Renaissance of natural fibres at Outdoor Retailer

30 August 2012

The renaissance of natural fibres continued to be an important theme at the 2012 Outdoor Retailer Summer expo in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Close to 27,000 outdoor industry members gathered in August to display, preview and purchase 2013 gear to help consumers get active outside. This expo has set records for one of the country’s fastest growing trade shows in both exhibitor and buyer attendance.

The expo ran from August 2 to 5, preceded by the Open Air Demo on August 1 at Jordanelle State Park, giving visitors a chance to see the products in action.

Colour and lightweight themes permeated the show and there was a strong trend towards bright colours. Whilst it appears major brands are fighting for the high-end consumer and used the expo to launch the latest in technological innovations, natural fibres will continue to play a significant role in outdoor apparel.

The Woolmark Company did not have its own stand at the summer edition of Outdoor Retailer, but its presence was still felt as a number of representatives attended the show.

The Woolmark Company Country Manager for Americas, Michelle Lee, said Outdoor Retailer provided a platform to connect with Woolmark partners as well as prospective partners.

“We made contact with a number of big-name, global brands and we look forward to working with them in the future,” Ms Lee said.

“There appears to be the desire to make all apparel softer and lighter and the meetings we had were a great way to tell the story of Merino wool and the fibre’s wonderful, natural attributes. Being able to show how comfortable Merino wool apparel can be, while at the same time explaining how and why it is a high-performance fibre, is great for buyers and retailers alike.”

At the summer edition of Outdoor Retailer there appeared to be more of an interest in Merino wool for the winter months, however there were still a lot of base layer options exhibited at the recent show.

“Base layer hiking apparel made from Merino wool continued its popularity and brands such as Neve reported there being a crossover between sports and leisure apparel.”

Woolmark licensee Smartwool introduced new Merino running gear and sport bras, and Minus 33 exhibited a healthy number of lightweight base layers.

The winter edition of Outdoor Retailer will be held January 23 to 26 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City. An all-mountain demo will take place on January 22 at Solitude Mountain Resort.