Every now and then a ski brand comes along that creates a buzz even outside of our industry, and to wit, a pair of vibrant red women’s Black Crow ski pants were recently featured in the December issue of In Style magazine. As a relatively unknown European ski brand in the U.S., placement in a mainstream fashion magazine really got them stoked.
The brand quietly introduced a few softgoods pieces through select specialty retailers in North America last year, but with no promotion around it. The upcoming OR + Snow Show in Denver marks the official launch of the comprehensive line in North America – and most of these pieces are new globally.
With retail prices hovering in the Arc’teryx-ish neighborhood, Black Crows has taken its designs to a new level with nods to the founder’s French mountaineering heritage combined with a sharp urban edge along with a dose of vintage – taking cues from their instantly recognizable chevron pattern repeated with their ski graphics.
Friends and professional skiers Camille Jaccoux (who once played stunt double to James Bond) and Bruno Compagnet (a quintessential mountain bum who lives to climb and ski) founded Black Crows in Chamonix in 2006 and began selling skis the following year.
The brand has quietly continued to gain a following in the U.S. for its skis and in 2015 a modest line of outerwear (one jacket for men and women, one pant for men and women, bibs for men, and a Primaloft bomber jacket for men and women) launched in North America. The apparel resonated with core millennial skiers looking for smaller, independent brands that share their values and passions for big mountain skiing. “Discrete, with a strong identity” is said by Jaccoux to describe the brand’s design ethos. The two haven’t reinvented the wheel, they just made it a little bit cooler.
We got a glimpse into the success of Black Crows apparel from co-founder Camille Jaccoux:
How did the discussion begin to launch an outerwear line?
It started from a need, same as when we started building skis. There are some great products on the market with an amazing technical level, but we think that Black Crows apparel combines all the technical assets + a combination of style and graphics. A modern elegance of sorts.
The color palette for skis and outerwear are both subtle and bold. Talk about the inspiration behind color choices.
We think technical ski clothes can and should tied to urban influences inspiration. We wanted to work with colors that look nice and stylish on snow but also in more urban environments, travel and the après-ski. Generally, we try to find a balance between flash and more neutral colors that complement each other, enabling customers to find their own Black Crows style or mix and match.
How do you explain the success you’ve achieved with the outerwear?
Black Crows is a very dynamic brand but we always stay true to who we are and who we’re for. We develop products for the practice of skiing, that’s what we do and where we come from. That said, we do it for a “contemporary” skier, with influences from the mountain and also from the city. We want to bring back a strong ski culture, through the design of both our hard goods and our new apparel line.
What’s your favorite piece?
The Corpus 3 Layer Jacket (the one she’s wearing in the photo above)… I can ski with it everyday and wear it in any situation all winter long, with a ski pant or a jean. It’s the hero product in our line, which we have continued to build upon for 18/19 with two new variations: the Corpus Insulated Gore-Tex Jacket and the Corpus Insulated Stretch Jacket.