Well, trust the French to come up with wearable paragliders! In a surprise fashion hit, an almost unknown French fashion house, Para-parel, has successfully blended the long French tradition of fine fashion with the more recent French obsession with paragliding. So this paragliding website also doubles as a fashion website.
Yes, a whole line of para-apparel is available for sale after the success of Para-parel's first airing (no pun intended) of their colorful togas, sarongs and shawls. Naturally, some compromises are evident in the resulting line of clothing.
The main compromise is that when used as paragliders, these creations have a rather small wing area.
Chief designer, Claude S'ucke, has considerable experience in Alpine paragliding, but deliberately chose to go with very small wing areas for these wearable paragliders. In fact, half the clothing range is designed to be used as training wings only. You know, for practicing 'kiting' of a paraglider canopy.
The other half are the winter collection which are more heavily constructed. Hence they have the structural strength to be used as special heavy-weather paragliders. It was not unusual last summer to spot slope-soaring pilots braving 35 or even 45 knot breezes on the western French coast, in their colorful Para-parel wings. Everyone else was on the ground of course. Heck, even some airliners were grounded on those days.
Sorry, I've ignored those of you who are much more interested in the clothes. Ok, where do I start. Let's start with the shawls. These are really stuff bags for these unique paragliders. But with carefully chosen textures and shaping, Para-parel has done a lot to revitalize the popularity of this traditional concept in clothing.
In a clever move, Claude managed to use a variety of special clasps to transform most of the detachable paraglider lines into underwear. Very daring underwear, even by French standards. Ooh la la. Similarly, clasps and brooches are used to transform the canopies of these paragliders into loose-fitting togas for men and flowing sarongs for women. For the wearer's convenience, thin colored strips are sown into the fabric which highlight the most important fold lines to get the wearable wing look 'right'.
As a final touch, some of the shorter detachable lines are brightly colored and double as headbands, belts and even shoelaces. Shoelaces with outrageously large and floppy bows mind you. Wearable paragliders! What a concept. Viva le para-clothing!