The company eventually known as KÜHL began as Alfwear in 1983. The Alf hat was a Peruvian-inspired design that became popular in ski communities. Designer John “Alf” Engwall added polar fleece to the classic hat, providing insulation for cold-weather mountain use.
Engwall was joined by three co-founders: brothers Jay and Kevin Boyle, as well as climbing legend Conrad Anker. After Engwall’s death, the trio eventually disbanded. Kevin Boyle took the Alfwear reigns, looking to diversify the company’s product line. Using performance fabrics, Kevin turned Alfwear into the into the clothing company now known as KÜHL.
In 1990, KÜHL introduced the Jacquard jacket, which featured Polartec fleece, arm gussets and the original thumb-loop cuff system. The Jacquard jacket won the Polartec Apex Award and consumer acclaim. KÜHL is independently owned and financed, designing and manufacturing pants, shirts and outerwear.