Don’t Judge a Ski Jacket by its Colour

Posted on February 18, 2014 in Interview Reviews Ski Holidays by Tim.Fowler Tags: , , , , , ,

Ellis Brigham have a great reputation in the industry due to their fantastic heritage. Over the last 75 years, much like Inghams, they have  grown to become one of the leading specialists in the field. We met up with Dave Whitlow from Ellis Brigham to discuss the types of jackets we’re seeing on the market this year and where he thinks the trends with regards to ski jackets is heading.

 “What are the current trends for this season with regards to ski jackets?”

You have got the Prestige collection right at the very top with brands like Spyder, Goldwin and Killy. They tend to be wealthy, established skiers who either stay at or own some of the best accommodation in the Alps.
The next category is probably Alpine and that is your classic family skier . Tend to ski as a family group and stay in a chalet. Ski Wear at its finest really, really wearable, reasonably affordable and really performance driven, practical, brands like Salomon and Eider. It is not over ostentatious like some of the premium stuff is but it is hard working and the great thing about all of it is its great stretch fitting fabrics which is very flattering. The women’s stuff tends to be sexy, the trousers are slightly more fitted. They are definitely tighter and very flattering. They fit all shapes and sizes. A lot of women’s jackets in that category has a fur trim on hoods and things like that which I think make them great for back home, après ski and that sort of stuff. The guys stuff makes the typical pear shaped 50 year old guy look like a broad shouldered, slim wasted ski instructor which is exactly what they want. 60% of what we sell is in the Alpine category.
And then there are two sort of related categories, there is the Big Mountain or back country and that is the Gortex stuff, top end North Face that tends to be Gortex worn over with insulated layers, really targeting skiers that are maybe using guides, going very much beyond the piste into the back country. They need maximum breathability for going beyond the scope of the lifts and total performance for coming down in very deep snow and sometimes challenging weather conditions.
Last category is probably Freestyle which is really ski/snowboard, young, seasonnaires, definitely flying budgets, massive accommodation in self catering apartments, terrain park and back country. The look is generally long and baggy. There is a real cross pollination between skiing and snowboarding in this category and very often they are the same people but just defined by their choice of sliding tools be it skis or snowboard. Very much the same man. They like listening to the same music, wear the same type of clothing off the slopes. From the ski perspective there’s a great new Swedish brand called Colour Wear who we are doing well with and a French brand called Picture. They are quite fun, very bright and the snowboard type styles tend to be more retro, outdoor, that sort of thing.

“Where do you see the future of ski jackets with regards to advancing technologies?”

More stretch fabric I think because they can really engineer some great styles now. There is a new Japanese brand we are doing this year called Goldwin which have a Japanese phrase called “Kigokochi” which essentially means it is a perfect combination of lightness, style, fit and function and essentially they would spend as much time engineering the inside of the jacket as the outside of the jacket so it gives incredible performance but gives an amazing almost effortless fit. You are wearing it but you don’t feel like you are wearing it. So it is a real 3D engineered shape but some of the features of the lining creates some spacing between your body and the jacket itself so it does not feel like it is dragging on you or touching you.  It has to be tried on to appreciate it but they combine that with super stretchy fabrics and that is were the classic, older established ski market is going towards, fit and comfort. In the more edgy stuff we have seen a lot of the big mountain brands opt for contrast colour zips recently like Norrona but these are definitely coming to the end of its cycle and you are going to see more tone on tone stuff. For example a bright blue jacket which has bright blue zips and often worn with bright blue trousers so it is a more monochrome look, still bright colouring but monochrome look.

What would you say is the worst ski outfit you can remember wearing?

Some of the bright Nevica stuff from the 80s at the time seemed like a great idea with matching fluorescent face paint and I had some quite dramatic hairstyles to match!

The great thing about skiing and clothing is that it’s always an opportunity for people to express themselves a little bit. You get a wide variety of people, interacting and socialising and it seems to not matter because they have a shared interest. That’s what makes it such a special sport, there’s a common ground in skiing!

Many thanks to Dave Whitlow from Ellis Brigham for taking the time to speak to us.

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