The demand for greater functionality and practicality, which had to satisfy precise style requirements at the same time, led designers and manufacturers to truly remarkable results, which have often infiltrated into everyday fashion as well.
History of skiwear fashion on top of the world’s highest peaks
The materials used at the time were clearly still natural and traditional: heavy wool and gabardine for the sweaters with the first snowflake decorations, or tweed for the tapered trousers and large furs to cover everything. However, the first technological experiments arrived pretty soon: waterproof tweeds and Burberry fabrics had been used already in the thirties in whole ski suits, just like the zippers, back then a very recent innovation and immediately applied to pockets and lower body gear.
That was not the end of the line: as Sport Obermeyer opened in 1961, the first mirror sunglasses in vaporized metal, waterproof and breathable nylon jerseys, the first double-layered ski boots with a warm insert and a rigid outer shell, the elasticised turtlenecks and even the first high-altitude sun lotions came to light.
From a frying pan to outer space: how Gore-Tex pushed skiwear into the new millennium
It must be said that the particular microporous material, extremely resistant and insulating, had had since the late thirties onwards countless applications: from Teflon of non-stick pans to NASA astronauts’ spacesuits and vascular prostheses in medicine. However, until the Gore family used it first, its lightness and waterproofing had never been applied for clothing purposes.
Long gone are the times when people used long-lasting, but stinky-smelling charcoal heaters and the chemical ones, which could be heated in boiling water. Now you only need to press a button that activates a mini lithium battery, spreading electrons in the silver filaments that pass through the carbon resistant label and generate heat, to have constant heating with multiple levels of intensity for up to 11 hours.
The last frontiers of below-zero fashion
The other major skiwear trend also concerns the implementation of aerodynamic functions, thanks to a peculiar mix of nylon and spandex that is sewn on arms, back and shoulders. This thread, reducing the resistance through very thin channels, better slits the air and allows it to maintain a higher speed. In addition, special heat exchanging patches have been designed to exploit the heat generated by exhalation, preventing at the same time the inhalation of icy air when temperatures become too extreme.
Only 1.85% of all this year's products can boast of having achieved such a result
That's not all: about half of the Helly Hansen models have been integrated with the Life Pocket System, which preserves the battery life of mobile phones and cameras thanks to the PrimaLoft Aerogel, developed in collaboration with NASA. The special pocket, two or three times warmer than a normal windbreaker, keeps the batteries charged to -30° outside temperature.