OutDoor presents multifunctional apparel and Gold Award Winners
You are what you wear. This applies to outdoor sports too. Consumers want versatile outdoor apparel – whether for hiking, mountaineering or wearing around town. As usual, functionality is key and manufacturers are also using more and more material combinations. At the same time T-shirts, pants and jackets are getting lighter and more breathable. OutDoor 2016 (13 – 16 July) in Friedrichshafen Germany, the leading outdoor trade show for trade visitors only, has all next season’s apparel trends
Jackets built for all activities, Anders Blomster, Marketing Manager of Swedish brand Lundhags sees this as the way forward, “I believe that good functional apparel has to be multifunctional. However, having five different jackets to cover five different activities is hardly sustainable – for users or the industry.” Elsewhere, classic mountaineering brands take a different approach. “Black Diamond focusses on the needs of its main target groups – climbers and backcountry skiers. Everything, from fit to details to materials are carefully selected to meet these requirements,” explains Julie Rogers, Category Director Apparel at Black Diamond.
For 2017, lightweight, comfort, material combinations and cuts dominate when it comes to new products at the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen. “For the first time, we’re introducing a pant model – our trekking-tights – that outperforms everything that has gone before in terms of freedom of movement and fit,” says Thomas Gröger, Country Manager Fjällräven Germany. Other companies have also reworked their patterning. “Houdini’s Made to Move collection is setting new standards for pant design,” explains Jesper Danielsson, Head Designer Houdini.
“Material combinations with high-tech fabrics and natural fibres are on the rise. By using them intelligently at specific areas, we can make more robust, more comfortable and more functional products,” states Hendrik Reschke, Marketing Manager Ortovox, describing a further trend. Whether its high-tech fabrics with organic cotton and wax finishes or merino wool with eucalyptus wood fibre, the outdoor industry is particularly creative when it comes to greater and more refined apparel
“At Fjällräven, we see functionality as a holistic whole, where suitability for purpose, robustness, fit and sustainability are the main priorities,” elucidates Thomas Gröger. Marmot’s communication manager Sarah Seeger adds, “Outdoor apparel means sophisticated cuts and features, as well as functional fabrics. Only by combining all these aspects can we make our styles fully functional and ready for extreme use.” Jamie Reid, Product and Marketing Manager at Mountain Hardwear takes this one step further. “The fit is critical. When a customer tries a product on in a shop, if it fits well then the details are just a nice additional extra.”
Authenticity, fit, versatility, functionality, comfort and lightweight designs, this is what sets outdoor apparel apart. And this is why the industry is unconcerned about competition from workwear providers looking to benefit from the outdoor trend. “Our products are made from natural fabrics and feature complex material combinations. They offer the highest quality and exceptional design. Workwear brands have not been able to deliver this, due to the extreme price pressure they face,” concludes Hendrik Reschke, Head of Marketing at Ortovox. Columbia’s marketing manager Dana Eichinger argues that, “Outdoor products are better, lighter and pack down smaller and they have more technological features, such as UV protection and moisture management.”
The OutDoor Industry Gold Award
On the evening of day one of the show, the 37 winners received their OutDoor Industry Awards. From a field of 343 entries, products were chosen which demonstrated a high degree of innovation, design and sustainability. In addition, during the prize-giving ceremony eight exceptional products were additionally awarded an OutDoor Gold Award.
Retailers, consumers and the media value the OutDoor Industry Award as a valuable independent source of information when there are so many new outdoor products on offer. It is the result of hard work by the independent panel of judges, who had no easy task to perform over the last few weeks: evaluating 343 entries in a two-stage judging process over a number of days.
The expert panel, which this year was composed of designers, apparel and equipment experts from retail and industry associations, journalists and alpinists, dealt critically and competently with the entered products. “The high level of expertise and experience that comes together for the OutDoor Industry Award judging process is completely unique. It was impressive to witness the in-depth nature of the judges’ discussions. There were differences in opinion and serious debate – which is a welcome part of the process. In the end though, the judges were able to reach a consensus and select the innovative products they saw as deserving winners of the award,” said OutDoor Project Manager Dirk Heidrich.
The bestowed winners with bi-lines of the judges:
Hyper 100 Jacket by Berghaus
“Only 97 grams – the lightest, 3-layer waterproof we’ve come across. The ultra- lightweight design is impressive; the fabric is exceptional. The pattern using only two key parts is super minimalist.”
Balaclava by Stoll
“This really is an innovation. The seamless construction is great – when we tried it on, the balaclava is really comfortable and the heating system around the mouth is a fine idea.”
Transfer Wheelie Bag by Exped
“A very practical baggage solution. Ideal for transporting luggage on adventures. We are impressed by the small pack size it folds down to when not in use.”
Balance Crash Pad by Edelrid
“What a good idea! This is the first crash pad we’ve seen that adapts itself to the ground underneath.”
Trail King SV by Therm-a-Rest
“This new mattress is super-fast to inflate with the speed valve and still remains comfortable even if punctured thanks to its alternating air and foam construction.”
Cafflano Klassic by Beanscorp
“It’s obvious that the developers of this new innovation are real coffee aficionados with an eye for detail. This all-in-one hand mill, filter and thermos cup is a clever design with a quality construction.”
Birnabag By Birnadal
“Great idea for a wide range of uses. You can even use it as a blanket in your tent or on the ground. It also fits perfect on prams and pulks. Beautiful details.”
GUPPY FRIEND by Langbrett
“This innovative product tackles the problem of micro waste (plastic fibre) pollution – an issue that the whole outdoor industry needs to look at and find solutions for.”
Biographies of this year’s judges’ panel
Mark Held is General Secretary of the European Outdoor Group (EOG), an association founded in 2003 by the 19 largest outdoor companies in the world. He also represents the outdoor industry in the FESI (Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry). Mark has been involved in the outdoor industry for over 20 years – among other things, as head of product development at Berghaus and the Lowe Alpine Group.
Already during his studies Boris Gnielka spend as much time as possible in the mountains. Always with him: a good camera and plenty of equipment. To finance his hobbies, he jobbed at a number of outdoor retailers, where he developed a passion for quality gear. He also published travel journals and equipment-related articles in newspapers and magazines – amongst them the outdoor-Magazin. In 2000, right after his studies, he turned his hobby into a career, moved with wife and dog from Hanover to Ludwigsburg and started as an editor with the outdoor-Magazin, which he has been loyal to ever since. As he has been with his hobbies: photography, rock climbing, mountaineering and trekking tours – his dog always at his side, of course.
As the founder and ‘brainiac’ behind Salt Magazine (based in the Netherlands since 2006), Natasha Bloemhard is a true believer in living the outdoor lifestyle. With over 25 years of experience in the world of outdoor and fun sports, creative culture and sustainability, she shares her passion with the Salt community on a daily base, writing about subjects that matter to her. Her inspiration? To motivate and enable people to make an adventure out of every day, in which experiencing consciously and giving meaning to life are key.
As a design graduate Ke Hai Truong has made a career out of his passion for technical sports apparel. Driven by his enthusiasm for technically sophisticated products, he has gained in-depth knowledge about current trends and innovations. Working as Product Manager and Designer for several renowned brands Ke Hai has gathered a wealth of experience in the Outdoor industry. Today, he consults a number of apparel brands specialized in Hunting Workwear, Sportswear and Outdoor. In a positive sense, he can be referred to as a true product nerd and “gear freak”.
Since 2009, Tamara Lunger has dedicated herself to expeditions to the world’s highest peaks. The 30-year old sports student from South Tyrolia is the youngest woman to have reached the top of the Lhotse (8516 m) and in 2014 she became one of the few women to ever summit the 8611 m high K2 without using artificial oxygen. Her most difficult climb so far clearly was the winter expedition to the top of Nanga Parbat this past winter, which she had to discontinue only 70 m below the summit. Apart from Alpine expeditions Ultra Running is another passion of hers. Thus, she has gained varied experience in all aspects of the outdoor industry.
From early age on, Sebastian Wagner traveled to far away countries with the Boy Scouts, thus discovering his love for nature. The passion for globetrotting has captured him ever since, so much that he turned it into a career. After an education in tourism and Business Administration, he worked in Scandinavia and Latin America, before changing careers to sports retail, where he started off working on the sales floor. As manager of a mountain sports store he further increased his passion for functional, high-quality gear. Today, Sebastian Wagner works as head of the outdoor and mountain sports department at Sport Gruner in Constance.