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Editor’s letter

Doing outdoor in style — in a new retail landscape

Oh, it’s Pitti time! These wonderful days at the beginning of January that kicks off the year with a sartorial extravaganza and a kick of style inspiration from all over the world. At Scandinavian MAN, we are happy to once again partner up with Pitti Immagine for another series of live interviews, and of course, a new edition of our Special Newspaper.

This season we are focused on two major themes. One is the dramatic shift within retail that is sending tidal waves through the industry. This is something that affects designers, brands, consumers and media outlets alike, and a topic we strongly feel is our mission to discuss and debate. Where are we headed, really? Will physical retail die? Can online save us? Amazon and Alibaba might deliver your preferred choice of toilet paper or toothpaste via drones to your doorstep, but what emotional response do you get as a consumer?

In the latest issue of our biannual magazine, we presented a 12 point manifesto for The New Retail Landscape and I will tease you with the headlines here. The rest can be read in the magazine, or online as of today.

  1. Trust/credibility is everything
  2. Believe in something — or go under
  3. Don’t create consumers, create a movement!
  4. >Retail is media/media is retail
  5. Retail will fund journalism
  6. Word-of-mouth is the best social media
  7. The ”influencer” will become obsolete
  8. Tell a story — or go under
  9. Curation is king!
  10. Create places to meet, not places to shop
  11. What transaction?
  12. Be kind, do good, don’t sell

The main point of this conversation is that in fashion, we are driven by intangible values: how a product makes you feel, how a brand makes you think, and what social status you get from adhering to a specific style tribe. These values are not transferable via services like overnight shipping and ”you might also like” links. These values go beyond logistics, they are hard to measure and difficult to define. And they are the single most important driver for brands operating in a new retail landscape.

The other topic that occupies our minds is the coalescence between the worlds of fashion and outdoor. What was previously two completely different stratospheres, with separate brands, stores, trade shows, marketing cycles, and even consumers, is now more intertwined than ever. Big fashion brands like Prada and Louis Vuitton are sprinkling their runways with hiking inspiration. Outdoor labels like The North Face or Fjällräven are selling in fashion stores. And as consumers, we are more diverse than ever in terms of jumping around between different styles, depending on our situation in life.

From a Nordic perspective, there is a great potential in this development. Last year proved to be a milestone, as two of the most iconic Scandinavian brands in the worlds of fashion and outdoor joined forces in a much-hyped collaboration. I’m talking of course of Acne Studios’ interpretation of Fjällräven’s classic products.

Looking back, I think we will see this collaboration as a milestone for the merge of fashion and outdoor. We are already seeing that brands like Peak Performance, Haglöfs, or Klättermusen are taking a much stronger position in what is called Urban Outdoor, Sports Fashion, or the likes. You can read more about this continuously on scandinavianman.com (as well as in the Special Newspaper, distributed for free at Pitti Uomo this week), as we listen to brands, designers and industry experts.

I feel this development has only just started, especially for the Scandinavian outdoor brands. There is so much potential in the history and heritage of these labels, their extensive product development, and rigorous work with the sustainability aspect of their business. The credibility of the outdoor brands is rock solid. Or as Martin Kössler, founder of the industry organization Scandinavian Outdoor Group, puts it:

— Scandinavian outdoor brands have a great capital to proceed from. They have brand stories that can’t be copied, that are authentic. You can’t find that anywhere else in the world.

The only thing they need to do more of is creating excitement the way the fashion brands do. We need to see more courageous designs, more interesting collaborations, and a greater sense of the fashion zeitgeist. Only then can the outdoor brands bring their functionality and sustainability to a more savvy consumer.

I think the world would be a better place for it.

Whether it’s retail, outdoor, or just topics of values and masculinity, I’m looking forward to continuing the discussion this fashion week season. At Pitti, we are conducting three interviews as part of the Pitti Uomo Showbox series, together with some other fine publications and podcasts. See the schedule shortly here.

After Pitti Uomo, Scandinavian MAN will be present with newspaper editions, events and symposiums at ISPO in Munich, Copenhagen Fashion Week and Stockholm Design Week (that this year also doubles as Fashion Week). If you have thoughts to share, don’t hesitate to drop me a line at konrad@scandinavianman.com, or just stop me at the fair.

See you in the Fortezza! Ciao!

Konrad Olsson

Editor-in-chief & Founder

Photography: Fredrik Andersson Andersson