Fashion and Gear for the Decidedly Outdoorsy

Tracey Meyers
·4 min read

Shoppers are spending a lot more time outside — and the recent upticks in demand for fashionable outerwear and outdoorsy technical gear prove that consumers are seeking nature, whatever the weather.

Let’s begin with outerwear, an undeniably hot category that seems to sizzle a touch more each year. In a report by Grand View Research, the global winter wear market size was valued at $268 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4 percent from 2019 to 2025. The report cites climate change, depreciating environmental conditions and frequent travel to cooler destinations as drivers for spikes in categorical growth — but fashion worth lusting over undoubtedly plays a role, too.

And new collections from brands such as Ienki Ienki, a Ukrainian outerwear brand, make it so. Inspired by Far North travels, its fall 2020 collection is influenced by journeys to the Polar Circle and evolution of the Arctic lifestyle, the brand said — beginning with “ancient unknown nations to the explorations of the Polar Circle by scientists.”

The brand’s name actually says it all: Ienki Ienki stems from the Evenki, an indigenous ethnic group that hails from northern Siberia.

Due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ienki Ienki “re-created the atmosphere of the Far North right in the middle of its Kyiv’s showroom,” to shoot its new collection. Ukrainian artists Masha Reva, Ivan Grabko, stylist Nadiia Shapoval and a team of 40 created a polar station and a “chum” — a temporary dwelling used in the North, the brand said, and stayed on theme with accessories made specifically for the shoot, such as ski mukluks and sunglasses worn by indigenous people from the Arctic islands.

Dima Ievenko, founder of Ienki Ienki, said “It was very important for us to take the best out of the shearling coat functionally and create something great stylistically. Because of their structure, it was hard to make the coats soft and light, but we managed to do that as well to keep their recognizable silhouettes.”

Consisting of three lines — “Shearling,” which includes the brand’s classic styles and its soft “Braille” material to “make the coats even more airy”; “Vegan,” featuring products made of econyl, or recycled fishing nets, and uses oyster shells from the Taiwan seaside to fill the coats in lieu of goose down; and the “Ski” collection that incorporates Gore-Tex into a variety of coat styles, pants and overalls for winter travel, après ski and beyond, as it’s made with fabric technology that is water-repellent and keeps out cold air, the brand explained.

But when searching for means to navigate any landscape, consider an e-bike, one of the most significant shopper trends to emerge during the coronavirus pandemic: E-bike company VanMoof said this year its global second-quarter sales growth for e-bikes year-over-year was 379 percent and its U.S. sales increase year-over-year was 91 percent.

Its sales even outperform electric cars, as 130 million e-bikes are expected to be sold globally between 2020 and 2023, the company said.

VanMoof explained that e-bikes are bicycles with an integrated electric motor and beat out mopeds when it comes to cost, especially since mopeds are considered motorized vehicles, and require gas and registration. E-bikes have a legal limit for 20-mph, but some higher-end models reach the 30-mph range.

Since e-bikes are considered bicycles by most states, riders can legally use them on streets and trails. And in spite of its motor, e-bikes are still considered a form of exercise: All e-bikes have pedals, and riders can choose turn off a bike’s motor if a workout is wanted.

And to keep staying warm as the weather turns cold, peruse the selection at Lowa, a heritage European brand in the footwear business since 1923. Shoppers can rely on the brand’s proprietary technology that promises warm and dry for the wearer throughout its offering of premium outdoor boots and shoes.

Lowa’s “Wendelstein” boot is a strikingly handsome unisex style, which it describes as “a luxurious take on a traditional mountain boot, with classic touches such as D-ring lace loops, embossed full-grain leather, glove leather lining and stitched-down construction” — a much-desired blend of style and function. Lined with super-soft glove leather that conforms to your foot, this shoe can be worn by urbanites or for light trail use. The Wendelstein style in dark brown with its red heel, retro logo and contrasting red laces makes for a classic outdoor boot.

Alternatively, take a look at Lowa’s “Casara” boot, a waterproof, breathable, shearling-trimmed style with embossed split leather uppers for “a touch of rustic elegance” and an inside zipper, which means laces only need to be tied one time. The Casara boot is designed for casual cold-weather wear, but said it is particularly well-suited for time-honored activities such as walking the dog — or grabbing a cup of coffee after yoga.

For more Business news from WWD, see:

Outdoor Brands Talk Coronavirus Impacts

Brick-and-Mortar, Digital Retailers Adjust Strategies in Wake of Coronavirus

Field Notes: How Fabric Is Helping Save the Planet

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