1.18.2008

Organics, waterproof breathables, and ex-skate superstars

At Outdoor Retailer? At SIA? Nope .... it's the PGA Merchandising show, a jam-packed trade gathering for a $195 million industry that creates 2 million jobs in the United States.

Judge Smails was there. And so was young Tad. But the biggest story in the booths wasn't kelly green and tassle loafers. It was a turning of the wind.

It wasn't everywhere, but it was tangible and clearly growing. It was happening to some of the biggest names in the sports universe, to classic brands making a clear directional shift, and to upstart brands carrying a lot more soul (and a lot more heavy hitting action sports designers on their roster than i would ever have expected.)

'Links to lounge' wear, organics and Cocona, waterproof breathables and seam welding, overt tips of the hat to outdoor designs, covert sneaks of great ideas from the greater world, and cool shirts and pants and shoes that would look just fine on the floor of ASR.

In the shuttle ride to the airport, I woke up a bit. The outdoor world is influential, for certain. But there's no reason to believe that they have cornered the market on the fruits of the aspirational outdoor lifestyle.

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