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Outdoor garments, warm outlook

By Gan Tian | China Daily | Updated: 2013-12-23 07:45

Outdoor garments, warm outlook

International outdoor labels, like The North Face, are embracing the growing market in China. Provided to China Daily

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Major outdoor apparel brands are optimistic about the market in China. Gan Tian sizes them up.

In the glamorous fast-paced fashion industry, some fashion houses take about two weeks to turn a sketch in the designer's handbook into a jacket display in the store. But for a North Face jacket, the process takes at least 16 months. Perhaps that is why outdoor garments do not look "trendy", because they are often designed more than a year before they meet the buyers. But these "not-so-trendy" garments are now part of one of the fastest-growing apparel sectors in China.

Bruno Feltracco, the vice-president and managing director of Outdoor and Action Sports of apparel group VF Asia Pacific, says the outlook is positive.

"I think we'll stay (in China) forever because all the other countries are much less profitable than China, and China is still a growing market. Others can't grow more than 6 percent a year," says Feltracco, who was attending the recent North Face Outdoor Festival held in Beijing's Yuyang Ski Resort.

Feltracco oversees the growth of VF's brands of outdoor and action sports across Asia and the Pacific, including The North Face, Vans, Reef and Eastpak. One of his favorites, The North Face, is the No 1 brand for VF, which contributes about 18 percent of the total group sales. China is the second largest market in the world for The North Face, after the United States.

The US outdoor product company specializes in outerwear, footwear and outdoor equipment like backpacks, tents and sleeping bags.

One of its most celebrated products is a men's chromium thermal jacket. It has a comfortable soft shell of fleece lining, and its high-tech exterior fabric is 100-percent windproof. At the same time, it maintains a comfortable level of breathability.

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