Sleek? Fashion forward, for skiing and snowboarding?
In this humid, steamy weather, visions of fluffy snow beckons heat-oppressed minds away to wintry locales. And, recently the fashion industry understood how to capitalize on the heat wave by presenting winter fashions that conjure up images of ski slopes and winter wonderlands.
Fashion labels that cater to the snow and ski set have transformed the snow scene by combining up to the minute fashion with the latest fabrics and technical details that promise to keep snow lovers warm and dry but at the same time very fashion forward.
“What I love about what we’re seeing is that it’s fun. You don’t have to leave the fashion behind just because you’re skiing. Fashion sometimes is so somber. But what we’re seeing (in ski wear) is that you can really have fun,” said SNOW magazine publisher Barbara Sanders. “The fabrics are part of the fun now. We’re seeing super high tech fabrics like Gore-Tex, PrimaLoft, Thinsulate all being used in new ways.
“And now what we’re seeing is that the ski and après ski wear can double as part of your regular winter wardrobe. People want pieces they can wear wherever they are so we’re seeing pieces that will look great whether you’re in New York City or on the slopes in St. Moritz. “
At the SNOW Fashion NYC show, 17 companies used runway fashion shows to show off some of what’s coming for next winter in ski wear and après ski wear du
While fashion was at the forefront of the event, the Snow Fashion NYC show was also a window into a billion-dollar apparel market. According to statistics from Snowsports Industries America:
- In 2011-12, of the $1.8 billion in ski and snowboarding related purchases made, 34 percent or almost $620 million was spent on apparel, slightly more than the amount spent on equipment
- In 2011-12, overall spending on ski and snowboarding related purchases was down, but apparel represented a larger percentage of spending than in the previous two years.
- In 2011-12, ski and snowboarding apparel comprised 51 percent of all online purchases for ski and snowboarding.
AT the Snow Fashion NYC show, the varied offerings included everything from colorful fun fur jackets and coats from Gorski to a variety of shiny nylon clothing including a shiny hot pink quilted skirt and jacket ensemble from Snow Sugar. Even more traditional fabrics were given modern twists of styling or color such as a shearling bathrobe coat from Ugg and plaid cargo ski pants including some in a pale yellow from SOS.
Some of the most innovative pieces came from Skea, which showed a jacket made with a 3-D hologram finished nylon as well as plenty of pieces in shiny and ultra-bright colors.
“It’s fun, it’s wild. People want something different. When the sun hits that 3-D effect, it’s really cool and fun,” said Skea owner Diane Boyer, explaining the inspiration for the hologram material.
“But the 3-D hologram pieces are still serious garments made for the rigors of fun in the snow,” she said.
“It’s a super soft waterproof stretch breathable fabric and then we insulate it with down and cover it in metallic 3-D fabric,” she explained. “It’s a fabrication that can work just as well in the city but it works for ski and snowboarding.”
As for the shiny Skea ski pants, Boyer said they reflect another industry trend —lightweight pieces that offer heavy duty protection from the elements.
“These pants use 40 grams of Thinsulate but they’re extremely windproof and waterproof,” she said. “If you cut the pants right and have the right insulation you can still look sleek. You don’t have to look like the Michelin man to be warm.”
Ole Damm, who acquired the venerable ski brand SOS earlier this year, said finding unique twists to the fabric used for the line was an important way for the line to stand out.