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Icebreaker Names Rob Achten VP Product and Creative Director
Portland, OR, USA (26 May 2009) â€“ Icebreaker, the New Zealand company that pioneered the outdoor merino wool apparel category, today announced that Creative Director Rob Achten is being promoted to Vice President of Product and Creative Director. His duties will now include product design as well as ensuring that Icebreaker's brand identity, strategy and design direction are consistently carried through to all design disciplines. The company announced that Sandy LaRowe, VP of Product Design, since January 2007, is leaving to take on her next challenge.
â€œWe are happy to announce that Rob will be taking on the product team and will be moving to Portland from Wellington,â€ said Icebreaker CEO and Founder Jeremy Moon. â€œRob brings over 10 years of Icebreaker history, passion and drive to this role. This change deepens the relationship between brand and product as we continue to evolve our product.â€
Achten joined Icebreaker in 2003, and has built a strong team responsible for brand, graphic and retail design. His role is to ensure Icebreaker's identity, strategy and design direction are consistently carried through to all design disciplines. Before joining Icebreaker, Achten co-founded Origin Design, an agency based in Wellington, New Zealand. Origin started out as a boutique design company, and soon began collecting design awards. The agency attracted increasing numbers of corporate clients, but Rob found that industry upstart Icebreaker had become his favorite client.
â€œWorking for Icebreaker felt a lot more real than working for corporate types,â€ said Achten. â€œI like Icebreaker's commitment to nature and to sustainability, and enjoy doing work that had a real connection with something. When you work for Icebreaker, you're very close to your consumers. If one of your ideas doesn't work, you hear about it very quickly. As a designer, it keeps you honest.â€
Achten has won numerous design awards over his career, including a Stringer award for graphic design in 1995 and again in 2004. The Stringer award is the supreme award for outstanding achievement in the BeST Design Awards, New Zealand design's equivalent of the Oscars.
Launched in 1994, Icebreaker was the first company in the world to develop a merino fiber 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 10 distinct pure merino fabrics in the Icebreaker system, covering underwear, mid layer, and outerwear.
Icebreaker is sold in more than 2,000 stores in 24 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Australasia and North America. Based in Wellington, New Zealand, Icebreaker uses only pure merino hand-picked from 120 high country stations in the country's Southern Alps to create edgy outdoor clothing that combines nature's work with human technology and design. The company is committed to sustainability, ethical manufacturing and animal welfare. In 2008 the company launched â€œIcebreaker Baacode,â€ 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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