“Outdoor Is Everything That You Do When You’re Not Indoor” – Introducing Tech-Causal

July 19, 2019 / Abbie Baynes  / 

At this year’s OutDoor by ISPO change was in the air, down the aisles and along the rails. But, this time, we’re not on about the new location.

Spring’s Stephanie says: “For the first time we noticed a real change in the offering of outdoor brands. It’s something that’s been creeping up on us but, seeing it in the flesh at a trade show, has made it very real”.

What are we talking about? Well, we’ve had “athleisure”, now meet “tech-casual”.

What is tech-casual?
The European culture change towards a much more informal workwear wardrobe combined with our growing attitude towards flexi-working and love for active outdoor weekends has led to younger consumers demanding clothes which work across multiple occasions, at different times. Apparel that technically functions no matter what the day throws at you or where it takes you. This is accompanied by an emphasis on premium fabrics and features and a desire to buy fewer, better clothes which last longer.

Who’s at the forefront?

The change is being led by fabric innovators, like Spring client Polartec, who exhibited at this year’s OutDoor By ISPO. As Polartec CEO Gary Smith told trade magazine Outdoori at OutDoor by ISPO: “Young people have grown up with technical efficiency and now the expectation is that their apparel not only has to look good, but it’s got to work – work in an active setting and a lifestyle setting too. You can’t just sell something on status anymore and charge a premium price. It’s got to work.

“What we’re seeing is the coming together of outdoor, sport, athletic, urban and fashion – there are no lines anymore. Most department stores don’t separate high end and sport now. Boundaries are over. Outdoor is everything that you do when you’re not indoor.”

What this means is that our obsession with wearable tech is becoming so ingrained that we’re expecting our clothes to be as capable as our phones, watches, gadgets and gizmos. But more than that, we’re expecting clothes with a conscience; not only do we want it to work, but it should work without impacting the environment. An environment we all want to spend more time in.

Polartec has most recently released Power Air: a fabric which encapsulates lofted fibres within a multilayer, continuous yarn fabric construction. It’s a revolutionary new material offering advanced thermal efficiency that is proven to shed five times less than other premium mid-layer weight fabrics. It’s just one element of their Eco-Engineering initiative which sets a new standard for sustainable textiles – including the creation of the world’s first fully recycled and biodegradable fleece, other knits, insulation fills and breathable waterproof fabrics.

“If you look at the consumer, they are wearing athletic and outdoor brands and it’s about what their apparel does for them: they want it to keep them warm dry safe and cool. In a nutshell it needs to work but it also needs to look good, feel good and be versatile. As the newer generation takes over there’s an expectation of sustainability. Ultimately the most sustainable product you can make is the one that lasts a long time.”

It’s that younger consumer who the most innovative brands are looking towards; they’re the ones who are changing the field. Not defining outdoor brands by being just for cyclists or walkers but instead focusing on the features, the tech, the extras offered by each brand.

“Many brands are getting super interested by tech fabrics.” Says Gary Smith. “Aesthetics are no longer the only important selling point in the clothes we buy. We expect our clothing to do something for us too.

 “The expectation for things to work are high. When the new generation buys something, they expect it to work. All the non-technical brands are waking up to the fact that they need technical components. Upcoming generations of designers will never go back to the cotton domination. This is not a phase.”

Look out for brands including 66 North, Diadora, 8Js, Bleed, Magnethik, Bon Geulle, Moncler and Banana Republic who all use Polartec fabrics.

OutDoor by ISPO Round Up

July 19, 2019 / Abbie Baynes  / 

#TeamSpringOnTour

July is one of the biggest months in our industry for trade events. For the first time, ISPO moved locations from Friedrichshafen to Munich and was renamed ‘OutDoor by ISPO’. According to Jo, it was “hot, hot, hot! We won’t be packing our jeans next year”.

Did Munich work?

Although the show appeared busy, we were under the impression that there were fewer people than normal, “As a new show it was quieter than past events in Friedrichshafen; but then some brands were perhaps being cautious and not committing to the first one in order to check it out and make a decision for next year.”

But Stephanie ponders whether it was an illusion, “I wonder if it was because the halls are bigger and the walkways between a lot wider. I believe the attendance figures were similar to last year, but because the space is configured differently it felt emptier. 

It’s a thought mirrored by Outdoori journalist, Peter Luscombe, who was impressed by the planning and layout of the halls with their open aspect and wide spaces resulting in a “much more productive atmosphere” with the feeling of a “shared event rather than a succession of meetings”.

“Saying that”, adds Stephanie, “there were definitely fewer journalists flying out. Based on our records, media attendance was down 30 per cent – which could be explained by OTS in Manchester being a week later.” 

New style ‘hubs’ became informal breakout areas where people could mingle, network and learn. Spring client, Nikwax, discussed sustainability at the CSR hub and AKU talked about sustainability in footwear at the Sustainability Kiosk in Hall A5.


In the evenings, the new location proved to be good fun and great for catching up with clients properly. Jo said: “We got the opportunity to have dinner with Lilian and Simon from Ardblair Sports at a restaurant in the centre of Munich.” But Stephanie adds that there was still a longing for the atmosphere of Fred, “In conversations there was a relief that it wasn’t such a pain to get to but there was a cathartic longing for Friedrichshafen and its idiosyncratic villages and the lake with the beautiful restaurants that surround it. The outdoor vibe that was prevalent isn’t so prolific in Munich.”

But the new location did please with it being logistically much more manageable and easier to get to: “It was lovely to see Munich in summer as we’ve only ever seen it in winter whilst being knee-deepin snow.” Said Jo, Abbie added: “Munich is also great because there’s a u-Bahn metro system making everything easily commutable.”

 What were the results?

According to ISPO and cited by Outdoori, there were 1,018 exhibitors with 84 per cent of them being international. They were all vying for the attention of 22,000 trade visitors. ISPO called it a “huge success” with 87 per cent of their visitors rating this first event as good to excellent. The style of the halls was slightly different – as referenced above – organised more like a shopping mall and making stalls more eye-catching for passing trade. According to Outdoori, OutDoor by ISPO “hit the mark” and fully justified the confidence of its stakeholders.

 2019 trends?

There were two incredibly obvious trends this year: plastic-free and sustainable. “This was plain to see in the use of materials the stands were made up of – both recycled and upcycled materials made a big impact.” Says Jo. The lack of carpet, which must produce an incredibly hideous amount of waste for trade shows normally, didn’t go unnoticed also. 

“Nikwax had ingenuously taken a crate which had been full of product brought to the show and repurposed it into their reception desk. AKU was interesting as well as it had chosen to design its logo using recycled corrugated cardboard.”

When it comes to colour we all noticed two in particular –“electric blue with flashes of yellow” says Abbie, with Mammut and AKU (left) showcasing new boots in this fashion-forward colourway. This bright, colourful vibe was also witnessed at Hydro Flask and LEKI who had both incorporated exciting neon detailing in its 2020 products. 

There was a healthier feel to the show as well with fewer sweets and treats on the stands and more fruit – like big bowls of apples – which was good to see.

Who hit the mark?

We loved the reveal of LifeStraw’s new Home pitcher and Darn Tough’s vintage vibe with its range of athletic socks (right). Following Peter Luscombe’s thoughts, Jo said: “The Mammut stand was open and spacious and had a really cool rope making machine in the middle of the stand that generated rope in a mesmerising fashion. It was then cut into pieces and made into key rings to celebrate Mammut’s heritage with a Swiss flag design.” (Left).

Stephanie says, I loved the Borderlands area where Polartec was. It gave off a young, independent vibe and was very different to the rest of the trade show experience. The stands couldn’t have been more different: Polartec comprised a shipping container, was on two levels and had a structure made out of scaffolding poles. It was a bold move to break from the norm into this new concept area but we think it was a good one.”

This meant Polartec was close to many of the lifestyle brands giving them a chance to showcase their growth away from purely traditional outdoor activity clothing. Something you can read about in our interview with Gary Smith.

Into Mongolia

June 26, 2019 / Abbie Baynes  / 


Mammut athlete and climber, Madeleine Cope, has just returned from a three-week trip to Mongolia – not the first place you think of as a climbing location!

At the start of May, Madeleine Cope, together with friend and climbing partner, Hazel Findlay headed off to east Asia. Mongolia isn’t your traditional climbing scene; it doesn’t have a long history of climbing so there are is lot of unclimbed rock – but you have to search for it! If there’s anything Madeleine has learnt from her trip it’s the logistics involved in finding climbs in a relatively unclimbed-country. “We were stepping out of the box. Going somewhere with a blank slate.” Says Madeleine.
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Peak Mountaineering’s Pick & Play

June 26, 2019 / Abbie Baynes  / 
This month we spoke to Peak Mountaineering’s Paul Lewis, a blogger, mountain training provider and long-time friend of Spring PR, about his Peak District Pick & Play event hosted back in May. Pick & Play sees families, friends and outdoor enthusiasts come together for a day of outdoor activities and litter picking. This year was his biggest event yet.

Your Pick & Play has been running for six years now. What spurred you on in the first instance to start?

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Attending The Photography Show

April 1, 2019 / Abbie Baynes  / 

This month also featured the Photography and Video Show at the NEC in Birmingham, where Spring client Country Innovation showcased their collection of outdoor wear designed for professional and amateur photographers.

Spring’s Helen went along to find out about the newest and best gadgets on the market, including drones, cameras, lenses, microphones, bags, tripods – you name it! You could see it, touch it, test it and buy it. It was also a fantastic opportunity to learn from content creation experts in their field all about lighting, sound, apps, planning and preparation.  

Country Innovation Founder, Maria Chilvers, spent four days at the show and found it successful: 

“After winning awards for our Traveller Jacket and Raptor Waistcoat in the photography magazines due to their unique design and attention to detail, we decided to enter the main stage arena and exhibit for the first time at The Photography Show at the NEC. It has certainly opened up a whole new market for us. As well as meeting many core Country Innovation customers, we talked the talk to a whole variety of new photographers from all walks of life.

The Country Innovation team at The Photography Show

“We had an extremely busy four days at the Show, with a huge amount of interest for our brand new Aperture Jacket which has been specifically designed for the photography market. In addition to making new consumer contacts, we have also had some really good trade enquiries from leading camera retailers. Onwards and upwards!”

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