The latest ski wear trends for 2016

The world of snow fashion has come a long way from the heavy wool and gabardine knickerbockers of the 1930s when Gore Tex was but a dream in a water logged skier's mind. Many tried along the way – French fashion house Balenciaga created Cracknyl in 1949, a shiny fabric used in its ski and rainwear range in an attempt to keep water at bay.

Gore specs

Meanwhile, Klaus Obermeyer built an outerwear empire in Aspen and alpine racer Willy Bogner Snr designed stretch stirrup pants for women worn by Marilyn Monroe and Ingrid Bergman. Then Gore Tex came along in the mid 1970s and changed everything with the world's first breathable, windproof and waterproof fabric. Primaloft fabric followed a decade later with its microfibre thermal insulation originally designed for extreme military conditions.

Today's ski fashion is a blend of highly technical elements for the purist skier and boarder utilising Gore-Tex, Primaloft and their new technical fabric friends, and big name brands for those that don't expect much more than a schnapps and a latte on the slopes.

You can also choose to ski in labels like Fendi, Lacroix, Hermes and Gucci or fork over big dollars for luxury outerwear brands such as Moncler and Frauenschuh.

Outer limits

But there's a third option: outerwear brands that specialise in technical elements, innovative fabric and street style. Think Burton's collaboration with Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B fashion brand as a prime example. Many of these dedicated mountain brands also combine a commitment to the environment, ethical production, athlete input and style. Many are also cult brands that only sell online.

This ski season in particular it is all about bibs. Bibs, bibs and more bibs. Think of them as the dungaree onesie that ensures no powder goes down your pants. Wear them in block colours from Scandinavian brand Norrona or from Portland cult US brand, Trew Gear.

Perfect pants

At the opposite end is the trend towards more fitted tight pants, once reserved either for the 1960s or for ladies of a certain Thredbo age. They've been brought back onto the scene when snowboard champ Shaun White decided to enter the halfpipe in pants that were surely sprayed on.

Perfect Moment, a ski and surf brand founded in the mountain mecca of Chamonix, have put an edgy spin on the stretch pant with some fun design elements, tongue planted firmly in cheek. The Aurora Flare pant from the brand features stretch-twill fabric with a Dermizax waterproof and windproof layer and Karuishi fleece backing. That's a vast improvement on the nylon wool blend of the original Bogner stretch pant.

Picture this

It's not the only French mountainwear brand making a mark. The organic Picture brand makes all of its outerwear products from recycled polyester and organic biological cotton. All of its products are certified OEKO TEX 100.


Its gear has been worn at the Sochi Olympics and won various ISPO snow industry innovation awards since launching in 2008. The pants within the range even come with a unique powder skirt, usually reserved for jackets.

Snow ethics

Of course, it is not just the fabric that can cause environmental concern. If you are worried about the ethical sourcing of goose down in your ski jacket then you need only look for the Allied Feather & Down logo to know that it's been sourced and produced with a Bluesign standard.

Bluesign tracks textile chains of production to ensure a reduced impact on people and environment. Helly Hansen and North Face have both committed to Allied Down for their outerwear products.

Patagonia, Marmot, Lowe Alpine and Norrona are just some of the names utilising the new Polartec Alpha technology, a synthetic fibre originally developed for US Special Forces that regulates the core body temperature while dynamic or static, providing warmth without weight.

Advanced style

Patagonia is also doing more than its bit for the environment, and has for a long time. In 1993 it created the first fleece from recycled plastic bottles, and customers today can take their used Patagonia clothes to a store or mail them in to the company's unique Common Threads Partnership. Your clothes will be recycled or incorporated into new clothes.

Wool blends are also 'so hot right now' (no pun intended). Polartec Power Wool is a fabric described as wool on the inside next to the skin and synthetic on the outside exposed to the elements. The result is an odour-resistant fabric that retains shape and breathability and insulates when wet.

With all of these advances in fabric technology we can now safely say that gabardine knickerbockers will remain in the vault of ski fashion past.

Scroll through the gallery above to see the latest in slopes style.