Kathmandu, the outdoor apparel label based in New Zealand, has recently made its entrance into the European market with a special launch event in Paris. Known for its innovative NXT-Level jacket, which received high praise at trade shows earlier this year, Kathmandu showcased its products at the renowned L’Eclaireur concept store during Paris Fashion Week as part of its expansion into Europe.

L’Eclaireur is known for its selection of clothing made from innovative materials, making it the perfect backdrop to present Kathmandu’s established products, such as the NXT-Level jacket. Made from Nylon 66, this jacket is leading the way in the development of “biodegradable” outdoor products. While it is not currently recommended to dispose of the jacket in nature after use, Kathmandu has stated that within five years, in a biologically active landfill without oxygen, 90% of the garment will break down. This innovation is a promising development for the clothing industry, which is increasingly concerned about the sustainability of products after their useful life.

Kathmandu views its entry into the European market as an opportunity to differentiate itself. The brand aims to use the innovation of the NXT-Level jacket to convey its approach and connection to nature, reflecting its New Zealand heritage. Eva Barrett, Chief Customer Officer of KMD Brands, the parent company of Kathmandu, Rip Curl, and Oboz shoes, explained that they intend to build on the overall concept of the brand, using this innovation as a starting point.

While Kathmandu has a long history of distributing outdoor products in New Zealand, the company is now shifting its focus to the global stage, bringing its outdoor expertise to a wider audience. To achieve this, they have enlisted the help of Robert Fry, an expert with experience at well-known brands like The North Face, Columbia, and Mountain Hardwear. With his expertise in international markets, Fry will bring new materials and colors to Kathmandu’s upcoming seasons.

To expand globally, Kathmandu plans to distribute its products through select stores specializing in outdoor products and independent outdoor specialists. They have already established partnerships with stores like Le Vieux Campeur in France and Sportsheck in Germany. In the UK, the brand’s marketing strategy revolves around promoting the joy of exploring the great outdoors and emphasizing sustainability, as Kathmandu is B Corp certified.

The priority for Kathmandu’s European expansion is to launch in France, the UK, and the Germany-Austria-Switzerland region. The acquisition of Rip Curl by KMD Brands three years ago has provided support for this expansion, leveraging Rip Curl’s European infrastructure. The goal for Kathmandu is to offer a unique aesthetic and technical offering to retailers and end consumers in these markets.

KMD Brands recently announced its annual results, showing growth of 6.2% to 979.8 million New Zealand dollars. Rip Curl experienced a 9.5% increase in sales, reaching 537 million, while Kathmandu saw a 6.8% growth to 382 million. However, Oboz sales declined by 18% to 61 million.

Kathmandu’s ambitions extend beyond Europe, as they have plans to expand into North America as well. They are implementing a similar strategy in Canada before targeting the American market. With their innovative products and focus on sustainability, Kathmandu is well-positioned for success in the global market.

Useful links:
Kathmandu Official Website
Rip Curl Official Website