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Category Archives: Shopping
My shopping advice to everyone is this — run, don’t walk to the nearest Uniqlo store (or computer for uniqlo.com) to scoop up some ultra light down. With prices of $49.90 for vests and $69.90 for jackets, it is all too easy to consider an assortment.
Last week, after five hours and as many hooded down vests later, I emerged from a Manhattan Uniqlo overwhelmed but hardly defeated by the excessive goodness in store. Sure, the down collection is nothing new – but the success has driven more selection in styles, colors and prints! To me, the prints are the real coup: polka dots, gingham, plaid and more for women; camouflage, houndstooth, denim and others for men. I was defenseless against the super-cute hooded vests with dots and checks!
The designs are simple and flattering – the women’s styles in particular benefit from this approach, as they are not overdone with excessive quilting and shaping. In terms of weight, these garments fall in the down “sweater” category, perfect as outerwear in cool (not cold) temps and excellent layering weight. As for quality, the fill is 90% down / 10% feather with downproof nylon shell fabric. Zippers are YKK. The included stuff sack is a reasonable size that makes for easy storage. The concept of the compact stuff sack is widely promoted as an integral part of this collection with instructional videos running throughout the store and down garments put into their pouches by sales clerks at checkout.
It is exciting to see performance apparel stories take root in mainstream fashion. Uniqlo has been effective in educating consumers about the benefits of down (light, warm, packable, versatile, comfortable, natural) and showing how to make it a part of everyday dress. (Another success is their Heattech program developed with leading technical fabric supplier, Toray.)
Personally, I have been a big fan of Uniqlo since the Japanese fast fashion retailer opened the SoHo store in 2006. Some of my most worn staples are Uniqlo, product quality is excellent and price can’t be beat. I expect the same of these down pieces and am thrilled to have added to my vest collection for daily uniform wear and broadened my on-hill layering options. And I can’t wait to layer a polka dotted hooded vest under a contrasting color technical shell!
I made a run north of the border to scout Peak Performance gear for the upcoming ski season.
I had a couple of great Shredly sightings this past weekend while riding Kingdom Trails. Thanks to Village Sport Shop’s dedication to women’s product, the Lyndonville, Vermont specialty retailer is one of the first on the East coast to carry Shredly women’s mountain bike apparel.
Illustration from the 1956 summer catalog. ASMÜ was the brand name of a proprietary ski binding developed and patented in 1924. (ASMÜ = Founder August Schuster + Münich)
Celebrating 100 years, Sporthaus Schuster opened in 1913 as a sport specialty shop for mountaineers and skiers. Located in the heart of Munich, the enormous 5,000 square meter / 5-floor store offers all that is good to buy for outdoor sports.
With top-notch merchandising that is both clean and cozy, I love how much energy and vitality Schuster gives to the sale of outdoor gear. This is not, by any means, a traditional, sleepy outfitter. In addition to offering all the usual leading brands, the primary value of Schuster shopping is access to European specialty brands not readily available in the US: Peak Performance, Maloja, Houdini, Eisbar, Dynafit, and so many more.
Check the top floor for a chapter of Deutscher Alpenverein (DAV), the Bavarian mountain club, helpful with educated staff, maps and info. Don’t miss the Gustl store-in-store on the main level featuring contemporary souvenirs celebrating Bavarian heritage. And you won’t be able to miss the 25-meter climbing wall running the height of the shop.
I get a little bit fanatical about this place, so for me it is my first shopping stop in Munich. I allow two or more hours and to be honest, usually have a chaser visit to go back for additional items. At any rate, if you are in Munich do yourself a favor and stop in Schuster!
Sporthaus Schuster: Marienplatz, Rosenstrasse 1-5, 80331 Munich, Germany
The Globetrotter shop in Munich is a massive four floors of outdoor clothing and equipment presented with the most thorough, precise and functional merchandising I have ever seen. This German specialty retailer aims to make shopping an experience – and they succeed.
The top floor hosts a large branch of the Bavarian alpine club, Deutscher Alpenverein (DAV) – complete with extensive maps, information, merchandise and educated staff to help plan mountain adventures.
A 360° tour can be viewed on the Globetrotter web site; this video provides a walking tour – both show off the gorgeous fixtures and unique features of this store. I strongly recommend a stop at Globetrotter to shop the wide selection of premium outdoor brands or just for inspiration.
Globetrotter Munich: Isartorplatz 8-10, 80331 Munich, Germany
The first Brimfield Antique Show of the year didn’t feel particularly rich with alpine artifacts – but was great fun nonetheless. I rounded up some of the usual small finds: vintage photos, postcards, magazines.
The score of the day was a late 1930’s brochure for The New Haven Railroad Snow Trains illustrated by famed artist Sascha Maurer. (Maurer is best known for ski posters and credited with creating the Stowe “flying S” logo.) The brochure is in pristine condition with vibrant color and essentially gives me two mini posters – I am thrilled!
See you in September, Brimfield. . .
This never gets old. The Freitag store in Zürich constructed out of 19 freight containers with four floors of merchandise and rooftop access is definitely a shopping experience worth having. There is the efficiency of the architecture. And then there is the marvel of the interior — how Freitag, seemingly unflinchingly, devised an orderly (and visually impactful) system to present each individual piece of merchandise.
Freitag manufactures courier bags, tote bags and small accessories out of reclaimed truck tarps and recycled bicycle inner tubes. No two pieces are alike. Production is in Zürich and has been running since 1993, long before repurposing was a trend. The finished products are rugged beyond any expectation and with their graphic look are icons of contemporary Swiss quality and style.
Frietag Flagship Store: Geroldstrasse 17, 8005 Zürich, Switzerland
Alprausch is not to be missed when in Zürich. For the merchandise, the in-store environment and of course, the spirit of the brand – a celebration of Swiss alpine culture! Traditional themes are translated into playful streetwear, technical outerwear and accessories. Graphic design plays an intrinsic role: examples from 2012 and 2013.
xThese scarves – I mean really, how are you supposed to buy just one? (There are many more designs than shown here.) The pom fringe, folky scherenschnitt (papercutting) themes, skiing squirrels – it’s almost too much to process. Needless to say, I left with an assortment.
Alprausch Flagship Store: Werdmühleplatz 4, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
xxxxxAfter watching Mikaela Shiffrin win the world slalom title in Schladming, I headed to Salzburg to catch my flight home the next morning. Salzburg is one of my favorite places, so I am always happy for an evening stroll around the altstadt to check out the lovely store windows full of alpine inspiration.