Now that all of the dust has settled after the holiday season, everyone is back at work in what is one of the busiest times of year for the technical apparel industry. In the outdoor apparel and gear world, January and February are packed with trade shows, where manufacturers go to showcase what they are developing and producing. There are three major trade shows, each with a slightly different purpose and perspective on the industry, so many people attend all three.
Outdoor Retailer ("OR") - Jan 22-25
Held in Salt Lake City, Utah, OR is the premier event in the United States and focuses both on apparel and gear. Not only do all of the largest consumer brands show here, but many sourcing and trim manufacturers show as well, so this is the place to be to stay on top of new technology in fabric and trim elements. OR is where many consumer brands market their products to third party retailers (department stores and chain and speciality retailers), and often the booths are crowded with guests trying to get a look at products that won’t be on the public market for another year. Because Toren will be selling directly to consumers, we wouldn’t participate in the marketing portion of OR - this is the stage where garments move from a 2x markup by the manufacturer to the 4-6x markup for retail and consumer purchase - but we’d love to go to see all the new sourcing and trim developments in the industry.
Snowsports Industry America (“SIA”) - Jan 30-Feb 4
SIA is held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver and it is snowsports all day, every day. SIA has a reputation as being both a great show and a great time. The last few days are wholly spent on on-snow demos and tests of skis, snowboards, boots, bindings, goggles, poles, and everything else you can think of at nearby Copper Mountain. Like OR, SIA has a small but growing sourcing component, which Ethan attended last year. We look forward to seeing how this aspect grows in years to come.
ISPO Munich - Jan 26-29
ISPO is the largest show and the premier technical apparel expo worldwide. Manufacturers from all over the world visit ISPO, which gives it a different feel than OR and SIA, which focus primarily on domestic markets. As you might expect, ISPO is an international “work hard, play hard” type of environment and is set very close to the mountains, so there’s plenty of apres-work fun to be had. We’ve got this one written in pen on our 2015 calendar for the whole team. Plus, since we will have made the trek across the pond to Germany, no reason not to stay to get a few full days of skiing in after the show!
Last year, Ethan spent a few days at SIA getting a feel for the lay of land and connecting with fabric and trim sources. This year, we’re 100% focused on making sure we deliver the Fundamental Shell to you in just a few months, so we won’t be making the trip. We’re looking forward to the year we visit all three!