VF hopes to drive business forward with its emerging brands Smartwool, Icebreaker and Napapijri. Smartwool is a sock, apparel and accessories brand. Last year, Smartwool revenues grew eight per cent. The company’s new 3D Intraknit collection will be the key driver for Smartwool to scale up its apparel category, especially in markets such as Europe, where distribution is lagging, but also in the US where the brand hopes to expand beyond its core markets.
Ten years ago, Icebreaker was a wholesale-only company, but over the past decade, the brand is now 33 per cent direct-to-consumer (DTC), which has not only helped boost margins but also given Icebreaker better control over the customer experience. Now the brand is looking to grow the DTC channel to 45 per cent over the next four years, and part of that transformation involves the company’s commitment to natural fibers. Icebreaker uses ultra-fine, ethically sourced, sustainable, traceable fiber made with the best factories in the world. Italian-based apparel maker Napapijri has been part of VF since 2004 and has an established customer base in Europe. The upscale apparel brand is generating double-digit growth and has a strong direct-to-consumer channel presence in both owned and partnership stores. The brand’s success is based on a commitment to design and sustainability.