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Beyond the Bale : March 2018
The XTM Performance brand was established in 1999, however its alliance with the Australian Winter Olympic team goes back a lot further than that. XTM owner Pete Forras’ aunt, Judy Forras, competed at the Olympic Games at Innsbruck in 1964. By the age of 14, with a rich winter sports background in his blood, Pete decided he wanted to follow in his aunt’s footsteps and after 10 years of hard work his dream became a reality at the Calgary Games in 1988. After his skiing career ended, but reluctant to leave the ski scene, in 1999 Pete started the XTM Performance brand along with two close friends Bill Dalton and Gary Rea, with the goal to design world class ski and snowboard wear. Within a few years XTM had become one of the biggest skiwear brands in the Southern Hemisphere. In 2004, Pete jumped at an opportunity to supply the whole Australian Winter Olympic team with XTM gloves. Since then, the XTM Australian Olympic range has grown considerably. At the PyeongChang Winter Olympic games held last month in Korea, the Australian Winter Olympic team wore a Merino base- layer set of top and pants (and, in case At the Winter Olympics in South Korea, Australian Olympic athletes were wearing Merino wool base-layers and socks supplied by Australian ski and outdoor brand XTM. MERINO GEAR IN KOREA of extreme cold, a full Merino one-piece Woolzy), a Merino neck warmer, and three types of Merino socks. Unlike the summer games, the winter athletes must deal with high altitudes, volatile winds and extreme cold. This mix can have major effects on the body. They can be standing static in extreme cold for long periods and then, all of a sudden, it’s go time and they need to be ready. There is not much time to adjust, so having a fabric that can react as quickly as them in cold wet conditions is crucial. XTM’s Woolmark-certified Merino range is now the company’s number one category, selling in more than 30 countries across the world. XTM has recently been playing with a new concept called MERINOlite. Made from 50% Merino and 50% coarse wool, XTM says it is super lightweight, highly breathable, thermo regulating, extremely adaptable and 100% Australian. This is something that XTM sees as the future of the brand. It has already had some great success using it in outerwear, mid-layers and gloves, but are also looking at putting it in footwear and some other applications that XTM anticipates will be coming to market over the next few years. Australia's Jarryd Hughes (middle) on the way to getting the silver medal in the men's snowboard cross big final at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. PHOTO: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images International media and retail buyers were also invited to view performance and skiwear designer ERIN SNOW’s latest capsule collection at a special preview event. The brand has partnered with AWI to develop a 12-piece skiwear collection, comprising pants, mid-layers and outerwear, and is made using Australian Merino wool. “The hallmark of ski apparel is wool; the incredibly warm and natural fibre has outfitted skiers, climbers and outdoor enthusiasts for generations,” said designer Erin Isakov. “Replaced by synthetics in the 1970s, ERIN SNOW was one of the sport brands to pioneer the return of performance wool to ski fashion over ten years ago. Collaboration with The Woolmark Company on a complete sport capsule collection for Fall/Winter 18/19 is exciting and very fitting.” Designed to invoke the elegance and glamour of vintage sport style, while fused with the performance benefits of Merino wool, the collection provides winter enthusiasts with an innovative capsule for cold-weather performance. “Skiwear holds a special connection with Merino wool, and one which will forever be connected by the fibre’s most well-known benefit: warmth,” explained AWI CEO Stuart McCullough. “Yet wool skiwear has come a long way since the bulky sweater of the 1970s, with Merino wool emerging as the ultimate performance fibre for luxury activewear. “Our partnership with ERIN SNOW is a natural fit, with the two brands at the forefront of technical innovation and cutting-edge apparel. In addition, the eco-credentials of Merino wool – a natural, renewable and biodegradable fibre – perfectly align to the design philosophy of ERIN SNOW.” MORE INFORMATION Hear more about AWI at ISPO in Episode 29 of AWI’s The Yarn podcast at www.wool.com/podcast AWI has partnered with skiwear label ERIN SNOW to release a Merino wool blend collection, unveiled at the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Colorado. OFF FARM 11
In the Shops - March 2018