buying a Montec jacket and after reading what you’ve written, I’ve changed my mind.


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