Sitting in the messy kitchen of our tiny seaside house, it is really hard to believe the past week has actually been real. The funny but somehow familiar and sweet chanting of my friend from upstairs brings me so far away from the intense adventure our trip to Germany has been.
Overwhelming with its colors, flowers, beer, old libraries and historical beer halls, Munich has been a great host of the ISPO for 2018. I tried to check the definition for ISPO online but I am going to express it in my own words after all – a huge Wonderland for every Alice who likes skateboarding, drinking beer, random gigs and a tone of fabric samples and lookbooks to take back to London.
The amount of people taking part would leave you breathless (might have been because of the actual lack of oxygen) – everyone is running around with bags of free stuff, suitcases, you can literally observe grumpy business people with ties mixing with drunk hipsters, advertising surfwear.
Having such an enormous space to explore and two days on your hands, it is difficult to find the right and most suitable source of knowledge because it comes from everywhere. Most of the snowsports orientated brands had chosen to use mountain cribs to house their clothing, others had tents, full of so many different goods you wouldn’t even understand what their product was about, then there were also the really posh ones, like Emporio Armani Sports, who had great installations with reflective surfaces to underline the amazing fabrics used.
My personal highlights of the whole fair include FALKE, SOS, Houdini, Desigual and Arys. What impressed me about these brands and made them stand out in my personal ISPO chart was not only the way products were presented but also the existence of a certain fluency in terms of fabrics, colors and purpose.
FALKE is a German brand I hadn’t heard of before the ISPO. They firstly caught my eye with the pure natural colors they use – white, creme, green, grey, which was quite obviously like an island of whipped cream in the sea of neon puffer jackets. After wandering around in front of the grumpy eyes of one of the agents, I found out that the materials they used were actually amazingly soft – merino, cashmere, cotton. I actually went up to the grumpy guy and, after a few more suspicious looks, he finally broke the silence. It turned out that all of their products were handmade. Although the brand is certainly orientated to winter wear, they have more soft cuddly whipped cream clothes as a summer range. Sadly, I have never seen their shop, but if I do, I would definitely have another closer look, without the grumpy guy this time.
The second brand I mentioned, SOS, was actually the complete opposite when it comes to service. A kind elderly man named Helmut helped me look around, explaining how to use every layer of the ski jackets – and there were sometimes three!!! Apart from Helmut, who was so happily speaking in German, what stood out about the brand was the use of text that had replaced prints – it was everywhere – on the ski trousers, on the jackets (all three layers). The designers had decided to present everything in really clear color schemes – where there was yellow, it was all yellow, or where red… you know – all red. I am not sure whether I adore it but I should admit that among hundreds of stalls presenting the same product, this one was certainly to be noticed – like an SOS sign. Plus, Helmut gave me his number.
What amazed me about Houdini‘s work is the rather dull but in a way attractive colors that helped the silhouettes stand out. I found it visually pleasing to look at garments, constructed functionally and in a simple color scheme of around five shades. Simple. Simplicity is actually what 2018’s ISPO lacked.
Arys is a brand I discovered during the fair and it is now one of my favorite brands. It has won many awards within the ISPO and not surprisingly at all. Their soft calming colors (similar to the ones Houdini use) work perfectly with the bold avant-garde jackets and vests. Their style is also quite distinctive, really easy to recognize among the other winning objects, which makes it my personal ISPO number one.
These brands are doubtlessly amazing and as much as I admire them, there is one I could not wait to see closely, obviously the focal point in the whole journey – Adidas.
I cannot tell much about it – firstly, because I am speechless, secondly, it’s illegal.
Among the green valleys and the glass windows of the Adidas HQ, there were X, Y, Z that probably changed my perception of the world forever, or, to be less dramatic, my imagination of what design is. The experience was not purely visual, it was rather emotional and made me ask myself questions to which, after a week, I still don’t have any answers. There is obviously a whole universe to discover and I hadn’t even had any idea of its existence. Another Wonderland, this time in Nuremberg.