CATEGORY: MEN’S OUTERWEAR
INTERVIEWEE: PAUL WHITTLE (MANAGING DIRECTOR)
What’s the overall theme behind your 2017/18 outerwear?
We have a real focus on freedom of movement, we’ve worked extremely hard on the new range of stretch fabrics but also on the cut and styling of each design to ensure that the products are working with the wearer to enhance their experience.
From where do you take your inspiration? What other brands, designers, artists or collectives do you follow who influence the style of your brand?
We have taken the decision to put the consumer at the centre of our design process, we are able to communicate more directly with our consumers than ever before and it makes it easier to understand what’s working and what isn’t. Obviously, we will also take feedback from our retailers on what they see in the market place but our overriding ethos is whether each product is right for our consumer and for the brand. We haven’t looked to emulate other brands who operate directly in our space but have looked more to street inspired colours and styling.
What are the two most important products in your 2017/18 range? Why? Please tell us about them.
The Paramount Jacket, a real move forward for Westbeach, featuring 30k/30k fabric and ergonomic design with Recco technology. On the back of two very strong seasons for our Backcountry products this is the most advanced jacket yet. We’re confident it meets the demands of the market having tested in both Europe and Canada and undertaken customer research on the design to ensure it provides a really strong signature piece for Westbeach.
Overdrive Bib Pant: Again Westbeach have a reputation for producing quality bib pants. This year we have gone a step further with the Overdrive which is in 20k/20k stretch fabric with Recco. Again, we have worked with our Riders to ensure the fit is spot on. These pants are fully seam sealed and really work with the movement of the rider so they reamain comfortable and dry in even the harshest of environments.
What percentage of your outerwear is sold online vs instore? What’s the best way to connect with customers who buy via both of these channels?
Roughly 30% online, 70% retail. The best way for the consumer to connect with Westbeach and see all we have to offer is through www.westbeach.com.
Are your price points going up or down?
Our prices have stayed at the same level but we have introduced some styles aimed at the younger rider which are more price accessible and the pricing hierarchy is so much more defined. Simplistically the range falls into 3 areas, 10k/10k, 20k/20k and 20k stretch and the pricing reflects each level.
What new fits / silhouettes are coming next year?
For men’s, generally our fits have slimmed down and we have a much wider range of non-insulated styles as the trend increasingly seems to be for layering.
What’s new in colours / prints?
We’ve gone for really rich colours for F1718 and ensured we have a strong contrast colourway and a plainer colourway in each slot. Again, we worked with our consumers on colour selection and it was the blacks, greens and golden browns that seemed to really come through and these are the colours we’ve predominantly gone with.
In terms of prints we’ve gone for subtlety for men’s going for checks and usually using it in panels so it’s easier to wear than an all over print.
Here’s the place to talk about fabrics, features and technical innovations. Here we’re principally interested in *NEW* technical stories that you haven’t offered to retailers previously.
We’ve really stepped up our use of stretch fabrics having had so much success with them last time around. Our new 30/30 fabrics have a really nice handle and obviously we’re using Recco now. Even our basic styles are now in a nice Oxford 10k/10k fabric.