Holubar, the mountaineering brand, is making a play for the U.S. market.
The heritage outerwear brand, founded in 1946 in Colorado by Alice and Roy Holubar, who introduced the first lightweight down sleeping bags made with nylon fabric, hasn’t been active in the U.S. since the Eighties. It was purchased by John Wax in 1975 and acquired by The North Face in 1981 — they eventually stopped producing the brand.
An Italian group purchased it from The North Face at the end of the Nineties and introduced it to the European market in 2012. Now Fashion Box USA, a new business accelerator launched by Patrick Nebiolo, the former managing director of Woolrich Inc., has the North American license.
Nebiolo said the U.S. line will complement the European collection, but include products better suited for this market. It’s a fur-free collection that taps into the brand’s heritage but is fashion-conscious. He’s also aiming to not only produce parkas and mountain jackets, but items that can be worn throughout the year including knits, wovens and accessories.
According to Nebiolo, the collection will retail from $350 to $800 and builds on signature pieces like the mountain parka Robert De Niro wore in “The Deer Hunter.” He cited competitors including Canada Goose, Nobis and Fjällräven. The coats are made in Europe with German wool along with Italian and American fabrics. To pay homage to its founders, they’ve partnered with the Colorado Mountain Club on a coat that will feature the club’s name and logo — Roy Holubar was vice president of this organization during the Fifties.
In terms of distribution, Nebiolo is targeting independent boutiques, department stores and high-end sporting goods stores and chains. There are also plans to open its first store in New York this year.