Going Global: Summer 2015 women's lifestyle apparel

Bold prints and dusty hues allow today’s woman to travel in style. A look at what's ahead in women's lifestyle apparel at outdoor retail.
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Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2014 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Aug. 6 – 9. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.

Women’s lifestyle fashion for spring/summer 2015 is all about comfortable, versatile pieces that incorporate playful prints, stripes and textures for added individuality. Another requirement: The garments need to work both at home and on the road.

“Clothing needs to be fun, [with] styles that take you anywhere you want to go, pack into a carry-on and shake out ready to go,” said Annelle Beebe, founder of Ojai International. “That’s the way today’s active woman lives.”

Lighter and leaner has been a staple of backpacking for years now, and the travel sector is taking notice. Gone are the days of massive suitcases and over-packing. Today’s traveler tends to prefer a single backpack filled with all the essentials, an effort that demands versatility.

Design Director Kate Larramendy at Toad & Co. (formerly Horny Toad) calls it the “one bag, endless possibilities” approach. The revamped brand incorporates a new line with this modern globetrotter in mind, items that are “long-haul comfortable and low maintenance. Things that dress up, dress down and are lightweight, quick-drying and good for multiple wearings. Some have sun protection, some odor control,” she said.

Ladies on the move are bound to like Toad & Co.’s Transito Skirt (MSRP $69), made of a Tencel/nylon/spandex blend that holds its shape over multiple wears. The can’t-hardly-see-it front zip pocket is perfect for the passport. Icebreaker’sDestiny Dress (MSRP $200) brings the benefits of 100 percent merino wool, namely temperature regulation and odor control, in a beautifully styled package, while the elegance of Nau’s updated Tech-nique Tank Dress (MSRP $160)hides a DWR-treated face.

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Although the travel subcategory has fashion at the forefront, there’s still the need for everything to fit into a single bag. Thus, the bare-bones backpack requires a bit of creativity; multipurpose is a must. Using reversibility to provide two-in-one tops, SmartWool’s Turnabout Tank (MSRP $55) and the Topa line from Ojai International keep the pack as slim as the shirts’ fit.

Global-minded consumers increasingly are more conscious of eco-friendly fabrics and sustainable supply chains. Brands are responding in kind with garments that have lower environmental impacts, recycled materials, Bluesign-approved practices and fair trade features.

Patagoniaespecially, which has vowed to put only products with an environmental story in their lifestyle wear category starting Spring 2015, is stepping up. Their Brookgreen Sleeveless Top (MSRP $59), made of lightweight organic cotton, carries an eco story without forgetting details like a sunglasses’ loop. Icebreaker pairs merino wool with Tencel, a fiber made from sustainably produced plants, in its Sphere Short Sleeve Lowe Crew (MSRP $80) to deliver wicking power naturally.

Bolder women will love the looks for 2015, as the prints and patterns live loud and the catwalk gives her free reign to mix and match as desired. “Everyone wants to be unique,” said Kate Dondero, head buyer of softgoods for Sturtevants of Sun Valley in Idaho. “You want to walk into a place and have people ask, ‘Where did you get that?’”

Hues of coral show up everywhere, as do pops of turquoise, while patterning runs the gamut in a range that goes from loud to low-key. Marmot’s Camille Tank (MSRP $60) splashes onto the scene with a paint-spattered pattern that’s anything but quiet, while Krimson Klover brings Fair Isle (a knitting technique to make patterns from multiple colors) into the sun with fresh, bright colors giving a fun, flirty edge to what has typically been a winter print. Or go incognito in camo with Toad & Co.’s Petrograph Crop (MSRP $76) and Columbia’s Kenzie Cove Printed Short (MSRP $45).

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Stripes of many widths, color combinations and layouts will be big in spring/summer ’15 designers said, exemplified by Smartwool’s Sevenfalls Dress (MSRP $100), which takes a diagonal slant on the trend.

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The subdued consumer will love the dusty, earthy palettes inspired by natural surroundings. Columbia takes blues cues from coastal coloring; Toad & Co. draws on the rustic reds of the desert; and Icebreaker incorporates abstract scenes from its native New Zealand into its graphic tee collection.

The heathered look, which puts texture and the natural color gradations of the fabric at the forefront, lends itself especially well to these earthy palettes, as does the dark-to-light wash of ombre. Both Patagonia’s Fleur Tank (MSRP $49) and Prana’sJett Capri (MSRP $79) do the trends justice.

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--Courtney Holden

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