In sign of times, rain­bow of color headed down slopes

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SUNDAY STYLE - By SA­MAN­THA CRITCHELL in New York As­so­ci­ated Press

Bright is the new black when it comes to col­ors and styles for snow bun­nies to look their best on the slopes.

The move to color in win­ter-sport out­er­wear fol­lows a trend seen in cloth­ing for other ac­tive pur­suits, such as run­ning, rock climb­ing and cy­cling.

Part of the color rev­o­lu­tion is driven by safety since it’s eas­ier to spot a bright color in dim win­ter light, and there’s a fash­ion fac­tor, too, but there’s also a lit­tle flam­boy­ance and fun at play, say ex­perts.

“On the ski slopes, there’s a chance to be a lit­tle wild and crazy,’’ says Nancy Tay­lor, Ath­leta’s se­nior di­rec­tor of de­sign. “It’s a lighter at­mos­phere than your ev­ery­day life. Color takes any se­ri­ous­ness out of it.’’

Liz Braund, the prod­uct di­rec­tor for out­door ap­parel at The North Face, sees the rain­bow as a sign of the times.

“The hunger for color right now is show­ing that the econ­omy is pick­ing up. Peo­ple are less in­clined to stick to buy­ing sta­ples and the black jacket is a sta­ple.’’

The SnowS­ports In­dus­tries Amer­ica trade group doesn’t have much that could be called ba­sic on its list of out­er­wear fash­ion trends for the sea­son. In­stead it touts pri­mary col­ors, neon, elec­tric flo­rals and color­block­ing, among oth­ers.

Men’s best-sell­ers at North Face in­clude royal blue and an acid yel­low that’s par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar for lin­ing and trim. Women are into clash­ing brights, like turquoise paired with a yel­low-tinted green, Braund re­ports. At Ath­leta, coral pink and mint green are out­pac­ing the more tra­di­tional red and green.

Bold hues play off the white back­ground of snow, mak­ing them look even bet­ter than they might else­where, Tay­lor adds.

And, once you’ve had bright, Braund says, it’s pretty un­likely you’ll go back to bor­ing. It’s some­thing North Face has had to adapt to.

“We had been known for an ar­ray of black jack­ets, black jack­ets in ev­ery shade of black,’’ she says, with a laugh.

“But the fab­ric we’re us­ing now takes color so beau­ti­fully. It’s an ex­am­ple of where we are break­ing out of that black jacket mold our­selves.’’

There are 37 col­ors in­cluded in this year’s fall-win­ter North Face col­lec­tion and 187 planned for 2014.

This trend isn’t lim­ited to jack­ets. It’s the un­der lay­ers and the hard gear, as well.

Brooks Run­ning makes a lot of base- layer gar­ments, and Gabriel Mari­cich, the brand’s men’s and ac­ces­sories prod­uct-line man­ager, says bright col­ors have been ooz­ing into the cat­e­gory for the past five years or so.

But he no­ticed a real shift to flu­o­res­cents last fall, co­in­cid­ing with a very 1980s fash­ion mo­ment. It’s evolv­ing into a more so­phis­ti­cated but even more sat­u­rated color story.

The col­ors need to work for the win­ter ath­letes who like to go out and so­cial­ize at the end of the day or have er­rands to run.

“You don’t say, ‘Oh, let me go home and change’,’’ he says. “Peo­ple are wear­ing it all day.”

Ar­nette’s Aloha gog­gles trans­late a Hawai­ian shirt into pro­tec­tive eye­wear.

“What’s more fun than a trop­i­cal print on the slopes?’’ asks Joe Fre­itag, Ar­nette Eye­wear’s global brand di­rec­tor.

“Peo­ple want to put their per­son­al­ity ev­ery­where and into ev­ery­thing.’’

The com­pany’s older cus­tomers might be buy­ing bright col­ors to match skis or boots, while the younger ones are buy­ing into their own im­age as fun-lov­ing, laid-back

The hunger for color right now is show­ing that the econ­omy is pick­ing up. Peo­ple are less in­clined to stick to buy­ing sta­ples and the black jacket is a sta­ple.” LIZ BRAUND THE PROD­UCT DI­REC­TOR FOR OUT­DOOR AP­PAREL AT THE NORTH FACE

ath­letes, but, re­gard­less, they’re all mak­ing a state­ment, he says.

And aren’t you more likely to com­pli­ment some­one on mint- green snow pants than on black ones?

“It starts a con­ver­sa­tion,’’ says Ath­leta’s Tay­lor. “You spend so much time in line or on the lift, that a great color leaves the door open for hu­man in­ter­ac­tion.’’

She says she’ll be sport­ing a mint­col­ored hel­met this sea­son, and feel free to come over and chat.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The sprint red/coralade sun val­ley ski jacket (left) and the mint green fall line ski pants (right), both of Ath­leta, are ex­am­ples of win­ter-sport out­er­wear in non­tra­di­tional, bright col­ors.

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