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Ispo 2015: more fashion, function & sustainability

By Simone Preuss


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Good vibes despite a difficult winter: at the just concluded Ispo Munich, the sports industry demonstrated its optimism for the next winter season through new, innovative products and well frequented exhibition halls. More than 2,500 exhibitors from 50 countries and 80,000 professional visitors from more than 100 countries visited the fair that once again was fully booked.

As many fashionable collections as never before at Ispo

It has not been easy for the sports industry this winter. A warm autumn, a late winter and the resulting early discount wars spoiled the margins for many retailers, especially in the areas of winter sports hardware and ski and snowboard clothing. Because even the previous winter had been a real challenge, an important topic at the fair was how manufacturers and retailers can react to climate change and changing customer behaviour. One of the goals for the future is more flexibility and better start timings into the season so that the actual winter weather and the sale of winter sports products are a better match.

By focusing more on fashion, the industry is already becoming less dependent on snow conditions. Fashion does not only include stylish sportswear outfits but also an extension of casual looks, with or without technical benefits. Never before have there been as many fashionable collections at the fair – even the high-tech ski and outdoor brands showed increasingly fashion-inspired looks.

There seemed to be an understanding that technical features do not necessarily have to be visible. On the contrary, one can barely recognise the technical features in many a high-end jacket. Starting from the fabric, whose look and grip has to feel more and more "natural". Many melange fabrics, jacquards and washed-out looks showed up in the technical collections so that their wearers do not only look good when engaging in sporting activities but also when being out about town. Much wool has been used, often with synthetic additions that improve function and do not affect comfort.

The new c-knit laminate by Gore-Tex is softer, gentler and more comfortable than the previous 3-layer laminates thanks to its knitted reverse side. But Sympatex, in cooperation with Ploucquet, takes the cake. Both developed a jacket under the label "wearable technology" whose push buttons have been fitted with small, invisible LED lights, equipping the simple jacket with a heating and communication system. Overall, wearable technology is undergoing a comeback. In terms of colours, wasabi dominated for men and bordeaux for women - mainly in combination with muted greys, browns and greens or vivid pinks and pastel colours.

When it comes to playing with different materials, surfaces and structures, sportswear is on par with fashion. Shiny and matt fabrics, 3D structures and padded looks with new quilted patterns are part of many collections. Odlo for example places emphasise on padded quilt characteristics by Merino Baselayern and introduced padded cycle pants with Primaloft and a padded running dress. Others complement their technical collections through new casual styles like Swiss premium ski brand Mountain Force, combining high-tech merino pants with hoodies and cashmere pullovers.

The same trend can be observed in the areas of snowboard and outdoor wear: O’Neill realised years ago the importance of functional urbanwear and offers trendy parkas with good water resistance. For Bogner's new high-tech line B Tec by Bogner, a different path was chosen by introducing it at Ispo Premiere.

Many brands have also worked on finding new solutions when it comes to sustainability. Thus, many collections will do without harmful PFOAs in the future, among them Jack Wolfskin, Houdini, Fjällräven and Didriksons. More and more brands also support the Traceable Down project, which procures downs without harming animals.

Last but not least, raw materials is another area with exciting innovations, for example schoeller Corkshell made of recycled wine corks or Toray's new plant-based laminate that can be combined with its plant-based nylon, introduced a few seasons ago, to form a completely sustainable product.

Written by Regina Henkel, translated by Simone Preuss

Photos: Ispo

ispo 2015
Ispo Munich