The leading brands in winter apparel are Oakley, Quicksilver, Saloman, Rossignal and Northface. After browsing both this season and discount clothing it was clear how extraordinarily high the prices of label gear is which protects skiing exclusivity as an activity.
In the interest of consumer feeback, I asked non-skiers what they thought of the prices, the response was clear that the cost was intimidating and is seen a discouraging warning sign about participating or trying winter sports. Intimidating prices lead to people resorting to buying cheaper shells with poor durability, low wind and water resistance which look pretty or warmer more durable jackets without key features such as snow skirts, snow cuffs or a high visibility shell.
Low cost brands such as Dare2b are durable in most conditions but lack the presence of their expensive rivaling brands.
Working In a Similar Field
During my research I discovered other designers working in a similar field of bespoke / ‘for the consumer’ winter wear, there is a severe lack in UK snow apparel production. The only UK based designer result is a fashion designer Katherine Thomas, an award winning fashion designer who offers elegantly tailored and luxurious women’s ski and winter clothing. Katherine Thomas design embodies the exclusivity of snow sports and does not share aims or direction with my business plan or company ethos. The lack of competitors of my chosen niche shows an opening in the market and a clear opportunity for my brand to thrive.
America has a market for bespoke ski gear with companies such as MYLOCKER offer personalized jackets on a very basic level, using opaque/baked screen printer dyes on existing standard jackets.
The most interesting US company I came across is NWT3K, who focus on “Personalization. Experience. Satisfaction”. This student / ski-bum lead company have the same business ideals which PonyoSquid will have in future, customer at the heart of the business products made by skiers for skiers. NWT3K offer customers to chose their own colour combinations for different jacket panels on a jacket template. The project leaders are product designers who have developed high performance wear that ‘shake the standards for design’ however, despite being technically fantastic I noticed the design team lack a textile design input for pattern or colour consideration. In the interest of building partnerships / networking and gain experience I intend to contact the leaders and ask them for advice, what their experiences are and how/if they considered the textile and pattern element. I hope this could lead to a transatlantic collaboration in future.
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