Interviewee: Tomas Koudela, Head of Sales and Marketing
What’s the overall theme behind next year’s outerwear?
It’s HF30. We will celebrate the 30th brand anniversary in Fall 2019! It all started back in 1989 in British Columbia because of snowboarding and we kept the snowboard DNA in every single line since then. But for the new W1920 collection we also did a lot of upgrades in the collection. We bring in a new structure of the collection, sick collabs and signature lines, fresh colours and patterns, new innovative technologies. Plus and the most important, we keep the hi-end quality that will not break your bank. All this is backed by our team and crew, who are testing the products every day, on the streets same as in the mountains.
From which big trends do you take your inspiration? And which other brands, designers, artists or influencers do you follow who shape the style of your brand?
We still stand by the fact that the fundamental purpose for our collections is to keep our brand’s style and DNA. All of our inspiration comes from our Girl Squad members, crew and the artists we follow. We use both our own and our Girl Squad members knowledge and feedback to develop the style, cuts, and technology. The brand’s unique style is more key than all general trends. You need to take them and incorporate them into your style. Essential step forward for our women’s line was the start of the cooperation with Heida Birgisdottir, the founder and former owner and designer of iconic women’s brand Nikita, who works now together with our design department as the women’s collection supervisor.
KEY PRODUCT FOCUS:
What are the three most important products in next year’s range? Why? Please tell us about them.
Maika is our most technologically advanced women jacket made from hi-end Ultratech laminated membrane with 15.000mm waterproofness and 15.000 gm breathability. For the new generation of the highest ATP women jacket, we use the innovative Clo Teknica Vivo Insulation, that increases the breathability of the insulation by 30% without losing the excellent thermal performance. Maika also has the full ATP hi-end package of our tech features that include YKK zippers, threads by Coats, snag-free vents with mesh backing, fully taped seams, snow skirt with the non-slip band, jacket – pant connectors and many more. Maika is available in three plain colours and one strong-eyecatcher pattern called Avatar.
Luann is the highest model in the Urbain Mountain line and has a perfectly tailored long parka fit. Is made from hi-end Ultratech laminated membrane with 15.000mm waterproofness and 15.000 gm breathability, and the high tech 60g Primaloft insulation. Full pack of our technical features with interior sherpa panel and four strong colourways makes this jacket the favourite piece in our collection. In the Navy colour is the Girl Squad choice.
NENNA BIB PANTS
Nena women’s bib pants are everyone’s favourite piece in the collection. With 15.000mm waterproofness, 15.000 gm breathability and 40g of our PET insulation, this bibs will back every kind of riding. Available in four colourways, where Andorra with Jungle printed pocket was the first Girl Squad choice from the collection.
What percentage of your outerwear is sold online vs. in store, both by yourselves and your retailers? What’s the best way to connect with customers who buy via these different channels?
This is the big theme of today and the online sales go slowly over the 50:50 split. Anyway, these two groups are still very connected when we talk about the core part. Moving to the core-mainstream segment, as we define the most significant part of our target group, there is still that part of the communication, which is essential for both groups, but also the significant part that is different as customers perceive the products differently when shopping off or online.
Are your price points going up or down? Where does this pressure come from?
We keep the pricing unchanged for the last couple of years when we talk about the price points. We believe there is a certain price level, a specific group of customers reacts on and it’s important to keep it in the line same as the style or hi-tech oriented products.
What new fits/silhouettes are coming next year?
Fits are the critical part when designing the women’s line. So we kept in the line all our bestsellers shapes and reworked the ones where was still room for improvement. This has resulted in three different cuts – Tailored Long, Tailored Mid and Tailored Regular. In the pants, we feel the same move as in the men’s line, the comeback of the regular fits. We added few to the line, same as the new Nenna bib pants. We also follow the anorak trend in the women’s line.
What’s new in colours/ prints?
This is the most visible part of this year’s development. Our W1920 collection contains a lot of new colours and patterns.
Dominant in the women’s ATP line is the Avatar pattern inspired by coloured night leaves. Also the Sycamore green, Cement and Clover red are new, solid colours.
In the Urban Mountain line is so hard to choose a favourite. Two strong patterns, Snowflakes inspired by the night snowfall and the Jungle are the most visible colourways. But the darker Navy, Orchid and Lemon plain colours are big rivals to the patterns. Both Navy and Jungle are our Girl Squad favourites.
In the Base Camp line, the Candy pattern catches the attention. With the Mint, Peach, Navy, and Clover make these colours an excellent selection for both, girlie and darker fans.
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 are introducing some new technical features in this collection. The most important one is the use of Clo Teknica Vivo Insulation, that is used in some of the hi-end ATP line jackets. The unique Clo fibre construction with Vivo concept maximizes breathability and thermal comfort of the jackets. Vivo increases the breathability of the insulation by up to 30 %. Vivo is a concept where a series of tiny apertures are set within the insulation to enhance the breathability without losing thermal performance. Apertures set in Vivo’s unique design allow moisture to move away from the body unimpeded, while simultaneously trapping air and so enhancing warmth and comfort through high breathability. Clo Insulation focuses on performance and ecology by utilizing Eco fibres recycled from plastic bottles.
For this collection, we increased the breathability on our Ultratech high-tech waterproof and breathable shell fabric that features laminated membrane on every produced jacket in Horsefeathers line. In this line, each fabric has the same breathability number as the waterproofness, so the range is from 5/5 to 20/20.
We also reworked our high-performance jacket interiors, where the interior panels throughout the collection lines are based on optimal performance and product focus. The interiors are made of segmented mesh panels that optimize temperature regulation and maximize comfort and the nylon taffeta sections, which are used for extra warmth and smooth interaction with other layers. Through testing different volumes in a wide range of materials, the best weight-warmth-breathability functionality was achieved across the product range. Women appreciate extra thermal comfort, so we added an ergonomic inner panel made of sherpa lining to selected women‘s models. This adds an extra warm layer on the back, yet still keeps the jacket very breathable.
What are your top marketing stories for next season? This will help us to put some focus in the right place.
The main story since day one is the brand snowboard DNA and authenticity, the whole Horsefeathers crew and the team. This brand story is even more critical now when the brand will celebrate the 30th anniversary from the first Horsefeathers idea showing that the DNA of the brand is the same since 1989.
The key story within the women’s line its a Girl Squad, a group of action-packed girls connected to the brand that love adventures, fun, and snowboarding. Apart from working tightly with the design team, they also picked their favourite combos. Girls go by their own rules! If you do so as well, then join the Girl Squad. Everyone can follow or joint them on @girlsquadrocks and #girlsquadrocks.
We are proud of our actual team, that is strongly backing our brand and sharing the same values, so we are stoked on the Signature lines, that will be actively communicated – atrip line by Halldor Helgason, Eiki Helgason 4th Signature line and Tyler Chorlton Signature ATP combo.
We also teamed with three great artists we love for collabos. We are super happy about the Schoph artwork for the atrip line, Lucas Beaufort drawings for a couple of streetwear and accessories products and Cyrex Li snowboarding designs for t-shirts.
As goggles are a key part of the snowboarding setup, we are pretty exciting, to do a 30th-anniversary collabo project with Melon optics, one of the fastest growing goggles brands. James and Neil built the brand on the value that quality shouldn’t break the bank and that‘s something we relate to 100 %, and we also share some of our key riders – Eiki, Tyler, and Antti – so this anniversary collab was an obvious choice