Bringing a fashion sensibility to the performance qualities of skiwear, Erin Snow is a game-changer for glacial style.
As soon as Erin Isakov could walk, she had a pair of skis strapped to her and off she went. It’s no wonder, then, that the Californian-born New York-based fashion designer started her own skiwear label, Erin Snow. Isakov grew up a skier, snowboarder, surfer and outdoor junky. Her father was part of Mammoth Mountain’s ski patrol when Isakov was born and is a life-long surfer who put his daughter on the nose of his board while she was still in diapers. “Skiing has been a part of my life since before I can remember but I have countless incredible memories of family ski trips,” said Isakov. “My husband and I have carried on the tradition with our three kids - each of them started on toy skis walking around our living room as soon as they could stand, then backyard fun and Deer Valley ski school since they were two.”
So what happens when a fashion designer and avid skier can’t find skiwear she feels comfortable in? She starts her own label of course. “It was the early-2000s and ski apparel for women had really fallen off. As a young woman working in fashion I felt uncomfortable dressing for the sport I loved. The sport no longer resembled my favourite vintage ski films or images so I felt compelled to create a sportswear brand with the style, tailoring and sensibility of a fashion brand. At the time, sport was not at all considered fashion.”
Fast forward 15 years and the line between sportswear and fashion is considerably blurred, with technical, performance fabrics and sporty aesthetics taking centre stage. It’s this marriage of two passions - fashion and skiing - that defines the soul of Erin Snow. For its latest current fall/winter collection, the label has partnered with The Woolmark Company to release a wool-rich skiwear range which invokes the elegance and glamour of vintage sport style with innovative performance technology thanks to Merino wool. “The natural performance of Merino wool is astounding. Without the use of harsh chemical applications or fossil fuels we can create luxurious textiles from a renewable, naturally-derived, biodegradable fibre. The resulting garments perform better than any synthetic I have worked with for sport use - the odour control property of Merino alone is a cause for celebration.”
The capsule collection consists of 12 pieces ranging from pants, mid-layers and outerwear, using “a time-tested and proven performance fibre in new, interesting ways”. Skiwear holds a special connection with Merino wool, and one which will forever be connected by the fibre’s most well-known benefit: warmth. “Yet wool skiwear has come a long way since the bulky sweater of the 1970s, with Merino wool emerging as the ultimate performance fibre for luxury activewear,” explains The Woolmark Company Managing Director Stuart McCullough. “Our partnership with Erin Snow is a natural fit, with the two brands at the forefront of technical innovation and cutting-edge apparel. In addition, the eco-credentials of Merino wool perfectly align to the design philosophy of Erin Snow.”
For Isakov, one of the most important aspects of Erin Snow is not just about creating clothes that look good and feel good, but about creating long-lasting products that consumers can feel good about buying. "We only work with factories that comply with our workplace code of ethics and we choose to partner with the world’s best mills and producers. With them, we dig deep to source new, ethical materials and methods. Since 2003, we’ve been early experimenters with sustainable fibres - and we plan to keep this momentum going. We take this work seriously and apply it to every component of our business. As a business owner, designer and person with a deep love and appreciation for my natural surroundings I believe that it is my responsibility to help raise the bar for how apparel is made, worn and experienced - it’s all part of our commitment to making things the right way.”