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Napapijri

Design-rich ranges with a nod to vintage outdoor styles are set to put the outerwear specialist back on the map

Back in the 1990s, Napapijri’s Norwegian flag logo was an instantly recognisable fixture on football terraces up and down the UK. The brand’s visibility soon migrated from technically led outerwear nerds to clued-up label obsessives before entering the mass market.
Over-saturation and a perception that Napapijri’s design efforts relied too heavily on a single product - its pullover hooded smock coat - combined to damage the brand’s cool quota. And then, seemingly in a flash, it was gone.

The following years found Napapijri hurtling through many changes. Most significant was the acquisition in 2004 of the brand by VF Corporation, which counts Wrangler, Lee, The North Face, Vans and Eastpak among its brands.

Napapijri won its initial fanbase off the back of its commitment to technical product, and VF Corporation has strived to reaffirm that by investing in research and development. A restructured management and a move to VF Corporation’s head office in Lugano, Switzerland, has also helped drive Napapijri into new markets and broaden its product portfolio.

Napapijri turned to London fashion agency Macandi to represent its sales in the UK. For autumn 09, the brand will be sold through 15 accounts in the UK including Hip in Leeds and Jules B in Newcastle upon Tyne. Harrods will sell the collection exclusively in London for autumn 09. “In the current economic environment, independents are trying to find points of differentiation,” says Andrea Cannelloni, VF Corporation’s general manager for Napapijri. “Napapijri’s focus on product can fill a gap in the technical lifestyle market.”

Alongside its men’s, women’s and kids’ wear mainline and its footwear collection, this year Napapijri launched two capsule ranges to help develop a dialogue between the brand and a more fashion-literate consumer. The first, Flag, references vintage outdoor styles and returns to artisan manufacturing techniques traditionally associated with the Made In Italy label. Each of the 20 Flag garments is made near Turin in Italy using antique looms. Prices range from £87 to £210.

The second collection is called 66°33’, which has a city casual handwriting but with outdoor references and uses high-tech breathable and waterproof fabrics. Prices range from £200 to £300, reflecting the premium nature of the collection.Cannelloni says: “Napapijri is a sleeping giant in the UK. The refined product range in conjunction with the backing of VF Corporation is a potent combination.”

Essentials

  • 2004 Year VF Corporation acquired Napapijri
  • £180 Top wholesale price for the mainline
  • 2,500 Number of international doors

Napapijri 020 7831 1625 www.napapijri.com

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