Retail sales in the outdoor industry suffered a major blow from the demise of two large specialty retailers, Sports Authority and Sport Chalet, which occurred during the third quarter of 2016. In spite of this, the Outdoor Specialty market, which covers a broad range of categories, including physical exercise, culture and health, recreation and lifestyle, still showed positive growth trends, as consumer interest in outdoor sports and lifestyle continued to remain constant.
The NPD Group reports that while Athletic Specialty / Sporting Goods sales were down -4.1% overall, these retail stores still represent the highest amount of outdoor sports sales at $12.7B for the 12 months ending October 2016. Outdoor Specialty retailers and Sport Specialty E-Commerce lead Outdoor Industry channels in year-over-year sales growth percentages, with sales of $4.0B (+3.2%) and $2.0B (+7.2%) respectively. During the same period, the top three apparel categories were Outerwear ($1.7B at +6.2% growth); Footwear ($785M at +3.2% growth); and Sportswear ($610M at +5.3% growth).
The FabricLink Network looks at several innovative performance products showcased at ORWM'17 that help these categories maintain their strength.
Schoeller offered schoeller®-WB-400, a new innovative outerwear fabric, which is cozy, soft, and layered insulating fleece that utilizes a Local Wool soft-shell fabric with a wool interior layer. The natural high-tech layered fabric provides a completely new insulated soft-shell look, and is an exciting alternative to conventional down in outerwear. The groundbreaking blend of the light insulation fleece is made of wool with a special layered construction. The washable wool comes from sustainable sources in Europe and is mulesing-free.schoeller®-WB-400 fabric is available with or without a membrane, and the shape-retaining, yet elastic, wool fleece is sandwiched between an elastic polyamide exterior and a soft inner lining. This breathableschoeller®-WB-400 soft-shell fabric is available in earthy shades or sophisticated black, and is suitable for convnetional sewing.
Cordura® and Woolrich steamed up to bring back their Popular '90s Wool-Dura™ Collection for a new 21st Century Outerwear collection in celebration of the Cordura® brand's 50th anniversary. The new Wool-Dura™ Collection commemorates "heritage meeting innovation." Wool-Dura™ is an authentic fabric that combines the durability of CORDURA® fiber and the natural properties of Woolrich® wool. Produced in the historic Woolrich Woolen Mill, the collection includes strong, enduring garments for an authentic outdoor lifestyle. The latest line of fabrics using Wool-Dura™ are inspired by its hunting heritage, and are designed to function in both outdoor and urban environments.
Polartec drew from its past successes to showcase several of its established products from the major brands at ORWM'17. The following are some of the Polartec products featured: 1) The Polartec® Classic Series in a jacket from 99 Degrees, which is available in lightweight, midweight, and heavyweight fleece fabrics providing warmth, comfort, and breathability: 2) PolartecÂ® Alpha™ Direct insulated jacket from Rab, offering the highest levels in freedom of movement and warmth in the lightest possible package; and 3) Polartec® Delta™ in a garment from Oiselle, which provides moisture management capabilities, a reduction in skin cling, regulated drying, and without the use of any chemical treatments.
Cold Pruf focused on its men's base layer collections for the 2017 season, which include: 1) The Zephyr waffle knit fabric collection, made from 100% Coldpruf Technical Fiber Polyester polyester with Silvadur™ Intelligent Freshness, offering flat seams, drop-tail crew, and underarm mesh inserts for additional ventilation; 2) The Men's Platinum II collection, a two-layer engineered base layer with a more modern regular fit, made from a plaited fabric with the outside layer of 70% polyester/30% Merino wool and the inside layer of 100% ColdPruf Technical Fiber Polyester with Silvadur™ Intelligent Freshness; and 3) The Men's Journey line, ColdPruf's military 5oz. 100% polyester performance fleece, which has become popular with the sportsmen, hunting, and fishing market.
Columbia featured its Fall/Winter 2017 Men's Athletic Performance Stretch Underwear collections, featuring OMNI-WICK Advanced Evaporation for progressive wicking functions and its OMNI-FREEZE ZERO technology for long-lasting cooling. The line of bottoms contain boxers, briefs, and trunks, and the baselayer tops feature crew-neck tees, muscle tees, and V-neck tees. The styles are made of poly/spandex, cotton/spandex, cotton/poly/spandex, or nylon/spandex mesh. Besides the innovative technologies mentioned, all the underwear bodies feature the comfort of flat, anti-chafing stitches, are tag free, and are made using antimicrobial-treated stretch fabric that is anti-pill.