Certain surf brand and skate brand identities have been built on cool factor, exclusivity, and style (both in fashion and smoothness of board riding). In the outdoor industry where this year marks the National Parks Service Centennial, a common sentiment is that everyone has a right to access the outdoors, and more time spent in the fresh air encourages a new generation to protect these natural spaces.
As more action sports brands comingle with outdoor retailers, or in some cases, celebrate outdoor as part of their brand DNAs, both industries can learn from each other. Surf and skate can lend the outdoors a little bit of cool kid factor, and the outdoor industry can contribute action sports brands their inclusive values.
The top women's trends seen on the show floor at the last Outdoor Retailer, held in Salt Lake City during July 26-29 reflected changing times and market crossovers: companies built on give-back missions and environmental responsibility, and the consumer demand for balancing functionality and style.
GIVE-BACK MISSIONS AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
Millenial founders followed in the footsteps of brands like Toms with give-back missions and Patagonia's commitment to sustainability, both of which are important values to the outdoor customer.
Indosole celebrated its 7th year of refashioning tires into shoe soles. This season the company introduced new silhouettes, such as an espadrille, and refined the fashion and fit on its signature sandals with better arch support, comfort and sleeker lines.
Martha's Vineyard, MA-based sunglasses brand Norton Point featured a range of frames made from recovered consumer ocean plastic and cases made out of recycled neoprene. The brand pledges to remove one pound of plastic from the ocean with every pair purchased.
Woolrich's Eco-Rich collection incorporates sustainable materials and recently became a Bluesign system partner. This jumper features organic cotton and a jacquard pattern from the company's archives.
United By Blue
United by Blue pledges to remove one pound of trash from the world's oceans and waterways for every product sold. From the 2017 line, women's highlights included a packable anorak in case of sudden inclement weather, a recycled polyester Polartec poncho for cozy campfire evenings, and a sleek saddle style camera bag.
INTERSECTION OF FUNCTION AND FASHION
On one extreme, sleeping bag manufacturers at Outdoor Retailer advertised their ultra lightweight technology in ounces as the top selling point. On the other hand, companies from the action sports sector put their forward fashion design on display for "front country" use.
Roxy balances everyday functional details in a stylish windbreaker and running short that features DWR coating, venting, media pocket and foldable hood. Leggings in recycled nylon feature UPF protection and open mesh behind the knees that provides ventilation and fun contrasting color and texture. New for 2017 was a capsule of lifestyle fashion sneakers featuring breathable, moisture-wicking and antimicrobial Ortholite foam footbed for extra cushioning, and textured rubber outsole for optimum traction while beach running, or everyday hanging out.
Seea showed at the Venture Out section of Outdoor Retailer for the first time. The brand’s signature surf suits and swimwear in original prints gained interest from outdoor accounts looking for stylish, made in the USA product that could be worn for SUP, kayaking, and other lake or river watersports.
Portland, OR-based Nau incorporated subtle performance features such as a knit dress featuring Tencel Sun fabric which provides UPF 40-50 protection by adding mineral based pigments to the fiber. The new DWR technology on jackets provides water repellancy without the use of PFCs that may be harmful to the environment.
Reef introduced a new women's waterproof leather sandals touting its Swellular technology (a contoured foam footbed, medium density molded foam midsole, and high-density sawtooth rubber traction outsole), lifetime guarantee, and on-trend luxe leather colors. Price points range from $65-$80.
The activewear company Lucy introduced Lucy Indigo featuring knit leggings and woven pants that had the hand feeling, fabric weight and performance properties of activewear, but the engineered prints resembled skinny jeans and jogger denim washes.
A women's zip-up Carve jacket for SUP or other watersports features a thicker polyester/spandex blend fabric to offer warmth while keeping the wearer dry from splashes.
Toad & Co
Anything that is packable, multipurpose and versatile for sudden weather was a win. Toad & Co’s pullover jacket and pants in lightweight stretch woven fabric could be packed into a small space.