Marcel Hirscher may have retired from professional skiing two years ago, but the two-time Olympic ski champion is still on the slopes. With The Mountain Studio, the new 32-year-old brand, backed by Peak Performance founders Stefan Engström and Peter Blom, attempts to combine performance outerwear with modern Alpine and Scandinavian design, espousing style, durability and mountain lifestyle as its primary values.
“Every day we ski; it’s amazing to test the equipment to improve it and create the best possible product yet. And we are not finished. We are working every day to get better and better, ”Hirscher told Highsnobiety on Zoom from his home in Salzburg, ahead of tomorrow’s launch.
The native of Austria wants to move mountains with a line of unisex clothing suitable for the slopes and the street. Born and developed in Zermatt, Switzerland, performance-oriented products for skiing and other outdoor activities are designed with versatility and style in mind, with a clean look.
Engström and Blom, who founded Peak Performance in 1986, propelled the label to success with annual sales of just under $ 170 million and a presence in more than 25 markets around the world. Since leaving Peak Performance, they have helped labels like J. LINDEBERG and Filippa K thrive. Engström is an executive and avid skier; Blom was editor-in-chief of Sweden’s largest ski magazine, Åka Skidor. Alpine skier Hirscher remembers buying a Peak Performance hoodie with one of his first professional ski paychecks. Shortly after his retirement, he heard that the couple were considering a new business.
“When I retired I heard a rumor that Stefan was building a new label. He told me the story and I was completely in love right away. What I brought to it , it’s my experience of having skied for thousands of days in my whole life: I had so many ski clothes and you learn what is good, what is bad, what is perfect, what material is good .I give them feedback from 20 years of skiing, and it’s really cool because they’re so open.
The challenge with their multi-pronged stylistic approach is that the vision will be watered down, but Hirscher says “we know it’s hard to balance, but our philosophy is to create a style that can be worn in almost any situation. life “.
The small product line, starting with around 20 styles, starting at $ 850 for shell jackets, is driven by the idea that today’s consumers expect less durable and versatile items from brands.
Resisting the demands of the traditional fashion system, the outerwear will be marketed in limited series all year round, around new colors, fabrics, design and artist collaborations, and special occasion editions, at selected retailers in premium ski resorts and online. .
This extends to manufacturing where Hirscher is committed to using materials like GORE-TEX®, Primaloft® insulation, YKK zippers, meeting the needs for waterproofing, breathability, warmth and durability. comfort. At the same time, the former professional skier wants to make sure that every part is designed with longevity in mind.
“We want to see the business grow, but the growth should be healthy, so it will be slow. We’re not trying to blow up and then, boom, we’re everywhere, ”explained the seven-time world champion of the retail strategy led by Edi Radacher, who previously managed sales at Salomon, Peak Performance, and J. LINDEBERG. He added: “We are looking for retailers who are our niche because we absolutely see it as that premium product that is not for everyone.”
“It’s important that we don’t wash it because our sustainability is creating clothes that you can wear for a very long time. Normally ski equipment doesn’t last long because tourists ski one week a year and it’s finished or broken and the customer has to buy new ones, ”Hirscher said. “[So] we focus on a quality product that will appeal to our end customer because it is definitely different from that.
However, the ambition is even greater. “We want to create the mountain lifestyle that [people] to see and think that it is amazing to go out, put away your cell phone and go up in the mountains to enjoy this environment. ‘”