This week the very final edition of the OutDoor Show in Friedrichshafen was held, exactly on its 25th anniversary. Nostalgia, gratitude, a sense of curiosity and new lifestyle concepts dominated the event.
That the 25th OutDoor Show in Friedrichshafen would also be the last one has been certain for about six months: the European Outdoor Group (EOG) and organizer of the OutDoor trade fair voted in secret at the beginning of the year to move it to Messe München. Thus OutDoor 2019 will take place at the Munich Exhibition Center under the name OutDoor by Ispo. Many exhibitors expressed their gratitude for the performance of the trade fair, which played a major role in making the outdoor segment a success story. However, many were not uncritical of the fair's announcement that it was planning to launch a counter event to Munich's OutDoor next year. All over the exhibition grounds Messe Friedrichshafen advertised its newly planned show with posters but no one knows yet what the concept is, when the show will take place and which exhibitors will participate. The tenor was that two parallel trade fairs could only harm the industry.
With the presentation of new outdoor themes, the trade fair and the industry signaled a sense of optimism. First and foremost with the lifestyle trend, which ran through many collections with terms such as Urban Outdoor or Outdoor Lifestyle. Like last time, a separate Urban Outdoor Area included lifestyle brands such as United by Blue, Pally Hi, Icebug and Heimplanet. United by Blue from Philadelphia relies on natural fibers and a casual leisure look. "In the USA we are only present in fashion shops," explained Marc Schwarz, who distributes the label in Germany. "In this country, we can also sell United by Blue in outdoor stores that have fashion expertise."
Swedish manufacturer Icebug is one of the longstanding OutDoor exhibitors and showed up consciously in the lifestyle area for the first time in 2018. German boss Mathias Basedow sees the traditional outdoor look above the zenith: "Running, camping, climbing–all this is lifestyle, but you don't necessarily want to look like you're on an expedition. On the retail and brand side, we now need pioneers who are moving away from the status quo in terms of design without sacrificing performance." The shoe manufacturer wants to take up this challenge and showed a clean, stylish, Scandinavian design in new performance sneakers.
Numerous classic outdoor brands presented an even stronger fashion influence in their collections. Swiss outdoor heavyweight Mammut, for example, caused a sensation by presenting its new design language and the highly functional Delta X lifestyle collection for the first time at the fair. "We wanted to transfer our technical know-how from mountain sports to everyday life," explained Adrian Josef Margelist, who has served as the brand’s chief creative officer since last year. Mammut wants to reach customers who have come to appreciate the functionality of outdoor clothing and now demand it in everyday life. "But these customers don't want to look like they're coming straight from the mountain," Margelist said. The new collection for men and women, which will be officially presented to the fashion segment in Berlin in July, comprises around 30 items. In addition, Mammut showed the result of its realignment with a highly topical black and white theme, which ranged from mountain boots and backpacks to climbing ropes. White–a color previously unthinkable in mountain sports–has also been discovered by other brands, such as Jack Wolfskin in its Tech Lab line. The same applies to pastels.
Accessories play a particularly important role in the field of urban outdoor. Sleeping bags, hammocks, tents (finally made of printed and patterned fabrics) and especially camping gear are celebrating their premiere in the fashion segment and a revival in the outdoor area. "Especially the copper dishes are going very well with us," noted Schwarz of United by Blue.