Catwalk meets mountain trail

29. April 2020
by Teun van der Zijden

In a development hard to miss, leading fashion brands have increasingly been using elements inspired by outdoor wear in their designs. Conversely, brands such as The North Face, Arc’teryx and Patagonia are launching lines that still call on their outdoor heritage, but are explicitly targeted at the wider public and suited to everyday use.

Sports-based connotations of athleticism, energy and freedom have always been a strong basis for brand building. Brands like Helly Hansen and Polo Ralph Lauren have built their success on bringing some of sport’s appeal to everyday life. But more and more, luxury brands that would scoff at outdoor apparel now also strike partnerships with such labels.

For Dutch consumers, this phenomenon is nothing new. When working with a leading pan-European outdoor retail group a few years back, the differences we found between countries were striking. While UK and German consumers would basically use outdoor wear for what it was originally meant for, the Dutch would wear their heavy-duty jackets and parkas on their weekly shopping trips or when walking the dog. Fashion buffs ahead of their time, or simply poor taste – I’ll leave that up to you.

This fashionability of outdoor wear has been great news for retailers in the sector. In the 2019 edition of our annual EY-Parthenon Retailer Performance Ranking, Sports & Outdoor is the only retail subsegment where consumers laud all retailers for having improved versus the year before. Still, outdoor retailers will face a whole new set of competitors if they decide to position themselves more towards casualwear. And brands will need to reconsider their marketing and distribution strategies.

 Are you a retailer or outdoor brand also looking to ride this waive? Reach out to discuss what EY-Parthenon can do for you.

The views reflected in this article are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the global EY organisation or its member firms

Outdoormerken hadden altijd een wat belegen uitstraling. Dat is voorbij. Wie zich nu een cool en stoer uiterlijk wil aanmeten, draagt klassieke buitensportmerken.