Houdini Sportswear in Collaboration with Polartec, ISPO Zeitgeist, 2023

Stockholm-based outdoor brand Houdini Sportswear presents multiple initiatives on the journey towards the brand’s vision of “Maximum experience, zero impact, and beyond”. A first look at the new Planetary Boundaries Assessment was presented during ISPO and Houdini will continue to expand the Ride Clean initiative, an umbrella concept for all efforts aimed at empowering skiers and snowboarders to practice their passion while contributing to a life in harmony with nature. A new concept shell utilising a brand new Polartec® fabric innovation was also presented at the trade show. 

First Things First – Knowing Our Impact: Meet the New Planetary Boundaries Assessment

The first step to minimise your environmental impact is to know what it is. In 2015, Houdini initiated the ground-breaking Planetary Boundaries Assessment, a holistic, corporate evaluation based on the Planetary Boundaries framework. Together with scientists from Stockholm Resilience Center/Alba Eco, the institution that published the scientific framework, Houdini looked over nine different aspects of its environmental impact: From climate impact to chemical use and biodiversity. In January 2024 Houdini will release a new assessment, based on the 2023 Planetary Boundaries update and the brand’s own research and progress since the last report in 2018. A sneak peek from the report was released for ISPO this year.

“We are using world-leading science to evaluate all aspects of the impact our business has on our planet’s ecosystems. It is a very tangible way for us to improve and to show our love and respect for nature,” said Eva Karlsson, CEO Houdini Sportswear

A Battery of Solutions: The Ride Clean Initiative 

The Ride Clean initiative is Houdini’s way of empowering skiers and snowboarders to practice their sports while contributing to a snowsport community in harmony with nature’s systems. There is a not-so-clean backside to winter sports, including toxic chemicals in ski apparel and bad product design contributing to waste streams and climate change. Houdini offers a complete layering system from base to shell and insulation garments made with circular fabrics and completely free from PFAS or other toxic chemicals. 

Noteworthy news for Fall/Winter 2024 is the Moonwalk Houdi, a hybrid mid-layer with the perfect balance between warmth, weather protection and breathability, made with Polartec® Power Air™ Light. Part of the Ride Clean initiative is also service offerings like rental, subscription, care, repair and secondhand sales that question the linear take-make-waste business model of today. Houdini also actively promotes a maximum experience, low-impact lifestyle with customer events and communication efforts. 

When we look at design, we look at the whole system of production, use and next-life-solutions. Looking only at how to design a specific product misses a big part of the total impact, but also much of the potential. With the right solutions, one garment can for example serve the needs of multiple customers,” said Jesper Danielsson, Houdini Chief Product Officer

Innovation In Progress: An Exploration of Next Generation Shell Layers 

We are excited to share a first look at a (unnamed at the time of writing) next generation freeride and mountaineering shell series currently in development. The garment series is crafted with the next generation Polartec® Power Shield™, a 3-layer shell fabric developed by Polartec®. It is now made with Biolon™, a renewable, non-GMO plant-based nylon with a 50% lower carbon footprint than virgin Nylon-6,6 and a reduced reliance on fossil resources. Measuring in at 20.000 mm H2O and 20.000 g/m²/24h, the weather protection and breathability places the garments head-to-head with other high performance shell layers on the market. What really makes the difference though, is how it feels to wear it. The light, smooth and incredibly strong garments follow your every move and take shell layer comfort to a new level. The new shell layer series is currently in the prototype field testing phase and planned to launch during fall 2024.

We at Polartec believe that leaving the world a better place than we found it is a responsibility for everyone. The launch of Biolon™ Nylon based fabrics marks an important step in that journey.  For a long time, many thought that more sustainable options meant a loss in performance, like durability, Polartec has proved that this is not the case,” said Ramesh Kesh, Senior VP & Business Manager Polartec | Government & Defence BU at Milliken & Company.

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