NEW YORK — The ski industry is getting a shot of fashion glam for fall, as companies team with big-name designers to create special collections.
Burton Snowboards is collaborating with British designer Sir Paul Smith, Moncler has tapped Balenciaga’s Nicolas Ghesquière and Ski Rossignol has joined with design house Emilio Pucci and its creative director Christian Lacroix for its newest line.
“It’s interesting when two companies work together who you wouldn’t expect to come together,” said Greg Dacyshyn, Burton’s vice president and creative director of product. “Burton and Paul Smith bring different things to the line, and so far we have really enjoyed the creative process of this.”
The ski industry by and large has been slow to adapt to wider fashion trends, and apart from a few notable exceptions such as Prada and Ralph Lauren’s RLX line, the category hasn’t seen an influx of designer entrants. Ski apparel sales overall have been tepid and more difficult in women’s. In specialty and chain stores, total adult snowsports apparel sales increased to $715 million in the 2003-2004 season from $677 million in 2002-2003, according to trade organization SnowSports Industries America.
But in recent seasons, ski looks have been getting more fashionable, and next fall may be the trendiest yet on the slopes. At the recent ISPO outdoor apparel show in Munich, new fashion messages included cropped jackets, fluffy fur collars and a variety of form-fitting looks.
Stascha Kaelin, co-owner of Kaelin, which has a high-end sport store in Aspen, Colo., and in Newport Beach, Calif., noted that more fashion-forward and traditional ski firms are increasing their style quotient. Bogner is well-known for its flair and has a range of bold and bright looks for fall, while more traditional ski firms, such as Obermeyer and Nils, are adding more color and pizzazz, she said.
Kaelin has already bought the Rossignol Pucci line and said she welcomed the designer additions.
“It’s really good for the industry to have these new collaborations,” she said. “For our customers, it’s a dessert. It’s something different and everyone wants something new.”
Ski companies, similar to activewear collaborations such as Adidas and Stella McCartney and Puma and Neil Barrett, are getting fresh ideas from designers known for pushing the envelope.
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