Fresh Ski Apparel:
Just in time for the ski season, 2022 promises to be a year ready for the ski season. This year is predicted to be a exciting ski season for various reasons. Whether you’re planning a skiing trip to Aspen, or exciting new openings in Deer Valley Utah, you’ll want to make sure you’re protected from the bitter mountain chills and gusting winds as well as reflective light on sunny days. With the winter season in full swing (in the northern hemisphere) comes the new apparel collections hitting the slopes in 2022. From ski jackets to underpinnings, fresh out-of-the-gate product offerings are being reviewed by athletes and consumers alike.
Today, there is a plethora of snow and ski brands to choose from, deciding which ones are best-equipped for the season takes knowledge and time. Unlike other apparel categories, the success of a ski brand is contingent upon on the detailed balance between style, technology, and high-performance. And now, with the internet helping to accelerate personal opinions, consumer engagement and opinions have developed enormously.
With the active winter 2022 season in full swing, the selection of ski jackets out there do not disappoint. Looking for pro-performance with on-trend style? Just take a look at some of the revamped apparel and hardware offerings online and in brick & mortar ski shops. For example, newer soft shell jacket models with reliable wind and water resistance and DWR (durable water-repellent). DWR coating is filled with down or synthetic insulation like Primaloft, resulting in hydrophobic hybrid ski wear apparel to keep you warm and dry. Meanwhile, a hardshell jacket has the ability for complete weather protection and hard to the core durability. Due to its easy packability, it remains a favorite amongst skiers whether used on captivating pistes or for those fun-filled après ski moments. Quite often, they are made with Gore-Tex (gtx) membranes and taped seams for thorough weatherproofing all the while remaining breathable.
This season, HEAD Sportswear and Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn developed the new Legacy Collection. What makes this collection intriguing to me is that it adheres to high-performance needs with an added does of sexy style! As most of your are well aware, Vonn won an Olympic Gold medal, four overall World Cup titles, two world championships gold medals, and 16 Crystal Globes. She also won World Cup races in all disciplines. And when it comes to fashion wins, Lindsey Vonn is in a class of her own.
The collection has been designed with innovative materials and detailed workmanship by blending high-tech materials with a healthy dose of good ole American style. And let’s face it, stunting good style on the slopes is an integral part of the sport. More to my point, skiwear, like surfing and skateboarding acts as an trend incubator by setting the meter off for mainstream ready-to wear and luxury collections to follow. For example, Hermès, Moncler and Louis Vuitton have all taken ski elements of the youth culture and segued it into their respective collections.
However, ventilation plays a big part in the functionality of a ski jacket. In my opinion, the underarms ranks high as a top-priority with respect to ventilation. Therefore, be mindful to look out of adjustable features where you need ventilation the most.
Lindsey’s inspiration comes from her love of the groovy 70s blend of oversized jackets and slim-fitted, sexy pants. While speaking with Lindsey, she reminisced about director Michael Ritchie’s sports drama film, ‘Downhill Racer’ starring Hollywood actor Robert Redford. The film conveys not only the message of one’s drive for glory but rather an on-point fashion sense that remains relevant until today.
Vonn’s aim is to bring back that impeccable sense of great style and sex-appeal to the US market and beyond…
Key pieces include voluminous down jackets and vests combined with skin-tight jet pants and stirrup pants. Lindsey’s favorite piece is the Daisy vest “I love the floral print and the pink – it’s very, very cool and stands out on the mountain. But… the coolest part is Lucy [my dog] is on the inside. She’s definitely a bigger star than I am,” she jokes.
HIGHEST TECH FABRICS AND NATURAL MATERIALS
The fashion-forward collection and the cutting technology were developed in Austria (HEAD) and Zurich, engineered in Italy, and manufactured in Europe. Trailblazing high tech/eco-friendly fabrics, such as PFC-free materials, were used along with premium natural materials, such as cashmere, wool, and ethical Fair Down Commitment white goose down. And it is comforting to know that Real Down YKK comes from certified and controlled farms and is a waste product of the food industry. To mark this on their products, HEAD Sportswear created the Fair Down Commitment themselves.
I was impressed by the ultra soft merino-cashmere sweaters couples with soft to the touch bodysuits, created with a shiny glow lending added glam to the piece.
“The cornerstone of the brand is always sport. But with the Legacy Line, we want to offer a more fashionable approach to HEAD Sportswear that still reflects the brand DNA with highly functional fabrics. In Lindsey Vonn we have found the ideal partner for the Legacy Line. A fascinating skier and extremely stylish athlete at the same time, who in 2017, 2018, and 2019 was among the ‘Fashionable 50’ of Sports Illustrated magazine, the American embodies the two worlds of sport and fashion perfectly.”says Roman Stepek Vice President Global Head Sportswear
What’s interesting to me is that HEAD Sportswear is part of HEAD Sport GmbH, a global supplier of ski, tennis and diving equipment and apparel. HEAD Sportswear offers performance-oriented ski and tennis clothing with a modern design.
Every season HEAD Sportswear creates unique ski wear collections that harmoniously combine innovative materials and fashionable design keeping-up the performance DNA of the brand. . HEAD Sportswear is developing the Legacy Line, a line that creates a completely new look in the history of the brand with a new, modern design language.
In short, the brand is taking cues from heritage skiwear and bringing it forth to adhere to today’s tech and style standards. More importantly, the latest collaboration is with the most successful ski athlete of all time, Lindsey Vonn. I was pleased to see her great determination and passion in developing a ski wear line to take on the challenge of the new world of skiwear
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Style Editor for Legacy Collection Lindsey Vonn about how she wanted look into designs from the 60s and 70s, the kind of classic look combined with the cashmere sweater why she believes her line is the perfect combination of fun, chic, feminine and high performance and why I her greatest achievement on the slopes would be winning the Olympic gold in Vancouver and off the slopes would be starting my foundation in 2015!
Joseph DeAcetis: Talk to Forbes about your developments in design for the 2022 collection.
Lindsey Vonn: Yes. I’ve been with Head since 2009 to build a long relationship with Johann, the owner. And then the last few years, Roman came on and I sat down with Roman before he really started the line. And he had an amazing vision, which is always what I wanted to do. His vision was exactly in line with what I thought. And I went through some concepts, what my kind of inspiration was. I sent him some mood boards, things like that and from there, we decided to team up and create this line. Roman and I have always been on the same page with the direction that we want to go. So it’s been really easy to create things.
JD: And then once we have because you have freedom.
LV: Yes. We literally have creative control, because Roman and I are see eye to eye on pretty much everything. It’s really easy. And then with other designers within Head, we kind of source different textiles and different colorways. From the moodboards that we created, we kind of drafted our first line and from there, which I love. From there, we just built and made modifications and changed the color and the design a little bit.Every year, it’s getting better and better – this our third season.
JD: Talk to Forbes about your first runway show?
LV: We’re running through the whole line for this season, not just my legacy line, but also the Rebels line as well -Men and women. My line is only women, but the men’s line is great as well. I’m more on the women’s side.
JD: How many pieces did you create for this fashion show this season?
LV: We just had meetings for 2022-23 but for this collection, we have kind of two main silhouettes: we have the Chloe jacket, we have the Daisy Vest. It’s an oversized puffy vest with a really warm fitting pant, which is like that was my one thing that I had to have because I love it. It’s always something that I wanted to revert back to from looking at designs from the 60s and 70s, the kind of classic look combined with the cashmere sweater. You can also make it the vest with the cashmere sweater and the legging.
JD: Talked to me about the design style of the 60s and the 70s that has your creative vision focused in on.
LV: It’s more elegant and it’s a kind of a combination of, like I look at Downhill Racers. Robert Redford in that movie is like the epitome of cool. And that’s what I want to do. Those sick sunglasses and the sweater and the tight pants.That’s what I wanted to portray in my design. I think we achieved that. They also wanted to make sure from a combination perspective, that you can create a lot of different looks, but they’re all kind of in the same line with my vision of 60s and 70s, which, again, is like the sweater and the Après Ski look and the very form fitting. Women are out there with their headband and their sunglasses and it’s like, very chic, but super cool. It’s like that great combination. Again, Robert Redford.
JD: Now your vision is geared toward American consumers, or is it global consumers?
LV: Global. I mean, obviously, Redford is American and that I think, though Europeans have really dominated the ski market in a lot of ways.
JD: That’s where I’m getting that at you’re an American, you’ll be dominating the ski market. Is that creative being helped by who you are as an American and being taken in by creative that was done here in the 60s and 70s.
LV: Yeah, I think so. While a lot of things came from Europe, we definitely have a different style in the US and Redford again, I go back to that. But we sell the most in the US, so I would say we’re definitely focused more on the US, but it is a global brand, and we do want to sell globally.
JD: In your words, talk to Forbes about advancements in technology within the product offerings of your collection.
LV: That’s the number one thing. But I also will not be cold. I don’t want to be cold ever. It’s difficult to find the right combination for pants that’s the form fitting stretchiness, but it’s thick enough with the right material to be warm and water resistant. So Roman sourced some really good fabrics for those pants, which I think are very unique to market. Also, the jackets, especially the Tiffany. We have a really light material that he [Roman] sourced. We’ve gone to even higher quality textiles in the next couple of lines, but it’s an amazing material that is super light, but very warm. I have to make sure in whatever I create, that it’s going to keep me warm, and then you combine it with the layers. I always like the layers, because then you can take it off when you’re après skiing, which is perfect, like the underlayer and then, the cashmere.
JD: In your opinion, what’s the perfect Après Ski look for 2022?
LV: It’s our line, obviously. I think it’s the white pant with the white sweater and the pink Daisy vest. Because it’s fun, but it’s chic; and it’s very feminine, but it’s high performance. It’s kind of the perfect combination of all of those things.
JD: What has been your greatest achievement?
LV: I think my greatest achievement on the slopes would be winning the Olympic gold in Vancouver in 2010, and I think off the slopes, would be starting my foundation in 2015.
JD: Talk to Forbes about the highlights of your foundation.
LV: So my mission is to empower and inspire young girls. It kind of stemmed from me meeting my childhood hero, Picabo Street when I was nine at an autograph signing. I met her for 90 seconds and because of that, I wanted to be an Olympian. She really changed my life in a minute and a half. I do these strong girl empowerment camps, and I attend every camp. I want to inspire them. If I can spend an entire day with a child, I hope that I can inspire them so much more than what Picabo even did for me. Because of COVID, we haven’t been able to do the camps in a little while. We’ve then focused more on our scholarship program: we have 50% sports and 50% educational programs, and it’s going really well. I think, we’re going to expand to Europe next year.
JD: What was your biggest challenge as a skier? And how did you overcome that challenge?
LV: Well, I definitely had a lot of adversities in my life. I think the hardest challenge for me was overcoming my injuries. When I first had my first major surgery when I tore my ACL MCL to be Plateau was in 2013. And since that time, I didn’t have a twelve month period where I didn’t have a surgery. So I literally went from 2013 until I retired in 2019. That’s six years of surgeries. Sometimes in my last season, that was three surgeries in one summer. It was a lot, but I always fought back. The reason for that is because I just love the sport so much and I would be still doing it if I physically could. But unfortunately, there’s a limit of how many surgeries to get.
JD: What advice would you give to young female athletes ?
LV: Well, I think it’s very similar being an entrepreneur to being an athlete: you’re going to have failures and you’re going to have obstacles and adversities. It’s about how you pick yourself back up and you learn from that. You keep charging as opposed to people quitting. I think that’s a large component to why I had so much success is because I was very determined to succeed.
JD: Where did that determination come from?
LV: I’ve been really stubborn my whole life. Especially if you tell me I can’t do something, I will prove you wrong.
JD: What makes the HEAD collection unique in comparison to the competition?
LV: I think right now, obviously, beside the performance, which I think is superior, I really like our color patterns. It’s very classy, but also fun and vibrant, whereas a lot of I think the styles out there are a little bit tacky. I think our collection is just a really good mix of class and performance.
JD: What is your strategy to gain market share within the skiwear arena?
LV: I really think it’s building on our reputation from a performance standpoint. I think the style will always catch people’s attention. The performance of our product word spreads, and I think we obviously have a lot of marketing, but I think the main thing is consumers coming back and we have that loyalty because we built that reputation because we have the high performance.I hear people on the slopes; I hear what they say, what they like and what they don’t like and I always have kind of my ear to the ground. So I always sit in the ski shops and listen to people like what they say because it’s important to make sure you’re listening to the consumer as well and what they like. For instance, take the Pink Daisy vest; Mariah Carey’s stylist recently texted me saying that they want it— immediately. It’s definitely getting a buzz. I always ski with the future line a season before so it kind of gets people’s feedback.
JD: Three adjectives that describe your brand?
LV: Performance, class and femininity.
JD: Who is your core demographic?
LV: Honestly, it’s probably 17 to 60 because I’ve been around a lot of different demographics, and the kids love my stuff because it’s really fun and vibrant, and the adults love my stuff because it’s high performance and also fun and vibrant, but yet classy. I think that’s why we have a large range of demo, because we check all of those boxes.
JD: Talk to me about the future of the brand?
LV: We’ve already kind of gone through the next two years (2022-23 and 2023-24) I kind of just looked at the sketches. I think we’re really going to expand into après ski, not just into skiwear. We’ve already started doing après ski boots, which was my idea, which I’m very excited about. Roman gave me a little bit of a hard time, but we’re making progress. I want to expand the line to include a lot more products, but I also want to do potentially a collaboration with another designer. Really expand to much more. We’re already global, but I really want to be just as popular in Europe as we are in the US, which I don’t think is far off.
JD: Can we expect an NFT from a piece of yours or is that in development already?
LV: I’ve been thinking about different ways of doing it, and it’s definitely interesting, and I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it.
JD: How do you see the balance of developing your sustainability while developing ski fashion brand?
LV: In the beginning, I actually really wanted to try and create an entirely sustainable line, but the unfortunate part is that we just can’t find materials that have high enough performance, and I’m not going to make something where people are freezing outside. There has to be a balance there. So we’ve definitely tried to be very conscious of packaging, being more environmentally friendly, where we get our products from. Roman is very conscious about that, and he does a great job sourcing from very reliable people that are very sustainable. So I’m really happy with what he’s doing, and we’ll obviously always continue to do that. But, I really am adamant on the performance aspect.