Tuesday, 03. February 2015
Ski Fashion – THE SKIER’S NEW CLOTHES
- CROSSOVERS FOR WINTER
- NO SNOW REQUIRED
- LIGHTER, LESS RESTRICTIVE, TRENDIER
- FOCUS ON SUSTAINABILITY
Next season, most apparel that looks like it was made for skiing, has more to offer than just good looks on the slopes. Functions and appearance are becoming more versatile, and they can be used in more situations than what they were originally intended for, such as other sports and leisure activities.
An increasing number of manufacturers design their technical anoraks and pants, as well as softshell jackets, fleeces, turtlenecks and base layers to make them suitable for use even if there is no snow or weather conducive to winter sports. The latest styles feature everything from street wear elements to all-round functions, casual looks and urban spirit. This trend is reflected in jackets, parkas, as well as bomber jacket styles in muted colors like stone, dark and military green, anthracite as well as mélange looks. Prints resembling chunky knits, animal prints like snake or snow tiger, sometimes in unusual colors are common.
While the fashion segment tends to focus on multi-color designs, prints in matching, “quieter” shades, yet also fresh and vigorous colors, the more athletic skiers will enjoy designs in one up to a maximum of four colors in clean, bright shades. Color from head to toe, including beanies and helmets! Though the motto is “less is more” and bright colors are often combined with one piece in muted shades. Bright orange is the most favored color, add to that shades of green, deep dark blue and red for men. Women’s styles will include more feminine colors, such as light and royal blue, fresh mint, bright pink and deep violet. And neon? Might still be found on hoods, zippers or as an eye-catching accent on a label print.
If you like fashionable skiwear you can look forward to sporty luxury in the coming season—there are feminine as well as masculine versions. Jackets and pants are combined in multiple ways to create ever-changing looks. Jackets are loose and casual, pants are narrow and reminiscent of the 60ies, with close-fitting, soft stirrup or jet pants featuring cozy velour on the inside. Snow princesses will show off their shapes in the 2015/16 season. Glimmer and glamour abound: Swarovski stones, fine silver thread or lustrous fabrics reflect the sunlight. Even color-changing zippers draw the eye.
Extras for fashionistas—both for her and him—include embroideries, leather or faux leather elements, leather-backed labels, appliques and belts. Faux or real fur sets fashion accents. While “she” sets new fashion standards with finely quilted materials, stretchy waist cuffs and asymmetric elements, “he” stages his appearance with large, urban-style cargo pockets on pants, or parka-style ski jackets. Relaxed styles that don’t appear like ski jackets, their actual function, when used as a casual outdoor jacket with attached fur accents while talking a winter walk with baby stroller and dog.
While the new season favors long and relaxed style, though they are miles apart from the XXL and baggy looks of the last years, an increasing number of highly stretchable and ultra-comfortable slim fit pants begin to conquer the slopes. Racing-oriented, partly conservative looks à la Steve McQueen, Barbour, motorcycle and striped accents of the Vespa generation also play a role. Rougher, more masculine fabrics are not unusual, but that Scandic design and race look are a must.
Jeans are also in trend for next winter, both for pants and jackets. Though they feature unusual qualities, some of them washed out and modified to such a degree that even hour-long rain and snow storms cannot curb the cozy comfort.
Despite all the exterior characteristics and special features the new sportswear has to function well, even be intelligent. The focus is on high-quality, technical materials whose features—softer, lighter, more breathable—are not visible at first glance. For example, there are down products that have been treated in such a way that they can be used on the slope, but are just as suitable for an urban environment thanks to their low-key look. The lightweight, warm outfits, preferably made with ethically sourced down, only slightly resemble the Michelin Man if experts undertake extreme ski tours and require the highest possible degree of protection. All others from beginners to ambitious skiers, free riders and touring enthusiasts in particular, enjoy the low pack weight and excellent insulation/weight ratio. According to the motto: less loft on the hip showing more waist. This applies, for example, to a new, completely taped, waterproof shell made of three-layer Gore-Tex laminate with an integrated liner jacket made of nylon and filled with goose down.
Lighter and thinner ski outfits protect against wind and weather with the help of sensibly selected layers according to the “onion principle”. Including those that can be folded into a small package and stowed in a pocket when not needed. In addition to ultra-light jackets made of down, Primaloft and mixtures of both, weighing about as much as a chocolate bar, the trend covers knee-length, insulating overpants, skirts and vests, packable in small bags or special containers to be ready for use at a moment’s notice, day and night.
Hybrid outfits continue to conquer the market. Combinations of a variety of functional materials (hard- with softshell, a variety of stretch fabrics, down, Primaloft, Merino, fleece or knit) merge just about every speck of expertise available on the market today. Highlights among the multi-function talents are combinations of down/Primaloft with stretch. There is also an innovative mix with Gore-Tex, Windstopper, Polartec, a Schoeller hi-tech material, with added Tyrolean wool and Merino wool, all used in Salewa’s Seswenna ski touring jacket and pants. The new 12-way stretch combinations feature flexible upper fabrics as well as membranes and linings; add to this ceramic membranes and phase chance material (PCM). Unlined Gore-Tex models and a new 3-D knit technology for fleece fabrics, like that by Toray, make everything even lighter. The Japanese fleece concept’s new structure is not just 50 percent lighter than conventional fleece, but stores 20 percent more body heat.
Athletic ski enthusiasts particularly demand flexibility. This applies especially to the rapidly growing group of freeride touring fans who enjoy their sport on conventional runs, in the backcountry or on foot or skins in a variety of off-piste terrain. Their outfits have to offer protection as well as suitable breathability, in addition to sensible ventilation systems, high collars, high-cut pants and (multi-)adjustable, helmet-compatible hoods, and most of all, complete freedom of movement. In addition to highly flexible, longer and narrower shapes there is a requirement for important details to make the outfit compatible with airbag backpacks. Shoulder seems are eliminated, functions like ventilation zippers or lower pant pockets for use under parka-style anoraks remain accessible. Pockets feature generously sized Velcro fasteners that can be opened while wearing gloves. Next on the agenda are anoraks made from one pattern or one single piece.
Since function plays an enormously important role especially for highly aerobic physical activities, the new, versatile Primaloft Silver insulation active, a soft, compressible and water-repellant insulation material comes into play. It successfully removes excessive body heat and moisture to ensure a dry feeling while exercising. Thus it is ideal for year-round use, to avoid having to put on or take off individual layers depending on the conditions. Another new material is Gore-Tex C-Knit. This is a three-layer laminate combination of Gore-Tex membrane and upper fabric with a very thin, dense and light insulation material made of knit jersey material. It is supple and soft, very breathable and thus suitable even for long trekking or hiking tours. In addition, we can look forward to Polartec Power Wool. The new next-to-skin fabric made of wool facing the skin and synthetic fibers facing outside and its patented construction ably cope with the ever-changing demands created by changing terrain and conditions. Hot or cold, wet or dry—whether during a sweat-producing ascent putting a lot of pressure on moisture management or when protection against the cold is needed during a downhill run.
In terms of extended life cycles and sustainability an increasing number of manufacturers use up to 100 percent post-recycling and recyclable polyester fabrics. The new selection includes PFC-free impregnated hardshell ski jackets and pants. Fluor-carbon-free three-layer hardshell combinations provide plenty of uncompromising functions, and innovative DWR finishes protect against dirt and wetness. Completely new is a Dermizax membrane made of plant-based resources. Toray, the inventor, combines the plant-based high performance membrane Dermizax with another plant-based nylon upper in its Ecodear laminates using a special 3-D technology. Dyed without a single drop of water—from the outer to the inner layer—the new DryDye process saves water and chemicals and is used for peak performance products. And finally, cork appears in softshell jackets and pants for winter sports. Corkshell by Schoeller is considered a sustainable, eco-friendly alternative, because the material is sourced from a by-product of wine cork production. Outfits using this material insulate well, are water and wind-proof and highly flexible.
ISPO MUNICH 2015 is open from February 5 to 8, 2015 at Messe München. For more information on ISPO MUNICH as well as the complete side event program, please click on munich.ispo.com