After four days of presenting the new winter collections 2015/16 at the sports fair Ispo in Munich (5.-8.2.2015), the leading international exhibition for the sports industry closed with good results. Close to 80,000 visiting professionals from more than 100 countries and 2,585 exhibitors presented their innovations in sports equipment and sportswear fashion on 104,940 square meters of exhibit space.

Although the winter was again challenging, the sports industry showed a lot of optimism. “In addition to numerous new products two topics dominated the exhibition: weather and exchange rates. Both are challenges we can only meet with the help of long-term rethinking – both as a brand and as an industry”, said Rolf Schmid, CEO Mammut and President of the European Outdoor Group (EOG). Many retailers and brands discussed their options to react to climate change and changing consumer behavior. Their goal is to become more flexible and jointly determine the best possible seasonal launch times to better adjust the timing of winter sports product offers to actual winter weather conditions.

As a strategy to become more independent of snow conditions, many brands from the segments outdoor, ski or snowboard are heading for more fashion in their collections with different amounts of functionality. Parkas are still bestsellers for brands like 66° North or Didriksons and also O’Neill pointed out the importance of adding urban wear to the technical collection. Mirco Geise from O’Neill: “The last seasons were difficult for classical snowboard jackets, so we decided very early to add urban wear to our range, which was a big success.” Also brands like Odlo, most known for technical underwear, changed their collection massively and offer now a completely new look with a fashionable and functional collection. Jonas Ottosson, former CEO at Peak Performance, became CEO at Odlo in 2012. This winter, the first collection under his reign came into the market.

In terms of trends, the sports collections showed a lot of inspiration from fashion – which is quite natural since fashion has been celebrating sports optics a lot in the last seasons. The mixture of different structures, material and hand feels dominates many collections. Padded elements were ubiquitous, like the padded underwear and running dress at Odlo, the functional denim shirts at Mammut or the insulation jackets at Mountain Force. 3D-structures, like at the shoulders of a Kjus jacket, were visual elements as well as a technical feature to cushion the carriage of ski. Goldbergh, a luxury ski brand from the Netherlands, presented a completely integrated collection with technical skiwear with high-end schoeller materials as well as fashionable oversize knit pullovers. Also fashion brands like Blutsgeschwister showed up at Ispo for the first time: Maria Belén Ritacco – International Sales at Blutsgeschwister: “We decided to exhibit at Ispo as the performance pieces of our collection such as fleece jackets and quilted coats are high in demand among our end customers and therefore sales partners. The traffic here at our booth has been quite intense in spite of being a new addition.” Other traditional fashion brands like Desigual, Emporio Armani with EA7 or Bestseller with Only Play and Jack & Jones Tech were showing their technical collections, too. On the other hand, Bogner launched a new technical line for men, B Tec by Bogner.

Also new fabrics were presented on the fair. The new Gore-Tex c-knit material, a new laminate with a knitted backing was used by Peak Performance or Patagonia the first time. The knitted backing makes the fabric much smoother and gives it a less technical hand feel than other laminates before. Sympatex presented its new intelligent Phaseable laminate, and Toray a new plant-based membrane. “We also decided to fasten the entry into the market of our plant-based polyester”, Tabea Lier from Toray explained.

Sustainability was again a very strong topic. Many brands like Houdini, Jack Wolfskin, Fjällräven etc. were presenting their first PFOA-free technical products or collections. PFOAs (Perfluorooctanoic acid) are used for waterproof treatments of fabrics and persist indefinitely in the environment and are toxicant and carcinogenic.

The demand for sporting goods is also increasing in China. In response, Messe München will hold a second event in addition to Ispo Beijing, under the name Ispo Shanghai. The new exhibition will be held from July 2 to 4 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center (SNIEC). As a multi-segment trade show, Ispo Shanghai will focus even more on Fitness, Water Sports and Sportstyle in addition to Outdoor and Action. To date more than 300 brands have confirmed their participation, among them well-known brands like Camelbak, Fjällräven, Mammut and Toread.

Ispo Munich 2016 will be held from January 24 to 27, 2016, in its usual weekday slot from Sunday to Wednesday.