I’ve been talking about getting “outsidey” since the summer Outdoor Retailer Show, thanks to Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the Outdoor Industry Association. As predicted, a lot more people are talking about it, too. They are talking about when it comes to fitness, food, fashion, furniture and other categories that touch our everyday, indoor lifestyles. This brings great opportunity to the outdoor industry. It’s time to start thinking about how our brands can make a cultural difference.
There were some major shifts noticed at the Outdoor Retailer show, January 22–25, 2014 in Salt Lake City.
It’s in the Weave
Outdoor fabric is going both more natural and high-tech at the same time. Fashion took a cue from fitness years ago with the introduction of technologies that wick moisture, cool you down or warm you up. Now, outdoor is taking its cue from fashion. Pow is making gloves of goat leather and Minus33, a division of L.W. Packard, brings the quality of natural Merino Wool to outdoor enthusiast.
Meanwhile, Celliant, a scientifically tested textile technology, is being added to more fashion items and accessories to do even more. It’s the first and only fabric that actually recycles your body’s energy. Just as infrared saunas are proven to have positive effects on the body, the fabric does, as well, including increased circulation, increased tissue oxygen levels and body temperature regulation. It can even help with muscle stiffness, soreness and swelling. The healing minerals are already sewn directly into the weave of the fabric so it can’t wash out. A new ski jacket stuffed with allied feathers and covered in Celliant Fabric makes it product of the year. Move over HeatTech!
I’m grateful to see that so many companies are focusing on the look and feel of fabric in addition to its characteristics. Tasc Performance did a great job of solving the polyester problem with soft and strong bamboo fabric that makes moving feel better.
I also loved all the traditional designer looks built for brutal outdoor accommodations like the coats and jackets from Good Shot and Filson. I’m impressed with Mountain Khakis, which are built for basecamp, but look sleek enough for the boardroom.
I’m thrilled to see more SPF protection across the board and hope this continues to make its way into every style of fashion.
Keeping Track and Giving Back
Everything is traceable and traceable now. GlobalStar introduced several tracking devices so you can beat your best. Performance is not all that’s being tracked now. Brands in this category are showing more transparency, which every industry should start doing more of. MiiR showed an impact bracelet that allows you to track water wells built with supportyour purchase. Icebreakers has a "BaaCode" that shows you the sheep who made your great-looking apparel. Sole collected cork from Whole Foods Markets and other retailers to make its footbeds and sandals. Coalatee does a fantastic job of building a happy and sustainable business. There are a lot of new certifications like Oliberté's first free trade certified shoe factory.
I was thrilled to see that any company that was touting "Made in America." I hope this industry keeps up the effort and support our great domesticity.
Focus on Feet
Footbed construction is finally getting more attention in and out of shoes. Sole makes customizable footbed a reality without orthopedics so everyone can benefit from walking in the perfect fit.
Jambu makes shoes to better handle icy, slippery conditions. If you want to take walking in winter one step further, Tubbs has snow shoes great for urban snowshoeing. SnowXu even has collapsible snow shoes.
For warmer months, Luna Sandals by Barefoot Ted makes open footwear with extra secure strapping for the trail or the street.
Inventive Fun and Safety
I would love to try out Brand 44 Colorado’s Slackers Zipline the next time I’m in a backyard big enough to swoosh through.
I can’t wait to zip around New York in a new laptop vehicle – a personal portable
–electric device that drives like a cross between rollerblades and a unicycle.
If you want a little lift, you can always take a hit of Oxygen Plus (O+) portable, recreational canned oxygen flavors.
You might also want to carry some healing tape and ice towels that Mueller introduced in case of emergency.
When you’re outdoors, you are on the go. And when you're on the go, you need a little help carrying your belongings and items needed to get by.
When it comes to survival food, the most delicious snack is Salmon Jerkey that comes in three flavors from Brooklyn Acme.
PacSafe luggage has anti-theft locks that protect your valuables as you get from one place to the next.
A Balanced Lifestyle
We try to get outdoors as much as possible, but a balanced lifestyle isn’t just about making time for business and pleasure. Ski racer Louis Stack, creator of the Active Office, spent 30 years promoting balance and is bringing his balancing act indoor and out with a collection of new balancing products from FitterFirst.
A trend that we would be remiss without mentioning is avalanche safety and the ramifications of that. There is a lot of new equipment out there but manufactures must be responsible in making consumers aware that avalanches kill people every year and equipment might save lives but even if they are responsible, the very best equipment might not be enough.
So explore and get out there but bed educated, have good equipment and be very responsible.
About the Author
Nancy Trent is the founder and president of Trent & Company, Inc., a global marketing communications firm that is focused on healthy lifestyles. A former journalist for New York magazine and seasoned PR veteran, Nancy’s firm specializes in developing innovative, effective awareness-building campaigns for companies that are ready to take their businesses to the next level. Staffed by a team of former journalists and PR veterans who think strategically and act proactively, her organization serves as an idea factory, generating
story ideas for the media, and sales, marketing and promotion ideas to build clients’ revenue streams. Working with industry pioneers and promising start-ups, Nancy and her team of experienced professionals create trends that are often ahead of the curve and generate media coverage for clients at the grass roots, regional, national and international levels. She is the author of seven books, serves on the editorial boards of influential trade publications, and regularly speaks at major conferences and trade shows around the world. Nancy can be reached at (212) 966-0024 or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit www.trentandcompany.com or her blog The Trent TrendSpotter at http://trenttrendspotter.tumblr.com/.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine Online, 2/13/14