Steve:Hello and welcome to another podcast here at Summit Sports for skis.com and snowboards.com. I’m Steve and across from me today is Brigitte. She is apparel buyer here at Summit Sports. She’s been in the apparel, the clothing buying business for about 10 years and 3 have been with us. Brigitte, how’s it going?
Brigitte:It’s going good. How are you?
Steve:I’m very good. So, let me start off by asking, Do you ski or do you snowboard?
Brigitte: Yes, I don’t snowboard but I do ski.
S: You do ski. And how long have you been skiing for?
B:Well, I started skiing on-and-off out of college but seriously skiing the past three years.
S:Past 3 years, okay. And where do you usually ski? Do you ski here in Michigan, out west, both, everywhere.
B: Mostly Michigan but I do go out west. Usually I have to go out west for work so I try to get a ski trip while I’m there.
S: Okay. Now, when it comes to buying ski clothes, for the average consumer, does it matter if you ski out west or if you ski in the Midwest or Up North here in Michigan?
B: Yeah, there is a difference. I would say more people should look at weather of all things. If you know the temperature that you’re headed out to it’s best to dress for it. For example, if it’s like below fifteen degrees I’ll most likely wear my down coat. If it is just a regular cold, but not too cold, day, I have just a regular insulated jacket. And then there’s time when you’re spring skiing and it’s a little bit warmer and you don’t want to have too many layers so I’ll wear a shell with a Midlayer and I can just shed that Midlayer when it gets warmer out.
S: All right. And why should I choose a ski or a snowboard jacket instead of just a normal winter jacket.
B: Well, I look at a few key things when I’m buying. I think it’s really important that people do this when purchasing a winter ski coat. You would want a ski coat because it has a powder skirt and that keeps the snow from coming up your back. You should never ski in anything that’s not waterproof or breathable because you will get wet, for one, and without the breathability you’ll still get wet and cold because you’re not…the evaporation is not going through anything that you’re wearing.
S:So, all the sweat and moisture can’t get out of the jacket.
B:Exactly. The other things too are pockets are important, especially a Goggle Pocket. Just a big enough pocket to put your gloves in or to store things. I think that’s really crucial. I think a hood is very important too because on a cold day it can get really windy and you’re on a chairlift and it’s really nice to have a Hood block the air out.
S: Right. What are some of the trends that you’re seeing shifting from this past year, from 2012-2013 season, into next year?
B: Well this is the fun part of buying for me. When I was at the show this year, there was a lot of camouflage. I’m telling you, just straight across the board, every single vendor had some type of camouflage in there line, and that goes the same for men and women. The women’s you would see prints like lavender or just not your typical camouflage. And there was also neon camo and lots of exciting different camo, trust me, you’ll be seeing it everywhere out there this year.
S: Do you know, by any chance why camo…
B:I don’t know. It kind of started out this year a little bit but I had no idea it was going to explode the way it did now. Another print that’s going to be popular for women is florals. So, think about a print on a curtain or your grandma’s old couch. That’s something that is turning up. And floral prints, some of them are very pretty. The other one is the stretch pants. So, skinnier pants are now becoming the trend and that’s also for men or women. The fabrics that they use now is different than the ones they used in the past. You can have some pants that look like your outdoor legging or favorite jean but they’re not so bulky as they have been in the past. And they have the waterproof and breathability technology that you would need on the hill.
S:Can you tell if any trends are starting to wane or, you did say camouflage is starting to get trendy and florals are starting to get trendy, are there trends that we should kind of start staying away from because they’re kind of on the outs?
B: I think last year was a very big plaid year and this year not so much. I mean, it’s still around, I don’t think it will ever go out of style but certainly you’re not going to see the amount of plaid that you saw last year. There’s very, what’s kind of coming out for men is this mustard color. So, for pants and jackets you’ll see quite a bit of this in the competitive games, a lot of the pro-athletes will be wearing that. Some of the higher end lines like Monclair and Bogner are more retro inspired.
S: What does that mean “retro-inspired”?
B: They’re just most likely looks that you would see in the 70s. The way that they’re cut, the patterns, stuff like that. It looks like you’re looking at an old ski magazine from a long time ago. And also next season is the Olympic year so we’re going to have a lot of red, white and blue going on and that translates into the ski and snowboard industry.
S: Okay, so camouflage red, white and blue or not so much of that?
B: No, I don’t think it goes that far.
S: What are some looks that are “safe-bets” like year-after-year you kind of like, my dad or kind of myself, where I buy a ski jacket and I hold on to it for a while.
B: Kind of conservative.
S: Yeah, I don’t want to buy a plaid jacket this year and then in five years be the only one on the slopes wearing a plaid jacket.
S:What’s a safe bet?
B: There are a lot of classic styles especially from Spyder and Obermeyer. The Spyder Leader Jacket is something they’ve had in their line for years and it’s always our best selling coat. They might change it up a little bit but it’s always a safe bet with that coat. You can wear it for years on end, same with the Obermeyer Womens Leighton Jacket that they’ve had in their line continuously. The style fits a lot of women good and it’s something that they may switch the colors up but it’s a classic, nice fitting style and I always say too, you should have a black or white pant because that never goes out of style and it’s always your go-to piece for any outfit.
S:I was going to say, something that’s probably a solid colors or maybe one or two solid colors on a jacket would work.
B:Exactly, in fact, solids are really in. You’re seeing more solids now than you have in the past so I think that’s going to stay going for a while.
S: I’m going to throw one at you hear that I didn’t tell you about but we had talked a little about Board Shorts and things like that, I know we’re primarily skis.com and snowboards.com but there’s also wateroutfitters.com. Does anything translate? Like will you see the same pattern in somebody’s Board Shorts as you will in somebody’s snow jackets?
B:You sure will. The camouflage has already come out this summer so a lot of the big brands: O’Neill, Hurley and Billabong, you’re going to see the camouflage influence this summer already that’s coming into winter. A lot of the colors like lime green, you know the bright fun colors, because those that are usually big on the water is also to be seen on the snow too.
S:Are you excited about anything coming out in this next year?
B: Yes, there are a few things that are going on. The North Face has put out this…it’s called the Steep Series Line. They’re dedicating a whole line just to ski where in the past they would do a few Ski Jackets but mostly Triclimates but now they have a bunch of jackets, a bunch of pants that are a little more higher-end and, you know, Gor-Tex the price points are a step up, but it’s really good quality core ski stuff and that’s perfect for skis.com. Everybody is also trying to make their version of down which isn’t real down, it’s kind of like a faux-down but it’s supposed to be better than down but it has all the qualities of down but not the…the risk of wearing down is if you get it wet most of the time you’re in trouble so these have the warmth of down, the likeness of down but they’re waterproof. So, I’ve seen everyone do it but I don’t know yet until I wear it myself if it really works.
S:Okay, well you’ll have to let us.
B:I will for sue.
S: Any final things you want to tell us about any trends coming up or anything you would suggest?
B: I would say that right now there is kind of a “no rule” thing going on in ski and snowboarding. It’s really, there’s no you have to match this with that or this color looks better with this color. I think it’s really how good you feel and what you think looks good on you. I’ve seen everything on the hill these days and it’s just impossible to tell you what’s right or wrong, you can basically do whatever you want.
S: Okay, well thank you very much for joining us, Brigitte.
B:Thank you, Steve.
S: And we will certainly have you on again. Thank you for listening to our latest podcast here for skis.com and snowboards