Icebreaker Appoints Keryn Francisco as Global Product Design Director

Icebreaker, the New Zealand company that pioneered the outdoor merino wool apparel category, today announced the appointment of former Nike design director Keryn Francisco as global product design director.
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Icebreaker Appoints Keryn Francisco as Global Product Design Director

- Former Nike Global Design Director Joins New Zealand Merino Activewear Pioneer -

- Icebreaker Wins NZ Graphic Design Awards -

Portland, Oregon, USA and Wellington, New Zealand (11 October, 2010)– Icebreaker, the New Zealand company that pioneered the outdoor merino wool apparel category, today announced the appointment of Keryn Francisco as global product design director.

“Keryn is a top design talent and we are thrilled to welcome her to Icebreaker,” said vice president of product, and creative director Rob Achten. “She will bring great energy and inspiration to our design team.”

Said Keryn Francisco, “My mission is to continue to raise consumer awareness about the miraculous qualities of merino in a modern, functional and stylish way. I want everyone's personal experience with Icebreaker to be so intuitive and immediate that it shifts how they feel, and live, in performance apparel. They can look good and feel good on so many levels with Icebreaker. I passionately believe that the natural choice is the choice of the future.”

Francisco has worked for a wide range of companies, from lifestyle to performance sport and sportswear brands. She spent the last six years at Beaverton, Oregon-based NIKE, Inc. serving as global design director – women's training from 2008 to 2010, and design director – U.S. women's sportswear from 2004 to 2008. From 2002 to 2004 she was design director – juniors for Blue Marlin in San Francisco. She was also a design consultant for AG Jeans in South Gate, California in 2001. She worked at Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco for six years as senior designer – juniors from 1997 to 2001, and as a retail marketing specialist from 1995 to 1997. In 1997 she founded CYA Skatewear in New York City, leading an entrepreneurial venture of women's specific in-line skatewear.

“Early in my career, I designed denim apparel. I loved the authenticity and heritage behind a simple garment that was born out of necessity and utility. It was about originality and quality that was cultivated over a century,” added Francisco. “Icebreaker is very similar. When I held a baby merino lamb in my arms on my first visit to a sheep station in New Zealand's Southern Alps, I realized, ‘This is where my Icebreaker is born, not created in a lab.' You simply can't dismiss this fact. That was a turning point for me. With Icebreaker, I feel more connected to the earth and to my work than ever before.”

Francisco attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and holds her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley in English literature.

Icebreaker Wins New Zealand Graphic Design Awards

In other news, on 1 October 2010, Icebreaker's graphic design team won gold and two silvers at The Designers Institute of New Zealand annual Best Design Awards (see http://bestawards.co.nz), an annual showcase of excellence in graphic, spatial, product and interactive design.

Icebreaker won gold for its new, sustainable sock packaging (see http://bestawards.co.nz/entries/graphic/icebreaker-merino-socks-packaging), an 18-month project, which replaced the traditional plastic banit pins used to hold pairs of its premium merino socks together with an innovative folding cardboard wrap pack. The company won silver awards for its Icebreaker GT Technical Baselayer packaging (see http://bestawards.co.nz/entries/graphic/icebreaker-gt-technical-baselayer-packaging) and the new interior art at Icebreaker's Wellington headquarters (see http://bestawards.co.nz/entries/graphic/icebreaker-office-interior-art).

About Icebreaker

Launched in 1994, Icebreaker was the first company in the world to develop a merino fibre layering system for the outdoors. It was also the first outdoor apparel company in the world to source merino directly from growers, a system it began in 1997. There are now 25-30 distinct merino fabrics in the Icebreaker system, covering underwear, mid layer, and outerwear. Icebreaker is sold in more than 2,000 stores in 37 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Australasia and North America.

Based in Wellington, New Zealand, Icebreaker uses only pure merino handpicked from 140 high country stations in the country's Southern Alps to create adventure clothing for women, men and kids that combines nature's work with human technology and design. Icebreaker makes apparel for the outdoors, performance sport, travel and the city, and produces merino socks and accessories. The company is committed to sustainability, ethical manufacturing and animal welfare. In 2008 the company launched “Icebreaker Baacode,” a pioneering supply chain transparency and traceability program. Each Icebreaker includes a unique Baacode, which enables customers to trace the garment online from rearing the sheep through to each stage of the supply chain process.

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