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Fabrics for outdoors slip into everyday lifestyles
Sep '13
Fabrics for the great outdoors are leaving the mountaintops, rivers, stadiums and trails...and coming to the city. And they’re taking on urban sports as well as slipping into everyday lifestyles.

From jeans makers to sport specialists to luxury brands, everyone is extending high-performance products to cover city uses. “We had stopped pitching our product to fashion brands because the market had changed. But the market has come back to us, particularly the luxury brands and designers. They’re looking for performance, original visual aspects and quality,” says Olivier Balas, CEO of Balas.

The same point of view is shared by Dagmar Signer, head of marketing and communication at Schoeller: “We find there is more and more demand for fabrics classified ‘mountain’ for use in street clothes. Hybrid garments like Levi’s Commuter pants are designed for cycling in the city, meaning part-sports, part-daily life. And we are only at the beginning of this trend.”

From season to season, the borders between clothing styles are opening up. And inspiring more than one designer, like Jean Colonna.

“I have always been attracted to technical fabrics. For the past three and a half years, I’ve been working for the South Korean leader of outdoor clothing, Kolon Sport. Besides the alpine collection, we use very outdoor-style fabrics for everyday garments, for a coat that will stand up to anything, or for a 3-button jacket in unlined Gore Tex.”

“The city is a veritable open-air laboratory, scanned and analysed by brands. Behaviours change.  For young people, for example, there is no barrier between the sports culture, street culture, designers and jeans brands. They mix it all up without thinking twice about it,” says Kathryn O’Brien, Design Director of Sport Performance at Adidas

“You also have to take into account that, in the city, people have longer and longer commutes. So they link together work, getting together with friends, outings and sports. You have to make their lives easier,” she concludes.

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