Kees Scholten is at O’Neill as commercial director for about one year now. Coming from the fashion and streetwear business, it seems he really needs his fashion experience in the much more difficult becoming ski- and snowboard business. We met him at the Ipso fair in Munich, where brands like Burton, Quiksilver or Billabong didn’t show up this time. Interview by Regina Henkel

Mr. Scholten, it’s again a winter season without snow in Europe. How do you react?
Of course I’m praying for snow! Well, luckily we see a lot of growth with our retail partners. But we miss a lot of snowboard and ski brands on the fair, and maybe the reason why we are not so much affected by the weather is, we have a lot of hybrids. We say we are for people born on the street but with the head up in the mountain. And for sure we don’t differentiate between snowboard and ski, we are more about having fun in the snow, and this is how the consumer thinks today, too. Today it’s easy to be part of each world, in former times, you had to be the one or the other.

So you are going to strengthen those hybrids now?
Yes indeed. We are also setting up different sales forces for technical sports and for the urbanwear line. We are also testing different sales platforms. Now we are at Ispo where we have been for years, but we were also showing our collection at Modefabriek in Amsterdam and at Jacket Required in London this season for the first time. For our next summer collection we decided to be in Berlin, but we don’t know yet at which fair. Every success goes with an investment which goes upfront.

The summer theme surfing is as well not really hot at the moment, so what about the summer season?
We see a lot of surf interest globally, also in NY were you can hardly imagine a surfer scene. But it’s not the classical surfer with the crazy hair, it’s different. Also there, the people are part of several scenes and everything is becoming more harmonious.

How is retail in general reacting to the weather changes?
I heard some retailers saying, they are going into the running business now. My comment to that: Don’t sell winter products in August!