Saturday, August 14, 2010





West 30’s aka ‘The Forbidden Zone,’ NYC

Words/Images Judith Ecochard

Practically speaking, we could never understand why anyone would buy a fashion label for the harsher side of winter’s weather, when many outerwear brands are made of state-of the-art textiles (waterproof, breathable, lightweight, odor repellant, stretchy, superior insulation), are spot on for design trends (flattering silhouettes, adjustable fits, techy details, MP3/gadget friendly), wearer friendly (easy to wash, durable), … etc…and often made from recycled and recyclable materials, PLUS eco aware packaging.


We certainly felt that the nano-second we cruised into the SIA helmed display of various performance wear (and gear) brands that we entirely missed at last January’s Denver based SIA Tradeshow cause we couldn’t go.

Right off, NILS Skiwear, a female centric company that “strives to meet that special harmony between style and performance,” got out attention with its downright chic assortment of jackets, pants, thermal knit tops and matching accessories.

From ‘Slope to Street” is a fitting mantra…for each of NILS groupings.

K-Nect affordably priced (range 105-$270)---with three jackets in a cool herringbone pinstripe pattern - relaxed, fitted and semi-fitted ---with low rise flattering, insulated pants to coordinate separates.

FYI: ALL jackets are waterproof, adjustable cuffs, critically seamed sealed-keeps the water OUT, underarm ventilation, powder skirts-keeps the snow OUT, Media pocket and external holes for earpiece wires, remove-able hood, fleece cuffs, lipstick and larger easy accessed pockets…)

Sport---are for the gal on the go ---including three jackets/ and slightly flared low-rise sporty (of course) stretch pants in bright shades as well as black/white. …

The jackets that are competition tough are waterproof 10,000mm, breathe ability 10,000gr, with snazzy embossed lining and have the aforementioned tech and convenience features of the K-nect line, 

The Collective Group will star in some glossy for good reason…the vibrant new colors  (teal, scarlet)---and woven yarn dye windowpane plaid fabric pattern – plus the slick gun metal pyramid hardware (esp. the dome rivets down the legs of the spot-on Pamela)---==elevate these jackets and jean style pants.

Some styles have a remove-able trimmed faux fur hood --- a terrific bad weather option.

We actually LOVED some of the looks form the Classics (jackets from $330-$535) and Debut group the best.

Both groups have FABULOUS knits-to wear underneath or on their own--- with curved Princess seams, shaping yoke cuts---all for flattering fits, and details like Crystal buttons, eye-catching embroideries, cable stitching…

The Debut jackets in particular ($430 on up to $600)…have the ease of gym clothes---with 4 way stretch, wide waist defining snap belts, custom hardware snaps, great custom fabrics…in the basics and a striking bronze---and enough glam to smooze into the Aspen scene as well as any fashion forward city we can think of.

from the Collective Group

Just as TREND ON but for a different market, perhaps is the offerings by Sessions Outerwear---a new to us brand of performance apparel that is 25 years old.

Functional, technology there and style all combine in a brand that has its vibe deeply rooted in the skate/surf/snowboard-music scenes.


And not just a nod to---we saw the cool now on sale jacket that’s a collaboration with the monster band Metallica, …with the soon to launch new jacket powered by Pearl Jam.


The PJ jackets are beyond hip---it has built-in amp-powered surround sound speakers in the hood (in two color waves-with Skullcandy controller) and an mp3 control panel IN THE SLEEVE. ($369.99)

So all you guys rockin’ out the slopes, watch out…you may miss the other skiers/boarders ready to plow into you. Ha Ha.

No worries though for face plants on your own power---the 15,000mm waterproof will keep you dry.We know guys who only hike the subway steps, that’ll covet this jacket too.

Sessions has other waterproof jackets and apparel for men (the aptly named Snowboard Outreach Society)—and for women too. Our fav detail--- the hidden mittens that fold away.

PLUS: A Boarding For Breast Cancer Jacket $200  ---(original artwork to be auctioned off with 100% net proceeds go to fight the cause), excellent tees…

And a whole-line up of protective layer gear---that molds to your body via heat we generate.

We wish we had this kind of shorts padding (tail bones, hips, knees) when we learned to snowboard…instead of the ultra bulky/weighty hockey padding we sewed into our apparel.
 Website was not working when we tried---but here it is anyway.

When we saw our first pair of SWANY gloves---it was in the Gibson Guitar Lounge at the Sundance Film Fest.

While the mittens and gloves are still the answer to our freezing fingers ---using Skintex® (see our write-up about the company's buzzed about hands free, cell phone glove)---


The company’s new GREEN M.O. Eco Circle™---with gloves and mittens made of the new ECOSTORM™ fabric from Teijin---a 100% perpetual recycled, recyclable fabric…that can be mailed back to the company (enveloped provided)…for recycling. ($55-70)

New too are the inner gloves for the Crackberries amongst us---that we would wear without the zip-on Toaster Harmony mitten on warmer days. 

There are also CasualTech gloves sold separately for those who want to reach out and touch---too.

Cute idea---the Packybak insulated super lightweight glove that folds up tiny---and stuffs in a portable, clip provided nylon packet.