Napapijri’s vice-president of marketing ecommerce and strategy, Kathy Hines, talks to Drapers about heritage, collaborations and inspirations.
Outdoors brand Napapijri was founded in Italy in 1987, based around founder Giuliana Rosset’s desire to combine outdoor practicality with style. Now part of VF Corp, which also owns labels like Vans, Timberland and Wrangler, the brand is based in Stabio, Switzerland. The brand has more than 200 own brand stores, and more than 2,200 stockists worldwide. For autumn 17, it launched a collaboration with up-and-coming London menswear designer Martine Rose. Drapers spoke to Kathy Hines, vice-president of marketing ecommerce and strategy, about motivation, passion and the brand’s unusual name.
What’s your background? I started as a strategy consultant then transitioned to Nike, where I made my way into marketing. Eventually, I found my way to Switzerland with Napapijri, a beautiful and iconic brand.
How did you come to be working in fashion? Passion, purpose and hard work.
Where does the brand name come from? What does it mean?
“Napapiiri” means Arctic Circle in Finnish [the extra “j” is for trademark reasons]. This came from the founder gaining inspiration from early arctic explorers from the 19th century and, according to her, it just sounded right.
How would you describe the aesthetic of the brand?
Napapijri’s aesthetic is expressed in the brand’s collections through an approach we call Heritage Forward. “Heritage” draws inspiration from the brand’s history, and is expressed in the products through vintage treatments, badges, thick stitches and an earthy colour palette. “Forward” comes to life in a more urban and sleek look, and represents Napapijri’s mind-set to “Make it Better” with product innovations that improve our consumers’ lives while making a meaningful contribution to the world.
Tier 1 ebba
What makes the brand unique?
At Napapijri we like to say that we don’t want to change the world, we just want to do our part to make it better. At the moment we are 100% fur and down free and working on future “better”. This is what I love. This makes us unique.
Do you have a favourite product from the collection?
The rainforest jacket (£145-£200) – one of our first-ever products. (Retail prices range from £50 for backpacks to £700 for ski jackets.)
How did the collaboration with Martine Rose come about?
A little luck, a little foresight and, most of all, a common admiration and respect for each other. When we met Martine, we absolutely loved her, her spirit, her curiosity and her creativity. She is a gem of a human being and we are proud to have her in the Napapijri family.
How do you keep yourself motivated and creative?
My best moments occur when I’m running outside alone. In particular, my greatest creativity happens in the autumn when the leaves are changing. Something about this transition triggers me to have an even more open mind.
Is there anyone you particularly admire?
I am fascinated by Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla. His contributions to the automotive and solar power industry accelerated all of us to think differently about our own industries. How do we change what we do to make an impact? How do we set an example? How do we envision a better future? I view him as an inventor, a creator and an inspirer of the future.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve received?
Work hard, be humble, drive impact and surround yourself with the best people.
Favourite place to shop
Last fashion purchase
White leather Vans sneakers
Last book you read
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – for the fifth time!
Last film you watched
A consultant at Bain and Company
Singer with Harry Connick, Jr and his entire band
What would we find you doing at the weekend?
Working out, cooking and relaxing