Microsoft Brings Retro Designs With New Hardwear Clothing Collection

People often have a tendency to show off their love for a particular brand or item, sometimes in subtle ways. When it's impossible to actually carry the object around, we often resort to wearing clothing that bears the semblance or logo of that thing. That's why branded apparel never goes out of fashion, no pun intended, and it has always been a less obnoxious way to tell the world of your preferences. It seems that Microsoft is once again trying its hand at this endeavor and, after a brief teaser, has finally revealed its new "Hardwear" collection ... and thankfully, it isn't as garish or ridiculous as the Xbox Onesie.

This isn't Microsoft's first time dabbling in clothing and fashion accessories, of course — in fact, it has an entire line dedicated to apparel. Most of the items, however, revolve around the Xbox brand or games associated with it. Hardwear, in contrast, is all about Microsoft, and it includes some designs that are bound to split the fashionistas among Microsoft's fan base. The collection of nine apparel pieces was made in collaboration with designer Gavin Mathieu. 

The stated goal was to convey a message that humans are at their best when they're free to create (via Microsoft). Towards that end, the styles of clothing and accessories are pretty much within the normcore side of things, which is to say, they're pretty average looking as far as visual appearances go. That might seem bland, but that's pretty much the purpose of the clothing line — to put the wearer into focus while still letting them know which company's brand they're wearing.

Casual wear with Hardwear

That said, viewers might not actually know what the clothing is advertising just by looking at the name that's printed on the apparel. Hardwear isn't exactly a known brand, and only the buyers will probably associate them with Microsoft. Only two pieces — a pair of t-shirts, to be exact — actually have explicit references to the software giant. One shirt has the old-school Microsoft Paint icon printed on its back, while another has the iconic Windows XP wallpaper.

The other pieces are pretty plain, including the jacket and overshirt. Some, like the sweatpants and cargo tech pants, look almost old school and out of fashion. That seems to be a recurring theme in the collection, though, especially with nods to classics like MS Paint and Windows XP. Whether you'd be proud to be seen wearing those might depend on how hard you're rooting for Microsoft and want to support its fashion line. At least it's not the Xbox Onesie, which would have probably gotten you laughed out of the room unless you're with other Xbox fans.

Without the Microsoft references, the entire collection is pretty much average and nondescript, which is perfectly normcore, in other words. This is a two-edged sword since it allows these clothes to be worn almost anywhere and on any occasion that doesn't call for formal wear. On the flip side, some consumers may find them boring or even unidentifiable, which sort of defeats the purpose of being a walking brand advertisement.