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The future of outdoor lies between function and fashion, peaks and professional life

Urban Outdoor is entering the leading trade show in Friedrichshafen - urban explorers are the focus of the special "Lifestyle Collection” area

Friedrichshafen - The outdoor sector is adjusting to the future and the potential is great: more and more people around the world are living in metropolitan areas, while athleisure wear and urban fashion are now a firmly established feature of both cities and the outdoor market. The extensive growth area of urban lifestyle is also a trend topic at the leading international trade show OutDoor from 18 to 21 June 2017 in Friedrichshafen.

Mountains captivate but cities generate the business. This trend is already clear today and the future will make it even more so: metropolitan areas are growing, and people are moving into the cities. "At OutDoor, the focus is on the functionality of products. The overlap between the two markets of ‘Fashion’ and ‘Outdoor’, however, is growing all the time. With the ‘Lifestyle Collection’ in Hall A6, we have created a first-ever market place for current lifestyle trends from the fields of garments, shoes and accessories,” explains Head of OutDoor Stefan Reisinger.

"Urban Outdoor is a modern-day development. Today there are already more people climbing in halls rather than outdoors in nature,” reports Nora Kühner, freelance designer and trend expert. She has a firm belief: "The future will also see people indulging their yearning for nature in the city.” Nora Kühner is not alone in this view. Charles Ross, a UK-based lecturer in performance sportswear design, agrees with her: "Urban Outdoors is one of the biggest trends for the future of the performance sportswear industry. If the Outdoor Industry does not grab the market, then their rivals from outside the industry will. Companies will have to promote their own strengths and shift the focus to a certain attitude towards life - and this attitude must gel with urban consumers.” For Charles Ross, it is important that functional garments should be socially acceptable, which in his opinion is primarily a question of aesthetic appearance.

Frederik Sturm takes a broader view. The Managing Director of the small functional clothing start-up Arys in Berlin points out: "In my opinion, Urban Outdoor should not in any way lag behind the usual outdoor products in terms of function, but nevertheless meet the fashion requirements of modern customers. The fabric suppliers offer marvellous innovative materials to achieve a successful balance between the demands of functionality and fashion.” Arys will be displaying this approach in the lifestyle centre at this year’s OutDoor. High-quality functional fabrics by Schoeller and Polartec feature in a design that resembles anything but outdoor - and this in fact is Urban Outdoor.
The clothing manufacturer Schöffel, headquartered in Schwabmünchen, also sees great potential in Urban Outdoor: "The trend is towards a "rural exodus”; working, living and leisure have acquired a new quality. At the same time, people want to retain and demonstrate a sporty lifestyle,” says product manager Johanna Keinath from Schöffel. Asked what conditions urban outdoor has to fulfil, she replies: "Fashionable, clean and quiet in design, functional in everyday use and all at a fair price.”

Trade visitors can enjoy a preview of what future urban styles will look like in the centre for ‘Lifestyle Collections’ at Europe’s largest trade show for the outdoor sector. Hall A6 is where international brands will have an opportunity to join forces in expanding the outdoor concept.

The 24th OutDoor will run from Sunday, 18 June to Wednesday, 21 June 2017 (on Sunday to Tuesday from 9 am to 6 pm and on Wednesday from 9 am to 5 pm). It is only open for trade visitors. For more information, such as a list of exhibitors and a programme overview, please visit: www.outdoor-show.com.