Santa Ana-Based Afield Out Features Street-Inspired Apparel and Outdoor Equipment

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Couple and co-founders Brian Chor and Kalynn Nguyen created Afield Out in 2017. Now you can find the stylish, outdoors-focused clothing and accessories brand across the U.S., including at Blends in Costa Mesa, as well as in other countries such as the U.K., Canada, Japan, and Italy, and this fall in Spain, Australia, and Russia. Keep an eye out for Afield’s summer line coming soon.

How did you come up with the idea for Afield Out?
Chor: We used to go camping with our friends all the time, and I felt like there wasn’t an (outdoor) brand that spoke to us when we we’d go to places like REI. Afield is fashion meets street mixed with outdoor. It has a lot of street influence, which you typically don’t see in outdoor, so just filling that void and creating something that we would want to wear. I grew up loving punk culture, so a lot of our graphics are dark and sort of obscure.

Nguyen: We thought, how can we do a more modern take (on outdoor apparel meets street) that we would enjoy—that’s been Brian’s biggest motto. When he designs, it has to be something that we both would want to wear. It’s never going to be something that we both don’t like just so we can make sales.

Apparel and accessories from Afield’s
spring 2021 line; Photograph by Emily J. Davis

What are your individual roles?
Nguyen: Brian started it first, and I was just kind of helping. We started garnering attention and getting some of these wholesale accounts, and that’s when it got serious. When it was a passion project, we were creating stuff whenever we wanted to. But once we actually had retailers, they were on a schedule and things had to be official. That’s where I jumped in and started to project manage and pretty much do everything. We work really well together. If we don’t know how to do something, we figure it out.

Chor: Basically, I do all the graphics and anything visual. Kalynn does everything else —executing ideas through art direction. Where a lot of brands have huge teams, photographers, designers, marketers—me and Kalynn literally do everything together. It’s awesome.

Why did you make the brand gender neutral?
Nguyen: I’m a female co-founder; if I’m going to be spending a lot of time working on this and I’m so passionate about it and I love the designs, I would also want to be able to identify with the brand. Mainly, it’s because I want to wear the stuff.

What’s unique about the way the clothes are made?
Nguyen: We have our core colors, and they usually gravitate toward darker colors, and we always incorporate pops of color every season. We started to play around a lot with dying the fabrics with some of the T-shirts, sweaters, and sweats; you’ll see certain colors like a bright blue or something that we took to a dyehouse in L.A. where they’re hand-dyed. You get that unique pigment of color that you otherwise don’t really see in a lot of brands. If we can go the extra mile for the brand, we will.

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