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Outdoor Retailer: The Trends to Watch for Fall/Winter 2016

In an evolving outdoor category that calls for runners to race through blasts of multi-colored powder, and ballerinas to star in athletic campaigns, buyers can continue to expect the unexpected from Fall/Winter 2016-2017 trends. Maria Teresa Sampedro, director of trend forecasting agency Promostyl, outlined key sport and street color and material stories at Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City (Jan. 22-25), and they are as diverse as the activities that make up the expanding outdoor market.

In a trend story called Beauties, Sampedro said the desire for a perfect body translates into more body-conscious designs for Fall ’16. The trend speaks to the growing popularity of holistic health-boosting activities, which are driven by images on photo-sharing platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, and by athletic brands nabbing thin, yet athletic supermodels, like Gisele Bundchen (for Under Armour) and Karlie Kloss (for Nike), to be their brand ambassadors.

With activities like barre fitness classes, yoga and ballet in mind, Sampedro described the theme’s color palette of pinkish pastels and chalky variations of tan as “second skin.” Mossy green, milky sulfur-like shades of yellow and pale blue are dominant, while touches of gold and copper orange with pinks running through it, are its key metallics. In particular, look for gold filigree to snake across garments, Sampedro said.

Other key fabrics feature reflective properties, including honeycomb patterns that play with the eye, or Shibori printing, a Japanese dying method that allows colors to spread in an even, yet organic nature.

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The theme also calls for transitional apparel with technical properties. For example, Sampedro noted that Kit and Ace, the brand launched by Lululemon founder Chip Wilson’s wife, Shannon Wilson, and son, JJ Wilson, is making headway with its proprietary cashmere blend called qemir. The material exudes the luxurious hand of cashmere, but can be tossed in the laundry. For Fall ’16, the emphasis on performance will be placed on quilted jackets with both traditional and abstract quilting. Most of the fill will be synthetic, Sampedro said, since it can be easily washed.

Neoprene-looking joggers with strong shapes are important, however Sampedro said the sculpted silhouette could alternatively be achieved with heavy-duty fleece and sweat materials. One precursor to the trend is a pair of pants from the Alexander Wang for H&M Collection, which featured prominent seams for a modern, armor-inspired look.

In Instincts, the trend story might be based on the Nordic sense of adventure and powered by the popularity of activities like fatbike racing, but Sampedro said designers are approaching the primitive theme with a tongue-in-cheek edge. She said think of it as an “old shaman’s view of the world.”

Fur printed nylon, similar to the prints used by Moncler on its jackets, are a good example of the whimsical theme. Other key prints include graphic hide prints, spanning photo realistic to hand drawn, and crayon landscapes, which Sampedro compared to a child’s drawing. In these cases, the heavy use of white negative space creates a marble-like effect.

The trend calls for wool tech fabrics for versatility. In keeping with the demand for multipurpose garments, Sampedro said insulated leggings and shorts are on the rise, which she noted are good layering pieces for men who don’t want to wear only leggings. Leggings, however, take on a heartier appearance with Michelin Man-like seams. Minimalist construction, with bonded seams and angular effects, are essential and allow for easy movement.

While the shapes and construction veer toward understated, the colors that make up Instinct are nonetheless wild. Apple red, which Sampedro said was literally picked off a natural apple, lilac, a polar bear-inspired off-white, and a palette of green, spanning deep forest with a tinge of turquoise to Statue of Liberty green, play up to the theme’s fantastical vibe. The pops of color are offset with soft neutrals, including light pink, graphite and tan.

Scarab green, the pearly metallic green of a beetle, plays a pivotal role across all fall trend stories, but especially in Instinct. The color is luminous on reflective materials, from jackets to Palladium boots, and is a window to more soft gold and brushed metals.

The third theme of the season, Anticipation, applies Instinct’s fearless use of color and mashes it with a post-Apocalyptic, Jurassic Park-inspired mood. Sampedro called it an “updated military look” and noted that it will be a go-to theme for snowboarding activities.

As the season’s main performance story, designers mix muddy military colors with red delicious apple, creamy mint green, brown-based terracottas and sulfur——an update to last year’s neon green phase—to tell a high energy story.

Sampedro noted that this is where you’ll see brands get into advanced biometrics with garments that can track movement. Space technology designs, memory-shaping materials, and non-woven materials traditionally used in boat sails, will have a place beyond accessories and into garments.