Merrell, the outdoor footwear innovator, has announced the launch of its clothing collections for men and women.

Building on the heritage of

Merrell Footwear

, Merrell Apparel begins at the heart of technical functionality, focusing on the company’s innovative proprietary technologies, such as Merrell Slick Seam; a collection of laser-cut, stitchless garments, Merrell Bio-Blend; a blend of sustainable materials meant to reduce impact on the global environment, Merrell Opti-Shell; a waterproof breathable fabric.

The Meric pant (or trousers, if you hark from this end of the world), part of the Bio-Blend collection is the first denim to the market that combines merino wool and organic cotton.

The apparel team comes with a wealth of experience from such brands as Nike ACG, Ralph Lauren, The North Face, Oakley and many more. Creative director Tobin Teichgraeber, former VP of product and marketing at Helly Hansen, is at the helm, bringing extensive experience to the development and launch of Merrell Apparel. Kurt Foster and Jenna Campbell, the men’s and women’s product line managers respectively, have engineered a comprehensive range that brings style to purpose.

The complete yet focused collection consists of jackets, vests, softshells and fleece as well as knits, trousers, skirts, tech tees and merino tops and will be available at retail in July, 2007.

Jacques Lavertue, president of Merrell commented "Just like we did with footwear, the launch of Merrell Apparel reinvents utility clothing with the technology and design to meet real-world demands". He continues "Now with apparel, Merrell becomes a complete brand offering our retail partners the same progressive approach to the outdoors they have come to know from our footwear".

As can be seen from the image, a comprehensive range - check back on Pocket-lint regularly for updated information.