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Ski fashion: What's wacky, what's hot and what's definitely not

4th November 2013 | Monica Adorno

A retro ski fashion contest at Le Massif, QUE.

A retro ski fashion contest at Le Massif, QUE.

The ski season is upon us once again (huzzah!) and if, like us, you’re planning on treating yourself to some new kit and you’re feeling a bit befuddled then fear not. OnTheSnow has hooked up with Snow+Rock marketing guru Anne Brillet to get the lowdown on what’s hot in the industry. We’ve also managed to score some time with one of the nicest guys in skiwear, Sketch Isback, founder of Syndicate Clothing who recently had one of their caps featured in Vogue. But first, to ensure that you don’t end up looking a little bit special on the mountain check out our gallery of sartorial offenders – this is what not to wear.   

Retro skier - nothing has been left to chance - ©Pdbreen

Retro skier - nothing has been left to chance

Copyright: Pdbreen

Some people are born with good taste. And some are not. OnTheSnow howled with laughter when we spied this retro skier, but surely that was his intention? A snug fit and fabulously coordinated, even his poles have a bit of neon trim. Not one part of this ensemble has been left to chance and to top it off the suit has a built-in bumbag. Brilliant.

These hats should never be worn - ©Oakley Originals

These hats should never be worn

Copyright: Oakley Originals

Crazy ski hats took off in the 90s in a big way. You couldn’t ski down a piste without encountering both mini and adult Medusas. I first went skiing when I was 12 and my friend, a seasoned skier, lent me her ‘funky’ hat. I politely accepted but left it sealed in my luggage where it belonged.

OnTheSnow asked Sketch whether the crazy hat’s heyday was over. He said, “If you see somebody wearing one slap them. If you see a kid wearing one report their parents to the government.”

There's a panda loose on the slopes - ©Ben Ellis

There's a panda loose on the slopes

Copyright: Ben Ellis

Animal hoods: good for kids, good for students, great for Halloween, and suitable at the Secret Garden Party. Bad if you are anyone else and in any other context.

80s group on the slopes - ©Brandon Barr

80s group on the slopes

Copyright: Brandon Barr

See man in the centre trying to rip off his Shoreditch jacket. We feel his pain.

Jeans in snow - just not practical! - ©imjackhandy

Jeans in snow - just not practical!

Copyright: imjackhandy

I guess if you’re really very good you can get away with wearing anything on the mountain. Having said that we don’t recommend jeans. Just not practical.

Vintage 80s ugly Christmas sweater - ©The Ugly Sweater Shop

Vintage 80s ugly Christmas sweater

Copyright: The Ugly Sweater Shop

The Mark Darcey jumper. Festive jumpers have been having a moment for some time now. The good ones can make a girl look cute as, and boys too for that matter. Sadly no amount of good breeding can make this jumper pretty.

Cute ski bunnies - ©Mariska Richters

Cute ski bunnies

Copyright: Mariska Richters

Ahhh, the ski bunny look. Hot in theory but camouflaging yourself on a mountain? A big no-no if you plan on going off-piste.

His 'n' hers outfits - ©Ola Matsson

His 'n' hers outfits

Copyright: Ola Matsson

To be fair, these two don’t look hideous but coordinating couples is a trend that we sincerely pray won’t catch on.

OnTheSnow asked Sketch, “How fashion conscious do you think people are on the slopes?” He said, “I hope very but looking at some people, not at all!”. Yes. We don’t think it was at the forefront of the decision making process here either.

Skiers at the 2012 Alaska Ski for Women - ©Frank Kovalchek

Skiers at the 2012 Alaska Ski for Women

Copyright: Frank Kovalchek

Not all fancy dress has to be bad. We loved this group of giraffes on skis.

Snow+Rock’s Anne Brillet and Syndicate Clothing founder, Sketch Isback, were nice enough to share some ski industry scoop with us. Read on to find out how skiwear is evolving.

OTS: What’s big in skiwear at the moment?

Anne: Skiwear is branching out in two main areas: off-piste/backcountry shells and fitted, stretch fabric for on-piste clothing. 

Off-piste shells are more resistant to abrasion and more breathable; they have to cope with the more strenuous conditions of off-piste skiing. They rely on a multilayer system, which allows the skier to adapt the level of insulation to his needs. 

On-piste skiwear had evolved with the introduction of stretch fabric. Brands such as Kjus have been ambassadors in the stretch fabric market and have introduced clothing with a beautiful tailored fit. With the introduction of stretch fabrics, brands have been able to remove the excess fabric from the garment by altering the loose fitting cuts, which had been used previously to allow movement. Thanks to stretch membranes we have seen the birth of comfortable and elegant skiwear that remains top of its game in terms of waterproofing and breathability. 

Sketch: Hot right now is the tie-dye stuff as well as longer hoodies.

OTS: What do you think shapes trends? 

Sketch: The strength of our sport is to be individual so people are always pushing the boundaries. I don’t think there is such a thing as a bad outfit but you need to pull it off and for that you need skills!

Anne: In my opinion the core of the sport shapes the trend. For example, at the moment, backcountry skiing is becoming increasingly popular and this will change the fashion of the skiwear. Also, evolution of technical features will have a major impact on the cuts and shapes of the garments and what the designers can actually produce.  And I think that street wear and street fashion will leak into ski clothing fashion.

OTS: Syndicate Clothing sells custom merchandise. Is there a lot of demand for custom clothing?

Sketch: There is always the demand to be different. We don’t want to be the same so nothing we make has a run of more than fifty in one colourways.

OTS: Is streetwear shaping skiwear or is it the other way around? 

Anne: I feel that street wear influences skiwear rather than the other way around, but more in the sense that they go hand in hand. If you look at the skateboarding fashion, baggy trousers have been out for a long time and most people will wear slim jeans rather than baggy ones. I feel the hipster look has definitely infiltrated snowboard wear with, for instance, Burton collaborating with Carhartt.

On the other hand shows such as Made in Chelsea have definitely influenced the skiwear fashion for ladies. Jackets with fur collars and Swarovski crystals are becoming more and more popular whilst on-piste men’s wear is becoming much more sleek.

OTS: Can you let us in on next year’s trends?

Anne: One pieces are coming back for ladies! 

Sketch: Vests, both puffa and wife beater, and camo is back.

OTS: What’s your favourite silly ski trend of all time?

Anne: Neon!

Sketch: Thinking snowboarding wouldn’t last.

OTS: Any last words?

Sketch: Be yourself and don’t leave a punter gap (a gap between your helmet and goggles is a big fashion faux pas).



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