La Sportiva, well known for their technical footwear, has partnered with Samsung to expand into the technical apparel business. Similar to many outdoor companies, Korea is La Sportiva's strongest Asian market and the partnership with Samsung Cheil (the textile group of Samsung) will help further La Sportiva as a premier outdoor brand in that market.
The expansion into technical apparel will also help La Sportiva build global consumer brand awareness (outside of hardcore climbers) and accessibility. La Sportiva is hoping this brand extension will give them access to the lucrative winter market, something they are virtually non existent in at the moment. No word yet on whether this means base layers or a full outerwear line but Samsung Cheil is a big wool supplier.
The partnership combines La Sportiva's expertise in the outdoor industry with Samsung Cheil's resources and expertise in apparel research, development and manufacturing. As part of the agreement, Samsung Cheil will become the sole importer and distributor of La Sportiva in Korea and plan to roll out La Sportiva branded retail stores starting 2011.
La Sportiva North America will play a big role in driving the direction of the global line. "The product will align with the La Sportiva brand in terms of function and use, excelling in technical mountain terrain, style and durability," says Jonathan Lantz, President of La Sportiva N.A.
The two companies are currently engaged in R&D and extensive testing of the technical apparel line with the goal of debuting the line to retailers in the Fall of 2011 or Spring 2012.