February was ISPO month for the Spring team. Eleven of our clients, including first-timers Darn Tough Vermont socks, showed off their latest and greatest collections and innovations, spending three days in a very snowy Munich. Here’s our take on the good, the great and the down-right brilliant from this year’s offering.
Brands and their stands
Despite more than 15 years of ISPO experience, Stephanie continues to be impressed by the creativity of our brands: “I thought the Mammut stand was awesome. The product was well displayed and accompanied by lots of detailed information. They really communicated well – with iPhones on hand so that visitors could test out Mammut’s new ‘Connect’ technology.”
Abbie agreed and wanted to point out Reima’s offering as well: “Compared to its competition it looked very professional, clean, tidy and smart – and certainly caught the eye. They had designed a great big wall full of black and white clothing – a theme that prevailed at ISPO this year – which looked fantastic.”
Jo mentioned how LEKI’s stand attracted large crowds, “They always looked busy. The stand’s position – on one of the aisles – helped, but also how the team stood out in their booth uniforms and remained professional and incredibly helpful and approachable at all times really helped.”
“I loved LifeStraw’s new ‘LifeStraw Home’, says Abbie. It’s a pitcher with an inbuilt filtration device that removes chemicals and microplastics from your tap water – it will even remove limescale! It combined stylish Scandi-living with a technical twist.”
“And Reima’s Kinsei baselayers that have been made with a mixture of Merino wool and Lyocell (TENCEL®) which is a super-smooth, absorbent, quick-drying material made from the wood pulp of sustainably harvested trees. Reima also incorporated ‘living coral’ into its colour scheme.”
We must also mention here SMITH’s new Prospect Junior helmet which grows with your child. It features a dual stage liner system which will last from two to 12 years. “Wish I had that when my kids started skiing,” added Stephanie!
And Polygiene went one step further than preventing body odour by launching their new Odor Crunch™ technology which eliminates smells in your clothing from cooking, smoke and damp and produces zero waste and lasts a lifetime.
Trends – colour and sustainability
Living Coral is Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2019. An energising coral hue with golden undertones. It’s been adopted by many outdoor gear and accessories producers, including Spring client, CMP.
However, it wasn’t the only colour catching our eyes, “Bright yellow wasn’t a trend we were expecting to see at the show,” says Stephanie. “However I saw it everywhere, including on the Mammut stand.”
Our growing impact on the environment was also a trend. Sustainability was huge at ISPO 2019, as Stephanie says, “Now brands are having to demonstrate that they have been doing the right thing for a while and not just jumping on the band wagon.”
It meant those who have a proven history of environmental responsibility were shouting about it. “Polartec declared its dedication to recycling. A heritage that goes back 25 years. Now they are going one step further with their biodegradability promise.”
“Same with Nikwax. Their presentation by Founder, Nick Brown, underlined Nikwax’s commitment to reducing its impact wherever possible. And he announced their promise to ensure Nikwax bottles will comprise 85 per cent recycled content from July 2019.
“Also it was great to see newcomers, Darn Tough, showcasing their ethically sourced Merino socks.” Darn Tough has been manufacturing comfortable and durable socks from their Vermont mill for years, always employing people from the local community – another element to the sustainability trend.
Stephanie has been going to ISPO since 2002 and Jo for eight years. Over that time they’ve seen inevitable shifts in focus. As Stephanie says, “The big change in recent years has been social media. That instant coverage – it’s everywhere. Also, there are definitely a lot more events and parties than I remember in past years. It’s become much more sociable. You get a lot more from your show experience than you used to.”
Jo agrees, ISPO isn’t just a showcase for products anymore. So much more is expected from each brand: “There was an increased emphasis at this year’s Show on brands offering fun experiences. A prime example of this was the Nikwax run. Journalists tested out t-shirts, treated using Nikwax Base Fresh and Base Wash from the brand’s Sweatproofing range, whilst on a fun dash around the halls.”
Stephanie adds, “Also, and this is a strange observation, but on-stand snacks have taken a hit! I used to go to a meeting and delve into the bowl of treats, so much so that I had to train myself not too. This year there wasn’t the temptation. Although AKU’s Italian hospitality with local cheese and prosecco was very welcome!”
Brands are catching onto our desire for a healthier outdoor lifestyle. It’s something Jo noticed as well, “Being kinder to ourselves by staying healthy at the Show was prominent, with fewer options for snacking on unhealthy, sugar-laden treats on the stands. There was a lovely little bistro in the Messe that offered the most delicious ‘Happy Day Salad Bowl’ which kept me going and stopped the afternoon slump.”