Still looking up to the excitement of ISPO 2020 and its immense inspiration, there is a whole pile of astonishing fresh information, a brilliance of ideas and lush materials, reminding each and every designer how thrilling it is to be a part of this ever-evolving industry, full of controversy and immense energy.
Speaking of this year’s ISPO, I can hardly go without mentioning a few key aspects of this 50th anniversary edition of the biggest multi-national sportswear expo.
Firstly, one would find it difficult not to notice the craze about sustainability, which was, in fact, this year’s key topic in all areas of performance design – from textiles and trims, through design, to consumption. I’m quite excited to thoroughly go through the exciting innovations sector and make a quick summary of this year’s winners, as well as to give some insights in the areas of textiles, colour trends and brand presentation.
Standing out this year were the topics around textile innovation, printed technology and implementation of 3D. Widely discussed was the subject around global marketing, and, more specifically, the ever-growing importance of the Chinese market. This has led to multiple discussions and amazing presentations tackling digital marketing and the trending digital clothing.
The most fascinating aspect of ISPO, as always, has been the participation of globally renowned brands, exhibiting their products and showering customers and competitors with tones of excitement and this new fresh energy, which is responsible for the creation of new trends, new global ideas and, most importantly, for each step forward to mutual progress towards a better, more beautiful and more sustainable way of living.
Please note that the exhibitors and suppliers are in alphabetical order, exactly the way they are presented in the official catalogue of ISPO 2020.
For yet another year, Adidas managed to bring in some fresh air into the outdoors industry, which, normally, could feel a little stiff and backwards at times. The outdoor division of Adidas, Terrex, amazed with incredible smart features, sustainability, incredible modern colour palette, attention to body mapping and packable solutions, which are considered key for impeccable performance. Focusing the light around key pieces, one could not miss the TERREX WATERPROOF PRIMEKNIT RAIN JACKET, a knitted waterproof shell, the MYSHELTER CLIMAHEAT PARKA DOWN JACKET with the incredibly sleek looking feature with a carry strap, and the award-winning TERREX HIKE FLEECE JACKET, which shows sustainable problem-solving on a deeper level, looking into sustainable aftercare of apparel. Overall, Terrex showcased an incredibly interactive booth, displaying modern silhouettes, design and development processes, as well as sustainability talks to provide information about the company’s policies.
Another spark of inspiration was the Canadian brand Arc’teryx, famous for its amazing craftsmanship and incredibly clean finishes. They presented their Atom line with, again, thorough attention to their own environmental impact, treading on topics, such as water and energy consumption.
Arys, relatively new and unknown before (as a startup from 2014), made an appearance this year, now much more experienced, still occupying a relatively small stand, although this time making a clear statement with their anti-trend agenda. Coming from Berlin, in 2020 they have a clear position as an all- European brand, priding in minimalist and innovative apparel and tackling a different aspect of sustainability by creating garments that would be stylistically relevant for more than just a season.
Already considered a classic by outdoor lovers, Black Diamond has been out there for a while now, but this time they smash ISPO with tones of winners in different categories. One of their most innovative products for 2020 was, without a question, Black Diamond Equipment Cirque 22 Ski Vest: Ski Touring Backpack in Vest Design, winner in the Alpine & Freeride Backpacks category in the Snowsports segment. Another impressive gold winner of theirs is, with admirable craftsmanship, Black Diamond Equipment Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell: Softshell Jacket for Variable Skiers, a Gold Winner in the Snowsports segment in the Touring Apparel category. Unquestionably deserving the gold medal, Black Diamond showcased super sleek technical details, varying in placement and surprising with subtlety, lacking in most performance outdoor gear.
An absolute favourite this year, in many respects, was Black Yak with their excellence in detail and striking craftsmanship, which could be taken as an example from all the other performance apparel brands. A less-known aspect of their production are their technologies, which are sourced within the company, such as the Yak Flow Technology, which boosts permeability and moisture transfer, and the Yak Box-Wall, technology, allowing air to flow inside of the garment via chamber-to chamber transfer channels. This aside, they’re also working with incredibly high-quality suppliers, such as G-Loft and Polartec.
Another exhibitor, striking with super technical looks and quality was the Italian manufacturer for protective equipment Dainese. Their amazing knitted details and inserts, as well as their technical performance looks, were a great inspiration to draw from and their 3D technology, implemented all the way to their pattern production and sketching is something not many companies could be proud of yet.
Another gold winner with a close focus on jacket design, is Descente, making a real statement with the strategic and incredibly innovative placement of zippers, pockets and cuff finishes. Their DESCENTE SOLAR THERMO INSULATED JACKET, has been awarded the Snowsports winner in the Jackets category. Another worthy gold winner of theirs this year was the DESCENTE ALLTERRAIN 3D FOAM LAMINATION ACTIVE SHELL JACKET, which is a rain jacket with special thermal insulation, Gold Winner in the Outdoor segment in the Rain Jackets category. Having a closer look into the company and why their outerwear designs are so successful, one could trace their innovation going as far as initial production and development of their own pattern cutting technology, relying on dynamic body postures, rather than static figures, as well as a specially developed streamline technology, relying on three dimensional printed lines, placed on the surface of each outerwear piece, in order to control surface moisture, keeping water and snow away from hands and pockets.
Maybe far from performance, but incredibly attractive visually, the Giorgio Armani S.p.A. had a lot to offer in terms of visible technical details, such as zipper pullers, technically looking fabrics and elastics, providing a super minimal and nomadic look that would appeal to a vast range of customers.
An all-time favourite in outerwear design, Helly Hansen, was another gold winner on this ISPO edition. Their Arctic Patrol Modular Parka: Clothing System for Extreme Cold was a centre of attention with super cool and inspiring technical details and incredibly modern and innovative look to go with the absolutely insane technology of the parka. Another gold winner for HH, Elevation Infinity Shell Jacket: Sustainably Produced Pro-Shell Jacket for Winter Sports was a great addition to the Snow Sports segment, touching on the key for 2020 topics around sustainability. As a whole, their booth was full of innovation – from super sleek hidden closures to great zipper tape details and amazing finishes.
A favourite brand for many, Houdini takes a strategic place of a relatively minimal, incredibly technical, and sustainable brand, which grants it a broad audience of admirers from all ranges of the apparel industry. The Swedish brand prides with a gold winner this year – Houdini Sportswear Mono Air Houdi – a cool zip-hoodie, characterized by sustainability, dominating the Outdoor segment in the Mid Layer category. Admirably for an apparel brand, they are pretty transparent about their supply chain and manufacturing and offer services such as repair, reuse and rentals. Another achievement for Houdini is their fabric range, which is 100% recycled, recyclable, renewable, biodegradable or Bluesign certified this season. Besides, they are already aiming for a fully circular production in the short term (the majority of their products are completely circular).
One of the most premium ski brands, KJUS, presented its incredible ski technology, including the famous AC vent and the stretch fabrics, providing uncompromising performance in any weather conditions.
For ISPO 2020 Klättermusen was a brand in focus, having its amazing products in the Gold Winners section. One of the most admirable products within the whole tradeshow was their Farbaute Jacket: Sustainably Warm Outdoor Down Jacket with incredibly low carbon footprint and super high performance. From their accessories shelf, straight to the ISPO 2020 gold winners, the Klättermusen Alpine Backpack Höner is made from recycled raw materials and is Gold Winner in the Outdoor segment in the Hiking & Trekking Backpacks category. Looking at Klattermussen’s overall performance one could not possibly disagree that the Swedish company has an amazing heritage of functionality, relying on a great deal of refined innovative details and key features to impress the truly passionate mountaineers.
Mammut and its gold winners were definitely in the spotlight of this year’s edition of ISPO, and for a reason. Their Mammut Trion Nordwand 15: Alpine Backpack for Climbing, struck with amazing performance details and not to mention the fascinating proportions for their colour palette. Another product that gathered the attention of buyers and competitors, was the Mammut Taiss Pro High GTX: Lightweight Mountaineering Shoe for Mountaineers – also a Gold Winner in the Mountaineering Footwear category in the outdoor segment. To extend further the range of their expertise, Mammut showcased another winner at the 2020 tradeshow – Mammut Women’s Protect Down Bag -21°C: Sleeping Bag for Extreme Nights, the Winner Outdoor in the category Sleeping Bags & Mats, and, quite frankly, an inspiration for many outdoor brands, with its numerous useful technical features. When it comes to their booth, the highlight was definitely on their Halo Outfit: Innovative Clothing System for Fast Extreme Climbers, another Gold Winner in the Outdoor segment in the category Mountaineering Apparel. It impressed with incredible fit, amazing combination of textures and features, colour scheme with technical looking colour pops and truly elaborate panelling. Other features, key for Mammut this year, were their incredible cuff fastenings and Velcro solutions (vaguely resembling knit garments), super powerful colour combinations, great zipper placements, as well as super performance looking tapes.
As one of the most sustainable brands on the market, Marmot has multiple winners in this segment, providing really modern design in addition (proving wrong everyone who thinks sustainability could be boring). This Californian brand’s sustainably-designed combo-package Marmot WarmCube Featherless Hoody: Innovative Jacket for Life in the Mountains, was a centrepiece for ISPO 2020 and a gold winner in the Insulated category. It is based on Marmot’s incredible Warm Cube technology which relies on featherless, lightweight insulation, matching the feel of 700 fill power down.
Other brands worth mentioning are Musto with their inspiring bonded quilting on many of their shells, as well as Peak Performance with their amazing pocket placement and super sleek finishes.
On the gym wear side, Superdry provided a lot of clean laser cut details, tapes, reflectives, and, as usual, incredibly young and modern silhouettes.
Other innovations on the exhibitors’ side worth a word on here are Tenson and their AERISMO JACKORAK MPC EXTREME Jacket including intelligent features and The North Face’s extreme quilting, which was, undeniably, a key feature for the young outdoor market and, combined with the great textural features, made for a great performance of The North Face on ISPO 2020.
As observing the development of already well-established brands is unquestionably one of the most inspiring aspects of trade shows, the most exciting and unexpected side of it is definitely getting all the news around the newcomers and the fresh energy they bring to the sports goods market.
One of the most original and unconventional start-up ideas comes from SensuSports, who create products for sensory learning of golf through feel and touch. Their range consists of shutter glasses and a detector unit to enhance motor learning. Their gadgets connect wirelessly and help the brain’s sensory system cooperate with the body’s motor system. The clever devices not only assist in golf training but also provide the possibility to analyse learning abilities in athletes in depth.
As sustainability was a main topic for ISPO 2020, a new emerging brand has turned all the looks to its amazing running shoes, providing both environmental and social conscious design. Enda, a Kenyan brand for running shoes takes special care in providing social benefits for everyone, involved in the business whilst simultaneously bringing trainer production to the home of running champions.
Super interesting is the take on sustainability of another start-up, Awayco. Unlike most exhibitors at ISPO, their aim is not production, which makes their cause truly environmentally friendly, and frankly, incredibly sensible. The purpose of Awayco is turning surfing goods into a shared source and assisting in renting outdoor equipment around the world.
Straight from the city of fresh starters, Berlin, Mvdham adapts pretty well to the new millennial consumers, socially and environmentally responsible, but still demanding apparel that allows them to be active. Producing with natural fibres only, the brand makes really modern and technical urban apparel using purely local products and suppliers.
Another aspect of the sporting industry, namely, the health and wellness sector, jumps in with a new representative, KEEGO, designing elastic titanium bottles that prevent moulding. Extremely strong and lightweight, their product is also incredibly clean, hindering corrosion, whilst the ergonomic shape distributes tension, making it super easy to squeeze.
A truly smart solution of the more and more urbanly integrated electric bikes, COWBOY offers a new product with incredible device connectivity and amazing smart features. Designed especially for the modern, densely populated urban environment, the COWBOY e-bike’s motor kicks in automatically when accelerating or going uphill, and has a super-smart bike lock so that you could leave it anywhere.
One of the most innovative products on this year’s ISPO comes from EXOlung, providing another addition to the usual shallow water diving kit usually composed of a mask, fins and a snorkel. The new device is super lightweight and incredibly compact (40x30x20cm) which makes it super portable and naturally easy to use, as it does not require any additional skills or certification to use.
A huge part of ISPO, of course, is the anticipation of all the exciting supplier meetings where one could find tones of inspiration and get a more accurate idea of what the most feasible way of production and trim supply would be. Strolling around the numerous halls with extremely flexible tapes, waterproof zippers, reflectives, and other products promising to change the world of apparel, I couldn’t help but notice a few exhibitors, managing with extreme agility their stands, attracting designers and buyers with impressive products.
One of them has always been 3M with their amazing range of insulations. Remarkable about them is their Thinsulate™ Insulation (Type C), which is not only incredibly powerful but also super thin and lightweight insulation. With their fire-resistant, featherless, water-resistant products, they supply numerous high-performance brands, such as Rossignol, Carhartt, Spyder, etc. This year, specifically, they attracted a huge audience with their 100% biodegradable outfit, which apart from living up to all sustainability standards, also looked really cool!
Right on time, having in mind ISPO 2020’s agenda, was the stand of Bluesign – a system certifying environmentally and socially friendly manufacturers and suppliers. It traces the path of each manufactured product, suggesting improvements at any stage to make sure that the end product is completely responsibly and transparently created, following the four main criteria – chemicals, materials, transparency, and traceability.
A supplier on everyone’s radar at the moment is Cordura Fabric, catering super versatile and famously strong fabrics, providing solutions for the toughest conditions.
Exhibitors, implementing super interesting solutions to various needs are also: Dragon Times (also amazing aesthetics), G-Loft (super famous coated fabrics), CraftEvo, GoreTex, Polartec, PrimaLoft, Schoeller, Trueway, YKK.
Now, after going through roughly all the most exciting exhibitors, it’s time to put another key aspect of the trade show right in the middle of the spotlight – all the talks and innovations.
Naturally, sustainability was a key topic among speakers but it was actually surprising how many areas environment could cover and how many different takes on the subject presenters could provide. One of the talks everyone was waiting for in anticipation and which, accordingly, created a massive queue every time, was Textile Trends for FW21/22 and SS21. Covering many topics around textiles composition, print, and functionality, the main cues for these seasons were Diversity, Optical Illusion, Abstract, Responsibility, Globalization, Transparency, Traceability, Integrity, Wellbeing, Versatility, Regeneration, Veganism, Protection, Visibility, where trims are all centrepieces – unexpected and technical, colours are bright and alluring, sparking interest and curiosity, blending from bright oranges and purples to textured blue shades, all in a breath-taking 3D dynamic.
A relatively specialized topic, raising a lot of questions, therefore, definitely worth discussing, could massively change the future of apparel and footwear. What I’m talking about is the growth in usage of screen-printed sensors. Their use is truly immense, starting from stick-on sensors with Bluetooth data streaming; sweat analysis devices, implemented in single-use ultra-thin devices; to footwear printed electronics, allowing high flexibility, large material portfolio and large area high-resolution deposition. In fact, printed electronics have been used in footwear for several years now, starting with 2012’s Nike + Hyperdunk, then the creation of (again) Nike’s Hyperadapt1.0 in 2016. This year smart sportswear observes the emerging of IEE’s ActiSense, which is footwear, monitoring the general well-being by preventing injuries, managing risks, increasing the wearer’s performance, as well as assisting during rehabilitation and diagnosis of lower limb problems.
Taking over from design to marketing, a few interesting talks about the new retail experience, influenced by the Chinese market proved wrong all the marketing strategies on the old continent and evoked tones of questions. For everyone thinking that Facebook and Instagram still do a good job as selling platforms, there were examples from the east, showing off with a much more modern approach. Selling mostly by the growing platform TikTok, as well as merely live streaming the production process, allows customers to feel involved with the brand and the product, increasing the chances of initiating a purchase. A new brilliant and engaging idea, coming from China, is the creation of short videos, on which everything is for sale and easily accessible merely via a click. Even though this was a reoccurring subject at ISPO 2020, to successfully acquire those techniques, one should look more in depth into this new retail experience for the outdoor industry in China.
Before digging into this year’s winners and analyse what makes them so remarkable, a quick summary of all ISPO 2020 trends could be helpful in identifying key focus areas, some DOs and DON’Ts coming from industry leaders with years of experience behind their back.
Starting with the general look of most collections, a reoccurring theme was 3-dimensionality. This includes fabric textures, structures, pattern cutting, outfit styling, down placement. All outerwear surfaces were marked by some sort of texture – embossing, debossing, quilting or bonding of details. Interestingly, even when surfaces were not textured, all details were speaking of 3D – visible but super sleek pockets (especially at Helly Hansen and Peak Performance), foam shoulders, throwing in knitted details (Danaise), layering (Houdini), Hyperlon branding, Embossed Finishes (Filla).
A feature dominating the outerwear and winter sports area was the cleanness of production and finishing – side seams turning into pockets, on-grown panels, sleek closures, ergonomic sleeves with minimal structure. Unarguably one of the most satisfying trends, turning all the attention to functional details and trims.
Speaking of that, they were all made visible – contrast zips, sliding along the length of the body, reflective tapes, 3D elbow panels, perfectly crafted contrast velcros, allowing amazing colour pop options.
When it comes to visibility, one of the trends, previously unappealing to consumers and now regarded as a sign of luxury, is visible down. Creating incredibly authentic, analogue feeling, it was in sharp contrast with the futuristic idea of sleek apparel with visible technical features and was, quite frankly, a great way to achieve this natural look and regain the lost connection between sportswear and nature.
As an appropriate ending to this rough summary of ISPO 2020, it is only suitable to mention all the winners for this year, inspiring with craftsmanship, innovation and pure genius!
- PRODUCT OF THE YEAR: ALPINA SPORTS PROLAN VEST
- BLACK DIAMOND: DAWN PATROL HYBRID SHELL – a Gold Winner in the Snowsports segment in the Touring Apparel category
- BLACKYAK: AMRIT BC – a Gold Winner in the Snowsports segment in the Pants category
- DÆHLIE: JACKET RAW 4.0 + PANTS RAW 4.0 WOMEN – a Gold Winner in the Snowsports segment in the Nordic Apparel category
- GREGORY MOUNTAIN PRODUCTS: TARGHEE FASTTRACK 35 – a Gold Winner in the Alpine & Freeride Backpacks category in the Snow Sports segment
- HELLY HANSEN: ELEVATION INFINITY SHELL JACKET – a Gold Winner in the Snow Sports segment
- ORAGE: MORRISON JACKET – a Gold Winner Snowsport in the category Mid Layer
- POC: BASE ARMOR – a Gold Winner in the Snow Sports segment
- TENSON: AERISMO JACKORAK MPC EXTREME – a Gold Winner Snowsports in the Jackets category
- adidas TERREX “FUTURECRAFT.LOOP Anorak” – a Gold Winner in the Outdoor segment in the Urban Lifestyle category
- DESCENTE ALLTERRAIN “3D FOAM LAMINATION ACTIVE SHELL JACKET – a Gold Winner in the Outdoor segment in the Rain Jackets category
- HOUDINI SPORTSWEAR “MONO AIR HOUDI” – a Gold Winner in the Outdoor segment in the Mid Layer category
- ICEBREAKER “NATURE DYE 200 OASIS LONG SLEEVE CREWE / ANNIVERSARY” – a Gold Winner in the Base Layer category in the Outdoor segment
- KLÄTTERMUSEN “ALPINE BACKPACK HÖNER” – a Gold Winner in the Outdoor segment in the Hiking & Trekking Backpacks category
- MAMMUT “HALO OUTFIT” – a Gold Winner in the Outdoor segment in the category Mountaineering Apparel
- MARMOT “WARMCUBE FEATHERLESS HOODY” – a Gold Winner Outdoor in the Insulated category
- MARMOT “WARMCUBE GALLATIN 20” – an Outdoor Gold Winner in the Insulated category
- Black Diamond Equipment Cirque 22 Ski Vest: Ski Touring Backpack in Vest Design
- CRAFT CTM XC RACE JACKET: Functional Cross-Country Jacket for Hard Training Sessions – a Snowsports winner in the Nordic Apparel category
- DESCENTE SOLAR THERMO INSULATED JACKET: The Winter Sports Jacket with Solar-Powered Heating – a Snowsports winner in the Jackets category
- MILLET TRILOGY 30 E-1: Avalanche Backpack with Removable Safety Unit – a winner in the Snowsports segment in the Avalanche Backpacks category
- ORTOVOX HAUTE ROUTE 40: Ski Touring Backpack for Longer Tours – a winner in the Snowsports segment in the Alpine & Freeride Backpacks category
- ORTOVOX BERRINO JACKET: Comfortable Ski Touring Jacket with Merino Wool – a winner in the Snowsports segment in the Nordic Apparel category
- PICTURE ORGANIC CLOTHING WELCOME JACKET: Stylish Snow Sports Hard Shell That’s Organically Sourced – a Snowsports winner in the Hardshell Jackets category
- POC LOFT PARKA: Warmth and Function for Ski Racers – a winner in the Snowsports segment in the Race Apparel category
- SCOTT INSULOFT SUPERLIGHT PL JACKET: Compact, Warm Mid-layer for Mountaineers – a winner in the Snowsports segment in the Mid Layer category
- X-BIONIC APANI 4.0 Round Neck Long Sleeve Shirt: Functional Shirt for Winter Sportsmen – a winner in the Snowsports segment in the Base Layer category
- adidas TERREX ICESKY DOWN HOODED JACKET: Light down Jacket for Cold Hiking Days – an outdoor winner in the Down Jackets category
- adidas TERREX HIKE FLEECE JACKET: Functional Intermediate Layer for Hiking – a winner in the outdoor segment, category Mid Layer
- BLACKYAK CO LTD ATA JACKET: Softshell Jacket for All Winter Sports – a winner in the outdoor segment in the Insulated category
- MAMMUT TRION NORDWAND 15: Alpine Backpack for Climbing – a winner in the outdoor segment in the Climbing Equipment category
- MAMMUT WOMEN’S PROTECT DOWN BAG -21°C: Sleeping Bag for Extreme Nights – a Winner Outdoor in the category Sleeping Bags & Mats
- OSAH DRYPAK WATERPROOF BAG: Waterproof Bag for Outdoor Activities – Winner Outdoor in the category Duffels & Travelbags
- SALEWA FANES WOOL POWERTEX WOMEN’S JACKET: Versatile Shell Jacket for Active Women – a winner in the outdoor segment in the category Hiking Jacket
- TEXLOCK RAIJN: CONVERTIBLE RAIN JACKET FOR CITY BIKERS – a winner in the outdoor segment in the Rain Jackets category
- TOREAD STYLISH MULTIPURPOSE VEST: Multifunctional Jacket for Women – a winner in the outdoor segment in the Urban Lifestyle category
- ANITA ACTIVE SPORTS BRA EXTREME CONTROL PLUS: Sports Bra for Large Sizes – a winner in the Fitness & Team Sports segment in the Bras category
ISPO Munich 2020