Frow where do we get the next generation of Designers

Read on page 22. on Autumn 2014



Outdoor Review reports on local and global news and the game changing issues that impact on our world from all of the diverse angles and aspects of the outdoor industry; a forum for opinion and ideas, a vehicle for debate and a venue to share learning that can be of mutual benefit to us all





The Cleanest Line: Patagonia’s Plastic Packaging – A study on the challenges of garment delivery

Patagonia’s Plastic Packaging – A study on the challenges of garment delivery

By Nellie Cohen & Elissa Loughman


Patagonia’s finished goods factories package each individual product we make in a polybag. Some of our direct customers (people who order from our catalog or Patagonia.com) have expressed disappointment in the amount of waste generated by polybags. This customer feedback inspired us to investigate ways to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated from Patagonia’s product packaging.

Editor’s note: The tone of today’s post is a bit formal due to its origins as an internal case study. It’s a good look into the workings of our company and the challenging decisions we’re faced with as we try to balance customer satisfaction with environmental impact.

In order to evaluate how Patagonia can reduce plastic in our supply chain we conducted several tests at our Distribution Center (DC) and surveyed our customers. Through this study, we determined that polybags are critical to insuring that garments stay clean from the finished goods factory through the DC. If we eliminated the use of polybags, garments would be damaged, resulting in both financial and environmental costs. Energy, water and resources are used to make each product and we want them to be worn. A damaged product that is unwearable has a far greater environmental cost than manufacturing a polybag.

We invite you to read on to see our progress in examining this area of our distribution process and how we’re working through potential ways to lessen our impact going forward, while making sure our products reach you undamaged.

Above: A look inside the Patagonia DC in Reno, Nevada. Products are picked in the warehouse, sent to packing stations and then to outbound mail via conveyor belts. This system allows us to ship packages with the greatest efficiency, especially during busy periods like sales and holidays. All photos: Nellie Cohen



Each Patagonia product we sell is packaged in a polybag at the finished goods factory and arrives at our DC in cartons. The boxes that arrive from the factories are often broken, torn, or open upon arrival. This exposes finished products to dirt, moisture and damage.

The polybag protects the product from becoming dirty or damaged at the factory, during transit to the DC and while the product is stored, processed and packed at the DC. Additionally, the polybags keep stored products clean in the wholesale and retail environments.

It is essential for the product to remain protected in each of these supply chain steps. Currently, Patagonia does not have specific requirements for the size and type of polybags used by our finished goods factories and the polybags in use do not contain recycled content. Despite the functionality of polybags, they are perceived as waste by many customers and employees.


Shipping journeys can be perilous.


Polybags protect our products even if the box is damaged in transit.



Summary of Objectives & Results

Objective: Determine if it is possible to completely eliminate the use of polybags without incurring damage to products that would make them unsellable.

Result: Products were damaged when they were run through the shipping system in Reno without a polybag. In our experiments, about 30% of garments that went through the system without polybags were damaged beyond the point of being sellable. This indicated that it is not possible to process products in the Reno DC without polybags.


Test: We ran 40 unbagged, tied products through the Reno picking system in order to measure the damage incurred. All of the products were returns from the retail stores in pristine condition with hang tags attached. We folded and tied each of the 40 products with paper ribbon and placed the pick labels on both the product and the hang tag to determine where it was most effective.


Taking the ride.


17 of 40 products (42.5%) fell out of the tie by the time they arrived at the packing station.


12 of 40 products (30%) showed visible signs of damage and dirt by the time they reached the packing station.


We also found the placement of the pick label to be a challenge. We placed the pick labels on both the product and the hang tag to determine where it was most effective. The pick label did not stick to 12 of the 40 materials. In a real product order, the pick label cannot be placed on the hang tag because it will cover up the bar code for the product that must also be scanned in the outbound product packing process.



Objective: Determine if paper mailers are effective shipping containers in order to eliminate the use of plastic mailers.

Our current plastic mailers are made of 40% post-consumer waste (PCW) content and were down-gauged from 3.5 to 2.5 millimeters which reduced our plastic use by 30%. Our mailer bags are recyclable, but usually must be taken to specific receptacles for plastic film recycling, such as those located in grocery stores.

Result: Both brands of paper mailers we tried suffered considerable damage prior to leaving Reno. Damage included separated seams and tearing, and mailing labels peeled off several orders.


Test: In an effort to find a way to eliminate plastic in our mailing containers we selected two brands of paper mailers to test. 


Both options were 100% paper, did not contain any plastic or fiberglass inner structure, were lightweight to minimize shipping costs and would be completely recyclable in common curbside recycling systems.


We used three sizes of each brand in our tests. We documented the journey of the paper mailers through the Reno system from packing station to their exit and respective mail carriers.


We encountered problems with these bags before they left the DC.


A hole like this could soil an unbagged garment during shipping.



Objective: Determine if it is possible for the Reno DC to remove polybags before shipping customer orders without damaging products. This will enable Patagonia to retain and recycle more plastic bags.

Result: It is possible to remove polybags before shipping customer orders, but it takes time to remove each polybag. When we extrapolated this time across an entire calendar year we estimated that it will take an additional 5,555 hours of work per year in labor to unbag every product we send.


Removing the bag and refolding the garment at the shipping station.



Objective: Survey our customers to determine if they prefer to receive products in polybags or if they prefer to receive products that aren’t packaged in polybags.

Result: Only 22% of our customers viewed our packaging as environmentally friendly, we did however, see a 14% increase in customer satisfaction when we used paper mailers and removed polybags. The general trends that emerged from both surveys were (1) our current packaging is very effective with 99% of garments arriving in perfect condition (2) people try to recycle or reuse our packaging (3) customers are unclear if the packaging is recyclable and (4) they want to recycle our packaging.





Objective: Quantify the amount of additional polybags that can be recycled if products are shipped to customers without polybags.

Result: An estimated 50,000 pounds of plastic can be retained in Reno each year. If we are able to decrease the size of our polybags (see next Objective), the quantity of plastic will decrease.





Objective: Investigate how Patagonia can reduce the amount of plastic it currently uses in packaging products.

Result: Folding products into smaller shapes would enable us to reduce the size of the polybag required for each product. Initial work shows that this can result in nearly a 50% reduction in plastic weight on a per product level.






As you can see, there are several ways we might reduce plastic waste within our system in the future. We’re currently looking into the feasibility of implementing these recommendations, and we’re always searching for new alternatives. We know some companies out there have found solutions that work for their unique distribution systems, all with varying sizes and complexities—prAna being a good example—and we’re also looking to learn from them. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.

1. Continue to use polybags at the factory level. We found that polybags are an effective barrier to damage that can occur during shipping and while going through the Reno picking system. A damaged product that is unwearable has a far greater environmental cost than manufacturing a polybag.

2. Reduce the size of polybags used. Many of our products are packaged in polybags that are far larger than the product. We recommend implementing packaging and folding guidelines at the finished goods factory level that require a reduction in the size of polybags.

3. Do not use paper mailers. We found that the two types of paper mailers we tested were barely strong enough to survive the journey through the DC. We expect that they will not consistently reach customers unharmed.

4. Continue to recycle all polybags collected in the DC. Baling the polybags that are collected in Reno is key to minimizing the waste we produce.

5. Educate our customers. The survey responses inspired an unexpected recommendation which is to provide our customers with more information about how to recycle their packaging.

6. Source recycled polybags. By using recycled polybags we can reduce the amount of virgin petroleum we use in our packaging. We have started investigating the potential to source recycled polybags.

7. Increase polybag recycling at wholesale dealers. We have a tremendous opportunity to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up as waste by working with our wholesale dealers to ensure that polybags are recycled.



Nice study, but how do I recycle the polybag that protected my Patagonia fleece?

Customers who don’t have curbside options for recycling polybags are welcome to do the following.

1. Mail them back to us for recycling:

Patagonia Service Center
ATTN: Common Threads Recycling Program
8550 White Fir Street
Reno, NV 89523-8939

2. Drop them off at the Patagonia Retail Store nearest you—ideally, while you’re running other errands, to reduce environmental impact.

Both of these options apply to Patagonia garment recycling as well.

3. Many grocery stores take back plastic bags and the bags we use can be recycled in a grocery store recycling stream. Follow this link and enter your zip code to find a plastic bag recycling location near you.




Thanks to everyone at the DC for accommodating us while we performed these tests. Nellie Cohen is Product Responsibility Analyst and Elissa Loughman is Manager of Product Responsibility for Patagonia. They work on special projects related to Corporate Responsibility and Environmental Assessment.

via The Cleanest Line: Patagonia’s Plastic Packaging – A study on the challenges of garment delivery.

Homemade Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets – With Natural Scents

If you want to learn WHY we make our own – and why you should too – scroll down and prepare to have your mind blown by facts revealing how dangerous chemical perfumes in commercial cleaning products really are.

Homemade Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets

Vinegar Laundry Softener

Vinegar is my fabric softener of choice.  Aside from being a natural softener, it also removes soap residue in the washing machine and reduces static in the dryer. You can add vinegar to a Downy ball and throw it in with your laundry, or pour vinegar directly into the fabric softener dispenser if your washing machine has one. I have even added 1-2 drops of my favorite essential oil to the vinegar in the softener dispenser. My mother caught me standing over the washing machine one day with a glass dropper in one hand and a bottle of lavender essential oil in the other, and commented that it looked as though I was running a science lab out of my laundry room. I feel like a scientist sometimes as I experiment with combinations of my favorite oils in the laundry.  Sweet orange brightens and fights stains, lavender offers a calming effect, and peppermint can help fight tough odors on clothing.

You can pre-mix your fabric-softening vinegar by using the following recipe:

A simple solution:

Lavender-scented softener is one of my favorites, or a combination of sweet orange and lemon when I need a pick-me-up on laundry day!  A third suggestion is to use peppermint for an invigorating minty scent.

To use:

Just shake well before each use and it’s ready for the rinse cycle. For small or average loads add ½ cup to the rinse cycle, or a little more for large loads. (UPDATE: A helpful reader with an HE washer advises that about ¼ cup works perfectly for full loads.)

Note: Once clothes are dry you will not notice the scent of this homemade fabric softener. Many readers have asked, “So why use them?” One benefit of including the essential oils is that many contain antibacterial properties and will help disinfect laundry. (Lavender, sweet orange, lemon, and peppermint [and many more!] are all antibacterial.) Essential oils like lemon and sweet orange have also been known to brighten laundry and fight stains. Feel free to leave out essential oils if you wish…vinegar is also antibacterial. I’m a sucker for essential oils in my laundry mainly because I enjoy the aromatherapy the oils provide during this mundane chore!

via Homemade Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets – With Natural Scents.

Dryer Sheets are easy too

Over the past few years we have researched many alternatives to commercial dryer sheets. Why? Because there is evidence that toxic fragrance chemicals can be present in commercial dryer sheets that can be absorbed into your skin when you put your clothes on. This was enough to convince me that commercial dryer sheets might not be the best choice for my family, and the cost savings of do-it-yourself dryer sheets was an added bonus. You will love experimenting with different scents along the way, and will never have to put dryer sheets on your grocery list again! (Note: These dryer sheets will not soften laundry, and are mainly for added scent. Use vinegar in the rinse cycle of the wash and felted wool balls in the dryer to soften and decrease static.)

Cut cotton cloth into small squares. I use 5-inch squares of cotton t-shirts that I’m retiring. Add 3-5 drops of essential oil to your cloth and throw it in the dryer with your next load. These cotton dryer sheets can be used for 2 or 3 loads, each time adding 3 more drops of your favorite essential oil. Wash the cloth after a few uses and experiment with a new fragrance the next time! Some of my personal favorites are lavender, lemon, or grapefruit. (find pure essential oils here)

If you don’t have essential oils and would like to try some other safe alternatives, consider the following:

  • Dampen hands with water and fluff laundry as it comes out of the dryer to reduce static cling.
  • Line dry clothing to avoid static cling altogether.
  • Hang dry clothing made from synthetic fibers. These items create more static in the dryer.
  • Use felted wool dryer balls to fluff clothing, reduce drying time, and cut down on static. (Learn how to make your own or find them on etsy.com – get at least 6 to be used in each load for best results.)
  • Although I’m unsure of the “natural” factor of aluminum foil in the dryer, this one works! A ball of aluminum foil in the dryer does wonders for decreasing static! It turns into a nice smooth ball and can be left in the dryer for many loads. 

I probably spend too much time in my “science lab” now, experimenting and enjoying the laundry aromatherapy. I’m also enjoying the peace of mind knowing that I am not putting chemicals into my family’s laundry.

You won’t believe these Facts about Chemical Perfumes

A recent study revealed that many of the top-selling commercially scented cleaning products – including: air fresheners, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, disinfectants, dish detergents, all-purpose cleaners, soaps, hand sanitizers, lotions, deodorants, and shampoos – emit more than 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including some that are classified as toxic or hazardous by federal laws.

Even products advertised as “green,” “natural,” or “organic” emitted as many hazardous chemicals as standard ones.


Ricicliamo la rete con @econyl #senzatimore
Ricicliamo la rete con @econyl #senzatimore (Photo credit: Michele Ficara Manganelli)


Waste Filling Up
Our Landfills

Clothing, furniture, smartphones, toys, etc. Every year, vast amounts of domestic and industrial waste end up in landfills, incinerators or even worse, nature.

Textile fibers contribute to a large portion of disposed waste. In 2010, man-made fibers amounted to 66% of all textiles and apparel consumed.

More waste
on the horizon

Global fiber consumption is likely to increase nearly 30% between 2010 and 2020. The continual rise in consumer consumption will only increase the environmental problems linked to the disposal of such products.

All this waste – just wasted

The US and EU have produced nearly 15 million tons of textile waste. All this waste contains valuable resources that can be reused.



Regeneration System

The ECONYL® Regeneration System puts an end to unnecessary waste of polyamide material.

We use an innovative industrial process to recover nylon from waste. This nylon is then transformed back into virgin raw material for new products.






Find your voice – David Hieatt

Your voice can be many things. It is much more than how you speak in your ads.

A quick story to make the point:

I sat down for a coffee with Richard, one of the founders of innocent, and he told me his taxi story. He was taking a ride back to work I think. Anyway, as all taxi drivers do, he wanted to make conversation. His went along normal lines. What do you do, mate? Richard replied, I help run a smoothie company. Oh yeah, which one? Innocent. Nice company. But it’s not the same any more. Richard was a bit taken aback. How do you mean? Well, you changed the label. It’s glossy now and the other one was matt. So it doesn’t feel as real any more, you know as authentic. Richard thanked him once he was dropped off. And he went inside work and the first thing he did was change the label back from glossy to matt.

The taxi driver had just taught him the importance of the bigness of small. How those little things that we don’t think are that important have a huge impact. If you want to build something big, do all the small things right.

Excerpt from my new book: Do Purpose. Why brands with a purpose do better and matter more.

10 Tips to Finding your Voice

1, Be Clear

Define the purpose of your company. Do this alone. Do not consult anyone but yourself. One sentence should do it. Write it on a paper napkin and pin it to the wall. Once decided upon, you cannot change it. Make sure that you are excited by it. Make sure you are willing to spend the rest of your life working towards it. Make sure it is your real purpose and not just what other people want to hear. Make sure it lives in your head and, as importantly, in your heart.

2, Be Focused

Define your product and it’s purpose. And stick to it. Stop making product that is not consistent with your definition of where you sit in this world. Even if it makes money, stop making it. Do not dilute the company focus. There is more money to be made from being focused than from trying to be everything to everybody. Narrow the focus. Google achieved more by offering less than its competitor. Rather than closing down opportunities, going narrower opens them up. Those who spend their days trying to be all things to all people rarely have time to change the world.

3, Be yourself

Don’t try to be like others. Don’t follow or mimic. Don’t pretend. You can tell when someone doesn’t mean something just by how they say it.  A voice doesn’t come from a meeting or a committee. Or from the latest trend or for that matter the latest piece of research. It comes from one man. It comes from the books he has read. The conversations he has had, the experiences he has endured, and the family he has been raised by. There is no manual to read. The voice is fragile in the wrong hands. Be careful whom you give the task to. The strength of Nike was that Dan Wieden got inside the head of Phil Knight. He understood that he was a super competitive sports nut who wanted to crush the competition. And he kept relaying that to his customers. Year after year. Come rain. Come shine.

4, Be emotional

You have to make your customers feel something. Understand what is in their hearts. Logic is a blunt tool in this regard, my friend. It makes perfect sense, it ticks all the boxes, but it changes very little. And guess what, intelligence is no better; it is overrated in its ability to either change things or behaviour. You need a different set of tools. Those tools will comprise of music, pictures, words that when shaken up by your author and put back in the right order will leave your customers inspired, stirred, awoken. Oh, by the way, this is not easy to do. Give them meaning by all means, but don’t give them ads. Bare your soul. Tell your struggle. Tell your pain. Tell your lows. A corporation finds it hard to show its soul as it rarely has one. Be vulnerable. Be honest. But most of all, be you.

5, Be instinctive.

Research nothing. Listen to what you feel. If you are in doubt, ask your wife. If you are still in doubt, ask your kids. Go no further than the circle that you trust. Ever.

6, Be Useful.

Make products for a purpose. Be useful. Make products that chase a function and not a fashion. Invent for a need. Focus on your customers needs. Small needs can become big business. If you suddenly become fashionable, it is because you have chased being useful. Don’t build your business around being fashionable; it will go away as quickly as it came. Customers can decode real from fake in a blink of an eye. If you try to be of a moment, you will die in the moment, once it has had its time. Instead, carry on making products that have a use. Be authentic. If you can say that, you are on solid ground. Don’t get sidetracked by chasing fashion.

7, Be the change.

To support your purpose, you need more than just words. You have to change your industry; you have to show another way. And you have to communicate that change in the most inspiring way that a human can imagine. Look at how well Apple communicates change. Every revolution needs an enemy. Challenge design, challenge pollution, challenge landfill, challenge peoples ‘buy and throw culture’. Now that you can make anything, what does your company want to make? And, even more than that, what does it want to change?

8, Be consistent

A worthwhile business has to be built over time. A company’s product, its purpose and how it speaks to the world needs to be consistent if it wants to be all things that it hopes to be. Do not blow with the wind. Do not chase a bandwagon. Stay true. Patience is required in a world that doesn’t always understand the value of it. It is easy to make small little changes in a busy day and think they do not matter. But there is a big-ness to small decisions. The financial world fully understands the concept of compound interest and how a small change can make a big difference. Similarly, a small tweak here, a small compromise there, can accumulate over time to change the very soul of a business. The rule of consistent product and service is easy to get. But the same rule needs to be applied to a company’s voice. Nike has talked with the same voice for a couple of decades now. A signature seems to run through it. And because it is so consistent, each communication seems to build on top of the last one. They have gained compound interest of voice thanks to their consistency of voice.

9, Be relevant

Understand your customer. And make product that is relevant to their lives. Remember, the worse thing you can do for the environment is to make something that no one wants to buy. Speak to them in a way that connects with them and makes them feel something. The trick to this is give something of yourself. If you feel something, the chances are so will they. This is not rocket science. It’s just gut instinct. Its knowing what they are into because you are into it too.

10, Be Positive

If you want change to happen, you will have to inspire people. A fire needs wood to burn. It also needs a flame to start it. You need to be the flame. A business needs to do the numbers but it also needs a purpose to supply it the passion. If we listened to just our intellect, no one would fall in love. If we did not listen to our soul, no poetry would ever be written. To stir someone, you have find emotional ways to touch them. But first you have open up and let go of the worry about talking in more emotional terms. Only then will you start to connect with people. You have to stir yourself to stir others. Then you have to find the flame that inspires them. And be positive. Be the hope. Hope is more powerful. The cynic changes little or nothing. The optimist can and will. Spread wonder. Spread optimism. It’s good stuff.

via david hieatt.

Outdoor-jacket test detects high amount of polluting chemicals – www.sportswearnet.com

After testing 15 outdoor jackets and five impregnating agents of poly- and perfluorinated chemicals (PFC), the German Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt; UBA) has found high levels of these substances, which severely contribute to the environmental pollution. Poly-and perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) are widely used in jackets, pants or sports clothing to make them water-and stain-resistant.

The study aimed to determine the emissions of PFCs from outdoor jackets and concurrently the associated risk to humans and the nature. PFCs were found in all the 15 tested jackets, which are liberated to the environment through washing processes and evaporation. Then these chemicals spread through rivers, seas, deep sea and into the groundwater. Organisms are also exposed to PFC, as these particles are inhaled by air or ingested through water and food.

Maria Krautzberger, president of the UBA: “Unfortunately, the impregnations don’t stay in the jackets, but evaporate into the air or reach the sewage treatment plants while washing and from there get into natural water courses. Even though the jackets deliver few PFC into the environment compared to other sources, the question is whether this type of waterproofing substances must be used.”

Germany, together with Norway, will present a legal restriction for PFC and its precursors to the EU. This includes limits for products, such as textiles, medical products and household goods. Some manufacturers already rely on PFC-free impregnation.

Lorenzo Molina

via Outdoor-jacket test detects high amount of polluting chemicals – www.sportswearnet.com.

New index pressures brands on Chinese disclosure | Materials & Production News

GUIYANG – A new index has been launched in China which will measure apparel brands’ performance in managing the environmental impacts of factories in their supply chains in China. The Corporate Information Transparency Index CITI is a quantitative evaluation system which has been jointly developed by the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs IPE and the Natural Resources Defense Council NRDC.The inaugural CITI list has M&S, Puma, C&A, Gap and H&M in the top ten leading companies, while bringing up the rear on the list are brands including Guess, DKNY, Macy’s and Polo Ralph Lauren. 147 consumer brands were assessed, while 47 of the brands were unable to provide any sort of response to questions about their supply chains.The CITI was released at the Greening the Global Supply Chain sub-forum, organised by the SEE Foundation and IPE, held at the Guiyang Eco-Forum Global hosted by the Environmental Protection Department of Guizhou.“Despite the central importance of supply chains in globalised business core function, and despite the heavy impact of pollution from manufacturing in this way, company corporate social responsibility programs generally focus very inadequate attention on pollution from their supply chain. To the contrary, they focus on where it is easiest to start, rather than where it is the most important to fix,” says Linda E. Greer, Ph.D., director of NRDC’s Health and Environment Program.Since 2010, IPE and partner NGOs have pushed dozens of brands from textile industries to use IPE’s Pollution Map database to identify and address their supply chain pollution problems.Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs said that, “The inaugural CITI evaluation looks at brands that have hundreds of millions of customers across the world. Our hope is that consumers in and outside of China pay attention to the CITI evaluation scores and rankings and use their own purchasing power to make more environmentally conscious choices, and be a force for pollution and emissions reduction in China.“The CITI reflects the brand’s will, capability, and institutional backing to solve pollution problems in its supply chain, and can also aid brands to move from basic compliance to continuous improvement and eventually best practice.”The inaugural CITI assessment looks at eight industrial sectors with significant environmental impacts: IT, textiles, food and beverage, household and personal care, automobile, breweries, and leather.

via New index pressures brands on Chinese disclosure | Materials & Production News.

The Outdoor Industry Compass – EDM Publications

Good start for the OutDoor show

July 12, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications

More visitors went through the turnstiles on the first day of the OutDoor show than one year ago, and the mood was generally positive through the second day, according to various exhibitors. It is not sure how many will stay all the way through Sunday, however, because of the final match of the football World Cup in Brazil between Germany and Argentina. We trust that we shall be able to provide figures for the number of visitors by country, like before, in one of the next issues of The Compass…


Provocative T-shirts in a growing Chinese market


July 12, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications


In 2013, the core outdoor market in China grew by 16.2 percent to 15.38 billion yuan renminbi (€1.82bn-$2.48bn). This is one of the numerous interesting findings of an annual market research project commissioned by the China Outdoor Association (COA) and the organizer of the Asia Outdoor trade show which will take place in Nanjing from July 23-26.


The researchers make the difference between the core market for authentic outdoor brands and the wider market which includes general sports brands offering a line of outdoor gear and retailers and suppliers which are basically not associated with the outdoor industry. The wider market reached a total of RMB 36.8 billion (€4.36bn-$5.93bn) at retail prices, with an increase of 12.9 percent. The good news is that the turnover grew faster last year than the number of points of sale, which went up by 11.9 percent to 12,420 units (many more figures in the regular issue and in a report on the Chinese sports and outdoor market due to be released by us shortly)…


At Asia Outdoor, the six member companies of COA are launching an initiative for cleaner air as the basis for healthy outdoor activities. They are going to put out a black T-shirt, each with their logo, the script “I need fresh air” and the provocative image of a gas mask. To start with, the companies will sell or just give away some 1,000 shirts. The campaign may be expanded later on, depending on the reaction to the initiative.




Pertex is one of six first sustaining members of EOCA


July 12, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications


Pertex has won two new important clients – Adidas Outdoor and Ortovox – for its lightweight, functional fabrics. Like some other suppliers to the industry, the company, which has been a property of Mitsui since 2006, has been boosting its marketing and sales activities lately, and its business in Europe has been growing nicely following the appointment of new agents, most recently in Germany.


Pertex will act as one of the seven first “sustaining members” of the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) along with Keen Footwear, Nikwax, Patagonia, Messe Friedrichshafen (OutDoor), Messe München (Ispo) and the European Outdoor Group. Each will donate an extra $10,000 a year to help pay for EOCA’s future personnel expenses. After growing by 53 percent over the past 18 months, EOCA will move to two funding rounds per year in order to raise more money for the environment.






Páramo, the apparel brand owned by Nick Brown, the founder and managing director of Nikwax, is showing for the first time at the OutDoor fair as it is moving into Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Páramo’s credo is a sustainable philosophy since the collection is entirely free of PFC and is sewed by Latin American women in need. The distribution will be selective. The move into Central Europe comes along with the creation of a website for direct sales which went live last autumn. Brand executives emphasized in Friedrichshafen that the line offered on the web shop will be higher-priced on average than the merchandise offered in independent retail stores.




After the sale of eVent by General Electric a few months ago to Clarcor, a filtration specialty company, the supplier of laminates is presenting itself at OutDoor with a new corporate identity and innovative products. The logo is new and the company has added a new waterproof laminate, DVStorm, described as the most breathable membrane technology available. It adds to the other lines of waterproof products. The management has basically remained unchanged following the acquisition…




The Thule Group has launched its first line of technical backpacks, to be sold from next February. The line is being presented at the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen for the first time. It is divided into three sub-categories, ‘Thule Guidepost’ for large backpacks from 65- 88 liters, ‘Thule Capstone Hiking Series’ for smaller backpacks from 22 to 50 liters and ‘Thule Sapling’ for child carriers. Graham Jackson, who has been part of the Thule Group for seven years, was appointed category manager for the technical backpack range two years ago. Ty Wivell, a previous independent sales representative for Thule, Camelbak and Salomon among others and sales manager for Lowepro for the last two years, joined the company as sales category manager in April. He will take care of sales in the U.S. and Canada. Mark Thibadeau, former designer at Gregory, joined in May for the newly created position of lead technical pack designer.




The French Outdoor Award for product innovation was won by Swelsy Tech, a French start-up that has developed a backpack with an adjustable volume: Sold under the Prism brand, it consists of a back panel with attachments of three different sizes, as well as helmet holders in various color combinations. The winning company was only established a few weeks ago but the team behind it has been working on the new product for nearly two years. The award was organized by Sporaltec and regional French authorities. While Swelsy Tech is currently based in Lyon, it will move to a start-up nursery in Annecy next year. During the OutDoor show, products selected for the award are displayed at Camp de Base, a special French pavilion, in Hall B3.




It emerged at the OutDoor show that Fjällräven has left the Scandinavian Outdoor Group (SOG). The Swedish outdoor brand was one the most influential members of the organization, which has helped to place many of the Nordic brands on the international map. Fjällräven decided to quit just before the European Outdoor Summit held in Stockholm last October, due to disagreements on unspecified issues, and its membership expired in January. Tierra and Primus, two other brands belonging to the Fenix Outdoor group, are still members of the organization. The SOG said at a presentation yesterday that it now has 41 members, the latest entrants being Peak Performance (returning after several years of absence) and Nokian Footwear, the Finnish brand of rubber boots.



>Haglöfs has seen its turnover increase at a double-digit rate so far this year and reorders have been up by 35 percent, with ample increases in both footwear and clothing. The rise is attributed to the improved situation in some markets and the brand’s expansion into Asia in the last two years, but even more so to the compact and focused aspect of the current range. To further improve its offering for the Asian market, the company will hire a product line manager to be based in Hong Kong. This recruit should help to develop a clothing range with some Asian adjustments, with more items suitable for warm and humid conditions, and with an Asian fit. Magnus Nervè, Haglöfs’ area manager for Asia, will be moving from Japan to Hong Kong, where the Swedish brand will share offices with Asics, its Japanese parent company. Meanwhile, the search for a new chief executive is ongoing…



HeiQ is launching a new IT solution for garments, called “Identity,” which was developed in cooperation with a German IT specialist, Trace Key. “Identity” transforms the serial number of each product into a QR code that allows consumers to check in the store whether the product is an original, where the components of the product come from and where it has been manufactured. Clients from the outdoor industry are able to check the quality of the product and where and when it was sold. The IT solution is currently offered to clients from HeiQ, who already work together with the Swiss company for the usage of its textile finishes…




Do you really understand the female consumer well enough to develop the most suitable products for her and to trigger the purchase? There are many different types of female consumers for sports and outdoor products, and they need to be addressed differently. Ulrike Luckmann and Karen Laubach have researched this subject in-depth over the last few months, interviewing many experts and using a survey of more than 3,000 women in Germany. They will present the main findings at a conference at the OutDoor show prior to the release of a study on the subject in September by the publisher of The Outdoor Industry Compass and SGI Europe. The conference is free for anybody to attend:


WOMEN & SPORTS – GERMANY Conference on Saturday, July 12 at 11 AM Room Paris – East Entrance


OutDoor will remain a trade-only show


July 11, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications


Plans to open up the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen to consumers for an extra day, as is already the case with the Eurobike show on Lake Constance, have been set aside. A majority of the members of the European Outdoor Group, which is sponsoring the fair, voted against the proposal just as the show was opening to the trade yesterday.


Participants in the EOG meeting decided, however, to find new ways of promoting consumption of outdoor products. The issue will be discussed in the morning before the European Outdoor Summit in Munich next October.




Growth of 3.1% for outdoor in Europe, says the EOG


July 11, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications


The European outdoor market expanded by 3.1 percent to €4,776 million at the wholesale level in 2013, based on the State of Trade survey compiled by the European Outdoor Group (EOG). The organization estimates that this amounts to retail sales of more than €10 billion before sales taxes. The number of units sold increased more slowly by 2.8 percent to 174.6 million, driven by footwear.


Germany alone remains the largest market in Europe, with sales amounting to 25.7 percent of the European tally. They amounted to €1,229 million at wholesale and were up by 3 percent for the year. Then came the U.K. and Ireland, with joint sales up by 3 percent to €638.5 million. They are ahead of France, where wholesale revenues of outdoor products were estimated to have advanced by 3 percent to €581 million last year. The market that displayed the fastest growth was Russia, where outdoor product sales climbed by 10 percent to €299 million, but observers felt that the sell-out was lower.


The survey showed growth for outdoor products across all regions and all categories last year. Some 53 percent of sales came from apparel and 27 percent from footwear. Among other categories, accessories and backpacks each accounted for 6.5 percent of European turnover, compared with 3 percent for tents, and 2 percent each for climbing equipment and sleeping bags and other travel gear, including mattresses.


The most vibrant category was footwear,…




Patagonia is opening new offices in Europe


July 11, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications


We have collected more information on this topic at the OutDoor show. Patagonia is planning to transfer some of its European operations from its present European headquarters in the French town Annecy to a new European office in Amsterdam. It also wants to open sales offices in London and Munich to be closer to its clients in two of its major European markets.


The reorganization is coming after a year in which Patagonia Europe’s sales grew by 18 percent to €52 million through the end of April under the leadership of Stefan Wahlén, the former executive of Nike and Peak Performance who has been charge of Europe, the Middle East and Africa over the past couple of years.




A panel of experts has selected 35 products that have deserved an OutDoor Industry Award this year for their high degree of innovation or the quality of the design. Seven of them have received a Gold Award:


    • Osprey’s Atomos AG65


  • Toray’s 100% plant-based PES
  • Salewa’s Speed Ascent
  • Berghaus’ HyperSmock 2.0
  • Primus’ Winter Gas
  • Arc’teryx’ Alpha2 FL Men’s Shoe


  • The North Face FuseformTM Originator Jacket


Some Notes:


Arc’teryx footwear is to be launched in about 1,000 stores next year, using some of the lamination technology that distinguishes the Canadian brand as well as specific footwear materials. The award-winning range features special elastic and breathable liners (some of them removable), along with one-piece, four-layer laminated uppers and Vibram soles. Development for the range was started in Annecy about two and a half years ago, supported by the footwear team at Salomon. However, Arc’teryx emphasized at a presentation during the OutDoor show that Salomon would not make use of the same technologies. Developed by Federico Sbrissa, a former executive of Dynafit, the footwear range complements an offering built up over more than two decades, from harnesses to backpacks, apparel and gloves. While Arc’teryx boasts one of the few remaining technical apparel plants in Canada, its footwear will be made in China.



Toray received the Gold Award at the OutDoor show for its plant-based polyester yarn, “ecodear,” which is made exclusively from renewable raw materials. The Japanese company is ready to market plant-based polyester using treacle, a by-product of sugar production. The first bulk production with the new material will start from 2020 and Toray is currently in talks with 7 outdoor brands for the usage of the new material in their production processes. The new ecodear plant-based polyester can be used for garments, bottles and packaging. The polymer is chemically identical to existing polyester from crude oil and can be used for all functions and applications. Toray has subsidiaries in Germany and in the Czech Republic and employs 40,000 people worldwide.




Martes Sport, the Polish distribution and retail group, has expanded its licensing and distribution agreement with Hi-Tec Sports to 19 countries around Eastern Europe. While it previously covered Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Ukraine, another 15 countries were added, from the Baltics to the former Yugoslav Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Moldova and Albania. While distributors in these countries previously had to buy Hi-Tec apparel and equipment directly from China, they will be able to lean on the well-oiled infrastructure and stock of Martes Sport in Poland. The company is currently building a large-scale extension of its warehousing facility in Bielsko-Biala (more news on Hi-Tec in the next issue).


Vaude is expanding its franchising concept outside Germany. For mid-October, Vaude plans the opening of the first store in Switzerland. Encompassing 220 square meters, it will be in Zurich and will be managed by the outdoor retailer Spatz Camping & Outdoor Equipment, which has a store in the city, offering outdoor and camping equipment. Its Vaude store will be incorporated into a large Spatz store that will be opened this October in Zurich, measuring 1,400 sqm.


A lot of action at Sympatex


July 10, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications


Michael Kamm, chief executive of Sympatex Technologies, has disclosed that the refinanced company is discussing the acquisition of another firm, and that it is working on optimizing its textile manufacturing operations in Zittau to raise production levels and improve profitability in the long term.


Sympatex’ sales went up by about 3 percent in the first five months of this year, but orders have increased by 43 percent, due in particular to strong demand by some European railroad companies for functional clothing. Sympatex has also boosted its marketing and PR activities this year…




Lowa is back on the road to success


July 10, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications


The German-based producer of outdoor shoes, which is still under the control of Italy’s Tecnica Group, managed to increase its total consolidated sales from €140 million in 2012 to €152 million in 2013 and expects to lift its consolidated sales once again to €161 million at the end of this year.


The number of Lowa shoes delivered worldwide went up from 1,787,929 pairs in 2012 to over 2 million in 2013. The last time that Lowa sold more than 2 million pairs of shoes was in 2010.


The outdoor industry managed to grow like before as retailers managed to adjust their inventories, says Lowa. Although the last winter was not very snowy, the company’s sell-in was successful, especially for its collection of winter city shoes.




The Lifestraw sells more widely, does good in Africa


July 10, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications


WaterNlife, the Danish company that took on distribution of the unique LifeStraw water purification system in Europe and some other parts of the world a year ago, has already placed the product in hundreds of European stores, including those of big chains such as Globetrotter in Germany, Naturkompaniet in Sweden, Snow+Rock and Tiso in the U.K. and Speydersport in Denmark. It is also offered on specialty online stores such as Campz in Germany.


New markets have been recently opened by the Danish distributor for this award-winning hydration system in countries such as Russia, Turkey and Japan. However, there are still some open spots such as Italy and Spain where WaterNlife, which will have a stand at the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen this week, is still looking for sub-distributors or agents. The product is already well-established in the U.S. and Canada, where it was first introduced three years ago by EarthEasy, a company based in Vancouver.






Patagonia is said to be contemplating the transfer of its European head office from the French town of Annecy to a new location in Rotterdam. Some officials of Patagonia Europe are said to have left already. Observers have noted that Patagonia is the only foreign international brand to have its European office in the French town, where Salomon, Millet and other French outdoor brands are also located. Some speculate that the move to the Netherlands may be related to a possible change of ownership. Company officials could not be reached for comment, but we hope to find out more about this at the show.



VF Corporation has appointed Jeremy de Maillard as vice president of marketing for The North Face in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), replacing Eric Pansier who has left the group to pursue other interests. He reports to Arne Arens, vice president and general manager of TNF EMEA. De Maillard has been with VF since 2008. He has apparently done wonders over the past six years for another VF brand, Vans, which has grown very fast in Europe lately. Praising his “consumer understanding and digital marketing vision” a statement by the group says he played a key role in driving collaboration between marketing, sales, product and retail, helping to position Vans as a true icon in youth culture. De Maillard will be fully dedicated to TNS while continuing to oversee the new House of Vans project in London for the foreseeable future.



Deckers Outdoor Corporation has reported the appointment of Rob van der Vis as managing director for Teva‘s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He will work from a new European headquarters for Teva in Rotterdam. Van der Vis previously acted as managing director for the Benelux countries for Teva and for two other brands of Deckers, Ugg Australia and Sanuk. Teva’s EMEA operations were previously steered out of Deckers’ office in the U.K. Meanwhile, Deckers has taken over the distribution in the U.K. of another recently acquired brand, Hoka One One.



Fjällräven has now a store in the important Karl Johan Gate retailing arbea in Oslo, the first one for the big Swedish brand in Norway. This subsidiary of the Fenix Outdoor group previously opened stores in Amsterdam and New York.



Polartec reported on July 4 that it has filed a patent infringement complaint with the German District Court in Düsseldorf against Pontetorto and its German sales agency, Christian Weichert Internationale Textilvertretungen. In the suit, Polartec is demanding compensatory damages and an injunction to prevent the sale of the infringing products. At issue is the Italian company’s Technostretch products. Polartec is complaining that they infringe on a European patent (EP 1 312 710 B1) for grid-back, knit construction textiles that is exclusively licensed to Polartec. The company points out that it invented modern synthetic fleece and that it holds over 135 patents worldwide.



A panel of six experts has selected the winners of this year’s OutDoor Industry Awards, tightening the standards. The number of competing products submitted by the exhibitors increased by 45 to 361, as compared to last year. However, the number of winning products, which will be revealed at the end of the first day of the show, has been reduced to 35, down from 52 in 2013, and seven of them were given a gold status.


Besides Arc’teryx’ first shoe collection, the new footwear entries at the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen include Keen’s Uneek sandal, with its very original construction, and a hands-free shoe by Treksta

via The Outdoor Industry Compass – EDM Publications.

The Outdoor Industry Compass – Polartec’s founder

ispo 2011: Polartec Neoshell
ispo 2011: Polartec Neoshell (Photo credit: airFreshing)

The OutDoor show honors Polartec‘s founder July 13, 2014 – Posted by EDM Publications Aaron Feuerstein, the former owner of Malden Mills and the man behind Polartec, has been elected OutDoor Celebrity of the Year for 2014. The 88 year-old grandson of Malden Mills’ founder was credited for changing the clothing that people wear for outdoor activities.Under Feuerstein’s leadership, Malden Mills invested $20 million in the early ‘sixties to produce synthetic fibers. He made the strongest impact on the outdoor industry in 1979 with the development of Polar Fleece, a new fabric that was first adopted by Patagonia and then most other outdoor apparel brands.The jury was impressed with the commitment displayed by Feuerstein in 1995 when an explosion destroyed three of the company’s buildings in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Then aged 70, Feuerstein decided to rebuild them entirely, on the same spot and keeping all the staff on the payroll. The company eventually filed for bankruptcy and was acquired in 2007 by an investment fund, Versa Capital Management, which subsequently bought Eastern Mountain Sports and is now taking over Sport Chalet

via The Outdoor Industry Compass – EDM Publications.