August 23, 2019

Five for Friday: Active wear

Finnish manufacturers of active wear are well-equipped for the big leagues.
Finnish manufacturers of active wear are well-equipped for the big leagues.
Julia Bushueva

Work up a sweat with these Finnish threads to help maximise your sporty pursuits.

Finns are certified sports nuts, and some might say we have the strangest hobbies in the world, what with all the ice swimming, wife carrying, swamp soccer and so forth that goes on here. Weird sports aside, Finns have come to prominence in many traditional sports and lately also in manufacturing active wear.

This week we take a closer look at five brands that are making a move on the global scene for sports clothing.

Icepeak

With the mission of bringing affordable and breathable clothing to the general public, Icepeak was founded in 1996 by one of the biggest clothing manufacturers in the Nordics: L-Fashion Group. Since Icepeak was born, the brand has been making itself known all over the world for its easy-to-care-for products for different outdoor environments, including jackets and trousers suitable for hiking and skiing and light apparel offerings such as T-shirts, polos and shorts.

Each of these incorporates some of the numerous different technologies championed by Icepeak, ranging from basic waterproofing to anti-bacterial and moisture transfer properties, UPF, stretchability and thermal material.

“Active and innovative product development is one of our main areas of expertise,” CEO Vesa Luhtanen said a few years back. “Around 70 per cent of Icepeak’s offering changes radically every year. We want to make sure that we have up-to-date items for all our target groups in all market areas.”

Halti

Named after the highest fell in Finland, outdoor sports equipment company Halti has constantly sought to take its business to new heights. In 2016, the company announced a co-operation agreement with French company Tecnica Group, which has turned out to be very fruitful.

“[This] is an important step in getting the Halti brand finally integrated in the demanding consumer markets in France,” said Jukka-Pekka Vuori, CEO of Halti. “Tecnica Group is a traditional, strong brand, making it a natural partner for us. The agreement now signed increases Halti’s credibility as a growing trademark in Europe.”

“Halti continues to look for new growth in key European sports apparel markets,” he added.

ZeroPoint

Founded in 2009 after extensive university research showed how compression products boost performance, ZeroPoint has always focused on three major aspects: quality, design and sustainability. The products are tested and developed with the help of professional athletes such as snowboarder Eero Ettala.

Being ecologically sound is highlighted by ZeroPoint’s use of recycled material.

“We use recycled materials as much as possible,” CFO Jaakko Hintikka told us in 2018. “We only use other materials to reinforce the features that are needed for optimal compression, but our goal is to eventually be 100 per cent recycled.”

Mbody

Kuopio-based Myontec has created smart sports shorts that provide the user with important real-time information about their muscles during and after exercise. The shorts, which bare the name Mbody, have received recognition and awards in Finland and abroad.

Pekka Tolvanen, Myontec’s CEO, described the essence of Mbody to us in an interview in 2014: “While a heart rate monitor measures cardiovascular function as a sort of fuel pump, Mbody measures muscle performance, i.e. the functioning of the body’s ‘engine’.”

Garmendo

As the textile industry has become one of the most polluting industries globally, the sisters behind Garmendo have decided to create a production process that is ethical and sustainable from start to finish.

“Our business model is to sell ecological and ethical products, and this includes the treatment of workers at factories, as well as packaging and shipping,” co-founder Minna Eerikäinen outlined. “That way, our values are present all the way from choosing materials to manufacturing and the customer’s doorstep.”

Text: Jonathan Öller

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