BURTON READY TO RING IN NEW YEAR
Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg
NEW YORK — Burton isn’t about to roll the dice in Vegas.
Instead of waiting for SnowSports Industries of America’s trade show in Las Vegas next month, Burton is showcasing its winter 2002 goods in New York’s trendy SoHo neighborhood.
Burton executives have been talking up their cutting-edge, colorful gear this week in a makeshift showroom at 30 Van Dam Street. Looking more like a lounge than a place of business, the setup has “A Dog” — the brand’s resident deejay warming up for this weekend’s X Games by spinning Mushroom Jazz and other types of underground trip-hop.
Visitors have also been able to view Radar, a new line of women’s snowboarding apparel; Anon, a new label of performance-oriented eyewear; Gravis, an expanded footwear and accessories line for alternative sports enthusiasts, and The Socket, boots with inner sock-like boots that give riders greater flexibility.
Radar consists of eight jackets, five pants and a vest, with jackets retailing from $150 to $400. The name should be a nod to female consumers that Burton has them on its screen and recognizes them as an important part of their business, a Burton spokeswoman said.
Radar is the latest addition to Burton’s lineup, which consists of OSI, basic looks with a shot of style; Formula, a more performance-oriented group, and AK, a top-of-the-line performance group.
Burton continues to have some fun with naming products and design. The OSI group, for example, stands for Office of Scientific Investigation, the fictional agency where Lindsay Wagner’s “Bionic Woman” character worked on the Seventies TV series.
The design of Bindings borrows from such diverse objects as Ducati’s “Monster Black” motorcycle and “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Prints are equally inventive, with one jacket’s circular pattern resembling Wonder Bread packaging.
Olympic snowboarder Shannon Dunn has designed a new “Free Ride” snowboard with a butterfly, plant and other unusual motifs. She also waxed poetic and wrote a poem about snowboarding that will be packaged with the board.
Even Burton’s new accessories are decorated with unusual touches. A pair of women’s white mittens with inner gloves are imprinted with “Burton Mission Control” on one side, and what looks like an aerial shot of the Manhattan skyline on the palms. Not just for show, the mittens have a finish on the palms so that riders can hold on to their boards while doing stunts.
For 2002, Burton has also designed a snowboard equipped with a computer chip. The device will be used by retailers for warranty purposes, but police officers could also use them to return stolen snowboards to their owners, a Burton spokesman said. The chips could eventually replace the need for lift tickets, since payment information could be scanned from the chips instead of having an attendant look at a lift pass, he said.
More geared for the streets than the mountains, Gravis is a collection of skateboard-type casual footwear, bags and T-shirts. Unlike the Burton brand, which is performance-oriented, Gravis is travel-oriented. There are plans to add women’s apparel next year.
Gravis is part of Burton’s plan to introduce secondary labels separate from the brand. Gravis is also based in Burlington, Vt., but it has its own staff and facility.
Visitors to the Burton showroom also got a glimpse of the brand’s snowdeck, a skateboard-sized device geared for the snow. Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk is expected to help the company spin them at this weekend’s X Games at Mt. Snow, Vt.