Icebreaker sets up shop at Printemps Hausmann for a two-month period
The New Zealand-based outdoor brand, Icebreaker, has opened a pop-up shop inside Printemps Haussmann, located in Paris' ninth arrondissement, on September 15. During a two-month period, Icebreaker will present a selection of technical products made of natural materials on the third floor of Printemps de l'Homme.
In a 13 square meter wooden-clad space where natural raw materials, which have been at the heart of the brand since its creation 27 years ago, are notably featured, the brand owned by the VF Corp group will be presenting 39 pieces from its Fall/Winter 2022 collection. This pop-up will have the mission to introduce the brand to new target audiences.
"The brand's objective is to bring the best of nature to the customer," explained Nathalie Pinlou, the outdoor brand's sales manager for Southern Europe (France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Switzerland). "The heart of our clientele is made up of outdoor enthusiasts between 35 and 45 years old. However, we see outdoor wear entering more and more into the ready-to-wear market. So today we're trying to bring the great outdoors to new customers, especially 25-35 year olds, the so-called 'urban adventurers'. People who prefer cycling, avoid motorized vehicles, go for a run in the evening... Covid-19 has really driven this type of behavior, and the demand for natural materials."
Merino wool, Tencel, which is made from wood pulp, Belgian linen, and organic cotton make up the majority of the brand's collections. Over time, the brand has developed its own patented fabrics, such as ZoneKnit, MerinoLoft, Cool-Lite and RealFleece. In order to embody its brand identity, the brand has chosen adventurer Mike Horn as its ambassador. The man who has circumnavigated the globe 27 times, including a trip to the two poles in 2016, has known the brand for a long time through his New Zealander wife. However, he also highlighted his special love for wool brought forth by his South African origins.
"I have not found in synthetic materials what I find in natural materials," explained the traveler. "Because with wool I can wear the same clothes for 138 days, which I can't do with polyester or other kinds of undergarments. People are now realizing that we need to find alternatives to oil. But these alternatives have always been under our noses. Sheep live in extreme conditions. So in extreme conditions, I have to be dressed like them", said the 50-year-old, who is setting off on a three-year trip around the world in December, which will include expeditions to Greenland, the Amazon rainforest, the Patagonian desert, and Antarctica.
Icebreaker boasts around 200 points of sale in France, including two of its own stores in Chamonix and Annecy. The brand is expanding its retail network and is looking for retail locations where it will be surrounded by other outdoor brands. "We want to be consistent, as outdoor is at the heart of our identity", underlined Pinlou. Icebreaker shops could therefore potentially neighbour those of its sister brands. The VF Corp group, owner of The North Face, Timberland, Eastpak, Napapijri, as well as Vans and Supreme, added Icebreaker to its brand portfolio in 2018 with the stated objective of taking advantage of its expertise in natural materials.
Of VF Corp's $11.8 billion in sales in its last fiscal year, Icebreaker reportedly generated $170 million. The brand currently has about 3,000 points of sale, including 40 company-owned stores, in 38 countries. In May of this year, Josh Vaughan, former director of sales Europe, Africa and the Middle East, was named general manager of Icebreaker in the same region.
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