For many years, fashion has been an issue for the outdoor industry. For some, fashion is a necessary further development of the segment, for others it is understood as high treason. Outdoor has for many years seen itself as a counter-design to fashion: only two collections a year, long development and production times, purely functionally oriented cuts and materials, and technical innovations drive the dynamics, not the looks.
Consumers and fashionistas have now discovered this almost anachronistic segment for themselves - outdoor has got an urban offshoot. The OutDoor trade fair, which took place in Friedrichshafen from 18 to 21 June, took a first step towards this development by launching its own Urban Outdoor Area. “The outdoor marketplace is evolving further and opening up more new sectors that address a wider target group. We want to help drive this development forward at OutDoor 2017 with a new, innovative concept – ‘OutDoor Plus.’ These extended themes are designed to strengthen the synergies between the outdoor industry and other sectors,” explains Stefan Reisinger, head of OutDoor.
The new floor concept for such fusion brands, named "OutDoor Lifestyle Collection" in Hall A6, should show how versatile outdoor can be today. With barely twelve exhibitors – ranging from more well-known names such as shoemaker Blundstone, tent specialist Heimplanet and bag company Pacsafe to Berlin start-up Arys - however, much imagination was necessary to get an inspiration.
More convincing were the collections of the outdoor brands themselves, which have developed more fashionable looks than ever with even more attention to a faster rhythm. Jack Wolfskin, for example, presented fashionable blousons for men, climbing specialist Edelrid showed strapped leggings, Adidas introduced trail-running jackets with block stripes and Fjällräven launched the first colorful Greenland Collection (which will turn 50 years in 2018, and only changed in details!). For the first time, brands such as Poler and Hippy Tree, both American representatives from the Urban Outdoor area, presented their collections.
All in all, the exhibition delivered a quite ambivalent picture. Even if the industry's sales figures are growing again after years of stagnation, the new outdoor hype didn’t appear to be visible at the OutDoor fair. There was neither the impression that a large number of new brands were looking for interested outdoor retailers, nor was a new group of retailers and buyers looking for outdoor collections in Friedrichshafen.