The Outdoor show in Friedrichshafen is not one of the biggest shows on the trade show calendar, much smaller than ISPO and squeezed between the weeks of Bread and Butter and Pitti Uomo Men it is perhaps overlooked by many, even though it is one of the most intimate, spontaneous and friendliest of all the trade shows to visit. As such it can often be more inspiring than some of the larger shows. Between July 10th and July 13th Outdoor 2015 showed the best of all the key outdoor apparel and equipment brands, from Vibram to Vango, and encompassing product as diverse as navigation and rescue technologies to aquatic clothing. Especially now with the huge movement towards sportswear, as featured in Trendillustrated’s Sportlux trend forecast, Outdoor is a great place to find new ideas and fresh input, not just for sports related product but also for casual and luxury fashion brands, where I saw more than one, clearly non-outdoor fashionista, scribbling and taking in all there was to see. Outdoor also has amongst other things, a whole hall dedicated to just tents, aptly called “Tent City” as well as areas dedicated to canoeing, climbing, camping, backpacking and fishing so with all that high-tech wizardry it’s quite literally a breath of fresh air.
In their Trend Hall for Spring-Summer 2015, Outdoor showed four main themes: Mountaineering, City Life and Travel, Hiking and Trekking, and Trail Running (which included Orienteering, Fast Hiking and Speed Cross Country), with Trail Running and Trekking in particular, featuring as central trend themes in almost all brands collections for 2015.
Versatility and Hybrid Designing.
As the range of sporting activities broadens and more people take to challenging, multifaceted activities, it should come as no surprise that one of the other main trends in both product and material was versatility. Many brands delivered hybrid designed product which could be used in a variety of conditions as well as for a variable degree of different activities. This included Jack Wolfskin’s Exolight texapore Jacket, which combined two different softshell fabrics in one garment; Texapore softshell Air+ for the main body and Texapore Hyproof, as a reinforcement fabric where required. Another example of this versatility is British brand Berghaus’s line of Hyper products, in which the products are designed for running, mountain biking and virtually any other outdoor, hyper aerobic activity. The garments are extremely lightweight, as well as waterproof, wind-resistant and breathable. The highlight here was the Berghaus’s Hyper Smock, which won the OutDoor (and Ispo) Gold award for the worlds lightest waterproof jacket, weighing in at only 76g.
In addition to Versatility and Hybrid Design the other key theme was Outdoor-Urban fusion, which sees the ongoing synthesis of Outdoor product into an urban environment and the merging of fashion, sport and city life. More and more people are either taking part in outdoor activities or are adopting outdoor garments into their urban style. The Sporting and Outdoor worlds are becoming increasingly attractive to a fashion consumer and at the same time the fashion consumer and fashion brand are moving in a more sporty direction. For the many people who live in an urban environment it is maybe just the aspiration of experience and adventure which appeals, as often the only opportunity they may get to visit the outdoors is at the weekend. This major trend will continue to see functional garments worn as street fashion, as well as further collaborations between Fashion Designers and Sportswear brands, such as the recent collaboration between Rick Owens and Adidas which saw him design a line of running shoes, or Bernhard Willhelm’s earlier hiking inspired collection for Camper.
Finally the other major trend at Outdoor 2015 was Sustainability. This is a long term, ongoing trend which is rooted in the instinctive outdoor mentality for the preservation of the natural environment. This has led several brands to generate natural fibers which have technical functions. The best example of this was Tripletwo, a German brand, which since 1994 has been producing mountain bike and outdoor gear with a casual look, under the strictest ecological and sustainable standards. Other innovations were Jack Wolfskin’s Function 65, a PFC-free fabric which is manufactured in an ecologically unobjectionable way and Vaude’s Crox jacket, which uses a 100% PFTE-free ceplex, wind and waterproof membrane.