It’s early, about six in the morning, when Aude Tabet wakes up in her North Capitol Hill home. She starts her day with a walk, accompanied only by a friend’s husky. The stroll usually leads them past early-twentieth-century architecture and into a verdant Volunteer Park. For Tabet, her regular visits to the “very layered, very rich, very beautiful” green space never get old. Indeed this lushness inspires her work at Filson, a brand that was founded back in 1897 for prospectors and pioneers. But these days, as Filson’s design director, Tabet stitches together references to the past and present, the natural and urban landscapes at Seattle’s oldest atelier of rugged outdoor wear.
The 53-year-old designer was born and raised in Paris, and worked in New York City for over two decades at some of fashion’s biggest powerhouses, including Marc Jacobs and Coach. Three years ago she came to the Pacific Northwest to join Filson for a sartorial change of pace. While known more for menswear and durable fabrics—think waxed cotton, thick wool, tough leather—the women’s collection is gradually expanding under Tabet’s watchful eye. The growing line consists of “different silhouettes, different body types, different functions, yet,” she explains, “it’s not overly feminine or girlie.” The clothing still has to remain Filson.
Long underappreciated pioneers of the wilderness themselves, women—with Tabet leading the charge—can now don more and more outdoor garb from the century-old retailer. Even if it’s just for promenading through a park with a canine companion.