Trend watching from this summer’s Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City.
I found the perfect fall cocktail party dress, but it wasn’t at Barney’s. It was at this summer’s Outdoor Retailer tradeshow in Salt Lake City. That was all the evidence I needed that the fusion of two concepts—“trails to cocktails” from Scott Yaeger of The Leisure Group and ”bye, bye outdoorsy, hello outsidey” from Frank Hugelmeyer, president of OIA (Outdoor Industry Association)—is the next big thing.
I heard those two phrases parsed repeatedly during the three days of the show, which featured the best for the sporting life. And while the first needs no explanation, I had to do a little work to get to the second.
Consider this: 80% of the population lives in cities. We want to work out. We want to trek. We want to climb and camp. And we want to look good. But what if we can get what we need with a short day trip, on our block or on our roofs? Yes, you can get a roof-top tent and sleep alongside the water tower.
What is clear is that if we can’t get to the mountain, we’ll turn pavement into the great outdoors merely by going to the great outside. And of course, being smart urbanites, we need the right clothes to get us there—and then to work or to play without a complete change.
New York City’s current love affair with its CitiBike program is all about being outsidey. That’s why you’ll need a Henty Wingman, the best bike garment bag out there, to keep suits or other dude-wear super safe and wrinkle-free.
Socks get lots of attention. The ones today are working triple-duty and getting so high tech they are practically programmed to maintain temperature. Keeping feet smelling sweet is a high priority, it seems. I particularly loved Dahlgren with its Dry-Stride technology and just like our phones, fabrics are getting smarter. Most impressive was the use of the textile, Celliant. This responsive textile technology modifies visible and infrared light, recycling them into energy that the body can use more effectively. If I love clothing with UV protection, this takes intelligent fiber—which actually helps the aging athlete with joints and muscles fight stiffness, soreness and swelling caused by aging, injury, or arthritis—to a higher level.
The whole urban super-style thing was championed by Gramicci. They kind of invented the mountain man meets barista hipster look when they debuted their iconic, high-performance climbing pants meets just tumbled out of bed tousled sexy alpine garb.
Brands focusing on women are where the growth is. Realizing that recording the big fish on social media happens whether you look good or not, these lines were created to keep babes looking sharp on Twitter or Facebook, even when a dripping mess. Maven Fly clothes is a first for a woman who is tired of boring gaiters or wants to look smart as she reels in the trout. I recommend the mesh super-sexy cami sports bra, which looks great under one of her shirts, unbuttoned just so. This look won’t go directly to night life, but there’s no trouble going to a Pearl District or Park Slope pub for a drink after, heading to lunch or even a casual business meeting. And, it’s guaranteed to drive the fish wild.
Stand-up paddleboarding has gone from two booths to practically its own pavilion, which indicates how popular its becoming. The dresses you can wear on them almost caused a stampede at the show. Fashion designer Kimberly Schamber, an avid paddle boarder herself, started SupMerge because of the need for versatility and to be social media camera ready. So, she created hydrophobic, quick-dry fabrics and with features such as oversized pockets and plenty of appeal. Accessorized correctly, you could step from the ocean into a beachy soirée, without skipping a beat.
And let’s not forget running skirts made by RunningSkirts, a company founded by twin sisters who also run. And Message Factory that takes clothes for hiking and biking in another direction.
The biggest fashion statement at the show was preparedness. I liked Life+Gear’s take on it. They make emergency items you can use every day. They’ve teamed up with major chains to plan for emergencies without shortages. No use looking cute in a blackout.
When I first heard about trails to cocktails, I adored the concept. After all, I’m always racing to a meeting from the gym and I’ve been fretting for years how to manage this with little sweat. But the phrase didn’t really come to life for me until I saw that dress. It’s called the Glinted Sun Dress, with a $200+ price tag, made by that genius Terry, who creates bikes and fabulous clothes for women. It’s a body-conscious wool blend garment with a spoke and chain worthy asymmetric hemline and a draped neckline. The ultimate multipurpose piece; throw a jacket or sweater over it and it works for power lunching. It’s a terrific look on its own out on the town. If this is what it means to be outsidey, I’m all for it.
Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health advocate, a globe-trotting trend watcher and the founder and president of Trent & Company, a New York-based marketing communications firm. Trent & Company grew out of Nancy’s personal commitment to helping people live longer and healthier lives. A former journalist for New York magazine, Nancy has written seven books on healthy lifestyles, serves on the editorial boards of several magazines and travels around the world speaking at conferences and trade shows on trends in the marketplace. She is a recognized expert in PR with more than 30 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns. Nancy can be reached at (212) 966-0024 or through e-mail at email@example.com. You may also visit www.trentandcompany.com.
Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, August 23, 2013