After more than a year in development, and part of Founder and CEO Bob McKnight's lifetime vision for Quiksilver, the brand is rolling out a new outdoor-inspired outerwear line to debut its newly formed "Mountain Division." The initial launch, which officially take place at this week's Outdoor Retailer (OR) in Salt Lake City, where the brand's efforts will be 90% focused on the new line, gives buyers their first look at Fall 2012's 17 men's jackets, including goose down puffies; 10k , 5k, and 3k rain coats, shells, and city jackets; and DWR soft shells.
With a mountain-city savvy look, the new line is Quiksilver's take on outdoor gear's functions married with a look that translates from the Appalachian Trail to the Portland fixie crowd.
"Bob [McKnight] has always had this vision to make everything you need for everything you want to do – you shouldn't have to go to other brands just because you're doing other activities," says Senior Vice President Quiksilver Design Matt Anderson, who handles apparel and accessories in addition to the Mountain Division.
"It's outdoor with a different point of view," continues Anderson from a showroom in Quiksilver's newest building at its Huntington Beach, California headquarters (follow the jump for a quick tour of the new facility and employee store). "It's more fashion forward, action sports inspired styling—you don't want to always look like you're camping when you're in the mountains and the elements."
The Mountain Division is completely separate from Quiksilver Snow, designed to help round out the brand's offerings, and make it a true four-season company, as well as broaden its appeal across demographics from the slopes, to the streets, and back to the beaches—basically everywhere its devotees from one sport can be found following other passions. From camping, to the river, and out on boat trips, Mountain Division is designed to add the Quiksilver touch to what has traditionally been the playground of outdoor-focused brands like Patagonia, The North Face, Cloudveil and others.
"Obviously we have our snowboarding gear, but we hadn't fully addressed the cold weather component of our business before," says John Mills, Quiksilver's senior vice president for sales. "We saw a real opportunity to bring functional gear with technical properties and our unique spin. Our target customer currently wears other brands for those needs because Quiksilver hasn't been there."
Mountain Division will be sold through Quiksilver's traditional core retailers and sporting goods shops where it will be displayed in the outdoor section, and it also offers the brand an opportunity to target the specialty outdoor channel—a group of retailers that is increasingly looking to broaden its base due to an aging demographic and a multitude of competitive pressures.
The product features subtle color hits, subdued branding, and a color palette from classic outdoor gear, as well as the technical features, waterproofing, and action-sports inspired stylings of Quiksilver's heritage. The first line is a soft launch focused solely on competitively priced jackets. Ladies, sorry, but you'll have to wait as the first launch is all for the gents, but Quik will be looking at expanding the line for its 2013 Spring, Fall, and Holiday lines, hinting at plans of expanding not just to women's, but also bottoms and other apparel based on the initial response and so far it's looking good. Reps have received samples and have been showing them to key accounts and according to Designer Eric Williamson, "all the riders, reps, and accounts have been really amped."
Here’s a sneak peek of the line:
Follow the jump for a tour of Quiksilver’s new building and employee store.