Shawn Foster, Head Designer:
What are the three biggest trends you see shaping the market and what you are doing to meet them?
1) TAILORING: Not only has sizing slimmed down over the past couple seasons but we have seen a big movement (especially among rail gods ala Louif Paradis) to ride in anything that doesn’t look like a snowboarding garment. Taking nips & tucks here and there make all the difference not only in how each garment looks, but also in how it functions – creating the perfect mix of function and fashion. Bonfire’s revised “Tailored Fit” addresses this trend – giving kids who don’t want to look like they’re wearing “snowboarding outerwear” something to wear that will still keep them warm & dry. Slim in the sleeves, waists and legs, jackets and pants are tailored to fit just right. We fit our garments on a wide variety of people to make sure they are flattering on most and functional on all.
2) FEATURES: Kids want to look good, but more than that, they want a place to put their cell phones & ipods. Bonfire’s new line has functional pockets & features for all needs – from the “Clear View Media Pocket” for all media needs, to the new double-feature “Quick Connect Goggle Bag/Chamois” with dual pkts for both goggles & extra lenses, our line is fully stocked with shred specific pockets & features.
3) COLOR NOT PRINTS: Printed fabrics have fallen to the way-side in a big way this season, only to be replaced with color. Colorblocking, color-striping, color-pops here and there and (thankfully) just plain ‘ol, solid color. It was a long hard road coming full circle, but we made it. A good print is always a good print – we still had to have a few represented for those markets that are still into them – but color is easy and timeless.
What are the biggest changes in the outerwear market you’re seeing for this winter on the business front?
Versatility is good value. Bad economy equals less money spent on the retail market. Making snowboarding specific outerwear versatile for everyday use is key in this economy. The 11/12 Bonfire line has strong street appeal for use at school, work or around town, still with technical features & performance that will keep the user warm and dry in the craziest of storms on the hill.
What fabrics, colors, and technologies are you focusing on for next season?
FABRICS-Return to classics. Ripstop, Faille, Oxford, Canvas and Twill – these are the original five fabrics used for outdoor protection. Although we do have a few novelty fabrics – including stretch twill, herringbone and plaid – we are returning Bonfire to classics.
COLORS-Bright, saturated color is still in the line – but is now being paired up with Foundation Colors such as Leather Brown, Iron Grey and Sand Tan. The trend is heading into more chill waters – away from the gem tones of last season – into the earthtones we saw when snowboarding first became a sport. Bright color will be used mostly in solid garments and linings.
TECHNOLOGIES-PFOA Free DWR is the future. Bonfire has transitioned nearly the whole line into PFOA Free DWR and will continue to do so in future seasons. This initiative falls under our G.I.F.T. (Green Initiative For Tomorrow) Project. Another project we are working on is educating consumers on how to keep their outerwwear longer – this being the ultimate “green initiative”. We will collaborate with Granger’s Detergent to have single packs of special soap to revive the DWR on outerwear. Safety in our Kid’s collection is also another thing we have spent time focusing on.
What are pricepoints doing?
Holding steady. In general, consumers seem to want to pay less for snowboarding gear than ski gear, making it really tough to keep up with market demands AND keep quality/performance up to Bonfire standards. Even though the economy is down, our quality and pricing will remain steady to ride the downturn out.
How have you responded to the current market and the decrease in prebooks?
One of our goals for 11/12 was to expand our “BSC Collection” of product – this is our 3-season collection that is offered on a Back-to-School timeline. We believe layering is a key compliment to our outerwear line, so each piece is designed as Mid-Layer OR to fully function on its own (spring/summer shredding) with DWR coating, hoods, light insulation, media pkts etc. You will see complimentary color and fabric to easily merchandise with the outerwear and accessories, along with fair price points.