How Brands are Combating Climate Uncertainty with Style & Substance.
It is not unusual anymore for one day to be 70 degrees, and the next, snowing. Sometimes it can seem as if seasons have disappeared. A walk or ride to work can be completely different than the trek home, temperature and sunlight-wise. Considering today’s climate uncertainty, we asked brands how they design and market hats, apparel and footwear to deliver head to toe weather protection
“People are buying versatile items that can be cross-functional through different seasons by using layering. They’re also looking more for sun protection built into apparel and headwear. And stronger storms and more intense rain mean that rain jackets are must-own items in an increasing number of markets. We’re choosing technical fabrics that lend themselves to everyday wear in simple, modern silhouettes with comfort in mind.”
— Charlie Berg, outdoor product manager, Outdoor Research.
For Spring 2023, Outdoor Research is expanding on the Swift hat program with three additional styles – the Swift Air Cap, Swift Visor and Swift Bucket. These are lightweight, performance headwear styles with UPF 30+ protection. Some other sun styles from the firm feature ActiveIce, which is a thermoregulating fabric treatment offering a cooling effect.
“We see customers moving to products that offer versatility. From jackets that can be worn on a run or to the store, to baselayers that perform and are fun to wear as a stand-alone piece. But consumers are still demanding the performance in these products. We are offering wind and water protection in more styles and categories – high end performance and everyday pieces.” — Jon Howard, director of consumer sales and marketing, Craft Sportswear
Craft launched in the baselayer category over 40 years ago, so the brand knows next-to-skin apparel. From there, layers allow the wearer to breathe and regulate body temperature. The ADV Essence Hydro Jacket features a waterproof three-layer recycled fabric capable for high-output activity, taped seams and VentAir wind fabric. An adjustable hood with visor protects from the rain. As part of the Essence Collection, it has a slightly more generous fit for layering or everyday use.
“With a focus on workwear, our consumer has always layered. They may leave the house before it gets light out and then it warms up throughout the day. We are putting effort into designing more comfortable layering pieces. We have moved to more synthetic blends, added stretch and have gone lighter in weight. But the foundation of our brand is durability.” — Deb Ferraro, VP global product development and technical design, Carhartt.
Carhartt recently reworked its SuperDux line, which was launched in 1930 by Hamilton Carhartt’s son, Wylie Carhartt, as a waterproof option for hunters and fishermen. Each piece in the new SuperDux line features Carhartt’s Rugged Flex (for stretch/movement), Rain Defender and Wind Fighter technology. Styles have the look of traditional duck with either a lighter nylon fabric (35 percent weight reduction) plus 3M Thinsulate or a nylon stretch shell laminated with a dense Sherpa. Bib Overalls feature Cordura reinforced kick panels.
“We have noticed items that have functional appeal, as well as elements of fashion, are dominating the market. This could be waterproofing or water resistance, or some type of insulation/lining, but combined with trends that you wouldn’t expect to see performance features in.” — Sydney Simas, VP sales and marketing, Simco Imported Shoes.
The Phisis is a shoe that features a flexible knit upper that stretches for ease (wrapping the foot like a sock) when slipping on and off. Due to the technical characteristics of the yarn (100 percent recycled polyester) and its construction (double-sided knit with thermoformed resin on the sides near the sole), it has a higher repellency to water drop penetration than a conventional knit shoe. There is a removable recycled insole, antiviral sole and the production process is zero waste.
“Slides that can be worn with socks in the fall/winter/spring (and without in the summer) are seeing a rise. We also see booties that are bought in the fall and worn with a jacket and jeans, worn again in the summer with a pretty boho dress. We have started using water-resistant leathers in some boots for harsh winters, with a warmer lining. Additionally, we have vegan, knitted styles that can be worn year-round and are easy on/off.” — Ayelet Lax Levy, president, Naot Footwear USA.
Naot products are handcrafted in Israel, using all Italian leather, even in water-resistant product, for the country’s stricter environmental laws. The cork used is Portuguese and harvested off trees every 40 years. The Helm bootie features double zippers for accessibility, along with a padded heel cup and instep for comfort. Naot’s removable, anatomic cork & latex footbed is wrapped in microfiber and leather and molds to the shape of the foot with wear. It contains a 1.5” polyurethane sole with a metal shank which is extremely lightweight, durable & abrasive to prevent slipping.