Arc’teryx have gone from niche high-end technical climbing brand to wardrobe staple for hipsters and the Gorp Core alike. Made with functionality in mind, many patents behind their brand and a focus on education through information, Arc’teryx are also making a notable push into the snowboard world with some key athlete signings. We catch up with Stéphane Tenailleau, Senior Director, EMEA Brand Marketing to find out more.
Give us a brief outline of the origins of Arc’teryx.
The story of Arc’teryx began manufacturing climbing harnesses in 1989 in North Vancouver, in the Canadian Coast Mountains. Our founders were athletes, inventors and creatives who spent significant time themselves in nature and were obsessed with developing product tailored to embrace the wild mountain terrain. Their goal was clear: design the lightest, best performing, and highest quality products available for the outdoor community.
With our HQ based in the heart of the mountains, our products have always been inspired by and tested in the environment there were thought for. To this day, we remain focused on solving problems and sharing knowledge that allows more people to get outdoors and to experience the transformative power of being outside.
Tell us about your product range.
Our range covers all core mountain activities from climb to trail to snow. We design products with a goal in mind – to create the most technical product available, which is not only thoughtfully designed but durable.
In 1998, we believed we could make the best waterproof, durable jacket on the market. So, we set out to do just this and there we have the birth of the industry changing and Alpine favourite Alpha SV Jacket. This not only saw the start of our collaboration to creating gear with GORE-TEX, but also lead to a series of unique product developments like WatertightTM zippers, micro seam technology, the StormhoodTM and many other patents to our name.
Our ski and snowboard gear epitomizes our commitment to cutting-edge design and technical excellence backed back our riders’ experiences in the harshest terrains. Regardless of the activity our mountain athletes, our outerwear best performs in the most extreme environments providing comfort and functionality.
How do you distribute Arc’teryx products across Europe?
Our products are distributed worldwide through our own brand stores, Arcteryx.com, and a selection of outdoor specialty accounts.
What makes your products unique in the industry?
We distinguish ourselves by keeping innovation as a key pillar of our strategy. With the notion that there’s always a better way, we are constantly rethinking our practices and product, focusing on potential improvements that will take our gear to the next level. Once we design a piece, we subject it to extensive testing to the harshest conditions to make sure not only that it will perform in the wild, but that it will also last for a long time. None of this happens from one day to another, the evolution of our product has been the work of years of research, testing, creating our own material, fabrics and machinery and adapting. The devil is in the details and our meticulous work and craftsmanship makes us stand out and keep us as the preferred option of the outdoor community.
Can you explain what ReBIRDTM is and how sustainability features in the production and distribution of your products?
Arc’teryx recognizes climate change as our most urgent environmental concern. As signatories to the UN Fashion Charter, we are making the necessary adjustments to our operations to ensure we stay on track to meet net-zero emissions by 2050.
Circularity is at the heart of Arc’teryx’s sustainability ambition. This means changing the way we all consume, and looking after what we have, rather than always buying more. This is the driving sentiment behind ReBIRDTM, Arc’teryx’s platform for circularity, which covers three pillars:
- ReCARETM, care and repair at dedicated ReBIRDTM Service Centers, available at selected Brand Stores, including in our new London’s Covent Garden Store to open Feb 21st.
- ReGEARTM, a re-commerce platform (currently US and Canada only and excess raw materials.)
- ReCUTTM, an initiative for upcycling end-of-life and excess raw materials.
With ReBIRDTM, Arc’teryx is hoping to bring back that lost “culture of care” for our clothes, creating possibility in place of landfill.
You run a range of community events and programmes including the Arc’teryx Academies, tell us more about these and how they help the brand.
Since 2012, Arc’teryx has hosted best-in-class athletes and guide-led Academies across the globe to advance everyone’s mountain skills from beginners to expert, in all ranges of disciplines through on terrain clinics and community moments. Annually, Arc’teryx runs 3 Academies in Europe: The Alpine Academy in Chamonix in July focused on everything mountaineering and climbing activities, the Freeride Academy in Sankt Anton in Austria in February focused on ski and snowboard and a smaller Climb Academy in the Lakes District in UK in May. All Academies, along with many other community events we run, aim at enabling, inspiring and connecting thousands of outdoor enthusiasts every year.
Last year our Academy in Chamonix gathered 500 clinics participants, through 43 different clinics, and hosted 10,400 visitors attending its mountain culture festival. We’re looking forward to 2024 with the pursuit of our global inclusive campaign No Wasted DaysTM, deeper community experiences at Academies and snowboard-progressing Natural Selection sponsorship.