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Icebreaker opens first store in Chicago
Dec '13
Icebreaker, the New Zealand clothing company that pioneered merino wool for the outdoors, has opened its first Midwest store at 44 E. Walton Place in Chicago’s Gold Coast, just in time for the holidays.

From commuter cyclists and dog walkers to sports enthusiasts and nature lovers, Icebreaker plans to keep Chicagoans warm in winter and cool in summer.

“We’re really excited to be opening in Chicago and introducing Icebreaker to active, style-savvy Chicagoans,” says Jeremy Moon, Founder and CEO of Icebreaker. “Icebreaker was founded to give active people a natural alternative to synthetics. We source merino wool from The Southern Alps of New Zealand to create beautiful and stylish apparel that feels like cashmere yet is machine washable.”

“It’s about time people have the choice to wear a sustainable, natural fiber rather than the petrochemical synthetics which dominate outdoor and sports apparel.”

Apparently, Icebreaker arrived just in time as Chicago temperatures dropped to single digits last week and Chicagoans experienced freezing weather up to Thanksgiving.

The Chicago store features Icebreaker's complete line of innovative merino wool apparel, including Outdoor, Run/Fitness, Underwear, Travel/Lifestyle collections and Socks and Accessories.

A percentage of opening week sales will benefit Active Transportation Alliance in Chicago, a not-for-profit organization helping to build a movement around alternative transportation and Chicago events, encouraging physical activity.

Merino Layers

Icebreaker has adapted merino wool into a system of lightweight layers that can be worn next-to-skin in warmer weather, then layered up for insulation in the cold.

Moon explains, “Merino regulates temperature.  It warms in the cold and cools in the heat – a great selling point for the Midwest, given its hot summers and freezing winters.”

Merino is also known for its antimicrobial benefits which means that it’s odor resistant and can be worn for days – sometimes weeks – without washing.

Nature’s Design    

The Chicago store will debut a number of new interior design features that tell the Icebreaker story and engage shoppers. Upon entering the store, customers are met by a “mountain” display that demonstrates Icebreaker layers and key styles.

New Zealand sheep stations, home to the sheep that provide the all-natural merino wool used by Icebreaker, served as inspiration for the materials and textures throughout the store. This includes the natural woods specified for the walls, fitting rooms and floor fixtures to the natural steel incorporated into the design of the tables. The store wall surrounds the interior with inspirational images from the Southern Alps of New Zealand, the source of Icebreaker’s merino wool.

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