News and Insights

Outdoor Industry Influence on Mainstream Style and How Brands Can Get it Right

April 11, 2024

The outdoor industry has long been guided by the realm of fashion, with colors and styles influenced by the trends deriving from fashion retail. While you won’t find couture catwalk styles traversing through the forest, the echoes of fashion are unmistakable, dating back to the vibrant neon and bold logos of the 90s reflecting on mountains. Collaborations with prominent designers have long been a part of the outdoors, as evidenced by our team’s ventures with Roxy and Diane von Furstenberg, as well as Burton and Anna Sui over a decade ago.

In recent years, a fascinating shift has occurred, where the outdoors now serves as inspiration for the fashion industry. Whether attributed to the burgeoning number of individuals embracing outdoor pursuits (the Outdoor Industry Association reports the outdoor industry grew to a record 168.1 million participants or 55 percent of the U.S. population ages six and older in 2022), a residual effect of the COVID era, or the trend of achieving daily fitness goals (10K steps), iconic fashion brands are increasingly venturing into the realm of outdoor gear and styles. Recently the Barn Jacket has made a fashion comeback – what started as an outdoor ‘chore jacket’ was back on the runways during February Fashion Week.

Women’s sports continue to see an influence of fashion on the game. The NWSL has been leaning into this with its Game Day Fits social series that put the athletes on the runway, allowing players to showcase their style. It’s no surprise that LA’s Angel City and NYC’s Gotham are leading this trend. Just last week, basketball phenom Angel Reese announced she was forgoing her final year at LSU to enter the WNBA. In an unprecedentedly fashionable move, she used Vogue as her platform to share this announcement and was photographed wearing coveted designer pieces.

Currently, our team is working alongside Bloomingdale’s on an initiative dubbed “Camp Bloomingdale’s,” slated to launch in April. This endeavor will feature a curation of products that bring you back to that summer camp feeling, marking a crossover between the outdoor lifestyle and mainstream fashion, accessories and more. This reinforces the expansion of the outdoor industry’s reach, appealing to a broader demographic of everyday consumers who may not necessarily be planning their next expedition but are eager to embrace the outdoors while sporting their new AQUA sweats and indulging in s’mores in the comforts of their backyards.

For those seeking to tap into the outdoor industry to engage a wider audience, it’s crucial to enlist the experts. The landscape can be unforgiving, with discerning consumers quick to scrutinize brands that fail to authentically represent the outdoors.

Here are three guidelines about how to do this effectively:

  1. Use the gear correctly. For example, if you’re using a snowboard in a shoot, make sure the bindings are on correctly.
  2. Go to the root of what makes the outdoors a vibe, and partner with an athlete who can help shape an authentic voice.
  3. Hire an expert for your launch! And, this isn’t just a shameless plug for our 2+ decades of experience. It’s imperative to enlist communications experts who understand the nuances of what make the outdoor trends so desirable and there are tricks to make sure the launch goes off without a hitch.

Our team looks forward to spending time outdoors this Spring as the weather starts to warm up. We hope to see you out there in whatever style and comfort gets you there.

TAGS: Sports Marketing, Consumer & Lifestyle

POSTED BY: Caroline Andrew

Caroline Andrew