Ski fashion 2010 starts here. Picking up from the hot fashion on the Bansko pistes, I take a look at what’s out there and where to find it– both in a shop and online.
If you have been skiing in Bansko in the last few years, there is one thing you must have noticed: the ski gear and clothing have come a long way. Today, on the piste and in the town, you can see latest fashion and top brands, just as you see in Sofia’s streets and restaurants.
What is more, many major world class brands have their shops in Sofia and Bansko.
So if you want to be admired on the piste not only for your skiing and snowboarding skills, but for your outfit as well, read on.
The days when there was only one factory making ski clothes in Bulgaria and everyone had the same retro look on the slopes, are over. Now, it’s full of high quality outfits with bright colours and shiny materials. The predominant grey and black have given way to red, orange and pink. I must admit the dandy Russians, Bulgarians and Greeks contributed a lot to change the picture.
2010 ski fashion trends seem to persist with the bright colours, and white, yellow, green and blue are also getting in the scene. And it’s not just one/two colour pieces, but many interesting multi-coloured patterns as well, including even tartan. Of course, you can always go for the more classic looks, which can last you for a couple of years no matter what the trends are.
Details depend on the particular brand, but be sure that most are easy to find in Bulgaria: for example Head in Bansko or JC de Casteljbak, from Rossignol, as worn by Ivanka, a BanskoBlog snow reporter. Then there’s The North Face, Billabong, Rip Curl, Roxy, Salomon and more. More fashion news and deals here: http://www.internetboutique.
I would give special credit to the Bulgarian brand Diel, which offers fashionable ski collections made of special branded materials. I am really happy with my all my Diel gear. It has withstood some very wet weather, and I’ve always remained dry. The jacket is particularly noteworthy. Loads of special pockets covering phone, ipod, lift pass and a zip pocket located conveniently on left hand arm. Perfect for Bansko’s automated card reading system.
For the sexy ski chicks among us who need some technical bells and whistles, then my advice is to join every sloany wannabe who must have E+O right now. Can’t yet be bought in Bulgaria. E+O, as worn by Prince William’s girlfriend Kate Middleton, stands for Engineered+Opulent. Then again, it also says on their website it says E+O means English+Outspoken…and Edgy+Original. Check out eando.com. Expect to spend £500 to Â£1,000.
Also, the last years have seen top high end designer brands, such as the German Bogner, join the Bulgarian ski gear market. Bogner started out as a successful alliance between ski champion Willy Bogner Senior and his wife Maria Bogner laid the foundation stone for the Bogner brand. Due to her precise sense of style Maria Bogner was soon known as the “Inventor of Sports Fashion”. This was the launch of the brand’s success. In the second generation, Willy Bogner Junior and his wife Sonia have developed the name for the discerning shopper. It will be interesting to see if Bogner’s Bansko outlet encourages more high end retailers to come to town.
Ralph Lauren has always lead the ski fashion scene, and this year their Anthracite Flight Suit (€1,300 approx) is a slim fitting grey limited edition suit that’s got the RLX label to validate your ski chic credentials. Or how about from the same range, the shiny Racer Down Jacket in either formula 1 red, blue, yellow or black.
These high fashion ski jackets, at around €500, are all part of their Ralph Lauren Black Label range. It places them right up there with other catwalk brands such as Channel, Versace, Armani etc. All these names will ensure you cut a stylish dash both in Bansko, as well as the smarter French and Swiss ski resorts.
Second division Russian oligarchs, if there are such things, should soon start stepping out of blacked out windowed 4×4′s at the Kempinsky this season. But I look forward to spotting them… their designer gear will add variety to Bansko’s increasingly monied ski fashion scene.
I await to see the clothing makes to be stocked by the ski retailers in the soon to be opened shopping centre, located right by Bansko Royal Towers — just across the river from the gondola. I’m hoping to see more quality gear and less tat, some of which is fake. But I’ll let you know if I do.
Keeping to the high end, its worth also checking out Spyder gear at MTK in Bansko http://www.mtksport.com/. Or how about Besson at Max Sport in Sofia http://maxsport-bg.com/, high end Italian design and function? Besson is brand good enough for the Austrian, British, Canadian and Bulgarian Ski Teams and plus the ULEN ski team instructors have had Besson in past years. In 09/09 they wore dear from the Finnish Halti – stocked by Maxsport.
No snow style is complete without carefully chosen accessories. Take a look at Burberry as a reliable name. Save some cash on top branded apres ski boots, tops, jumpers, belts etc and click on the successful online retailer, www.net-a-porter.com. In Bansko and Sofia, head for theÂ Head Ski Test Centre (subscribe here for up to 20% off) for some fabulous leather Reusch ski gloves and Head socks. I bought their 2010 version and they work really well. You just can’t beat leather.
Try Maxsport shops for Peak Performance http://www.peakperformance.com and Alpina goggles and helmets. Take a short stroll to the Kempinsky Grand Arena Hotel and check out the legendary snow style of Conte de Florence http://www.conteofflorence.com/ . This boutique has Conte of Florence’s really desireable range of knitwear, fleece tops, sweat shirts and hats. The shop is run by Maxsport.
So fashion and exclusivity come at a price — and both Bansko and Sofia cater increasingly well for shoppers ready to invest and refresh their ski outfits. Stay tuned for some really sexy ski chicks in “full fashion” in future Bansko ski fashion updates.
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Top Fashion Arrived in Bulgaria
You can find most of the brands in many shops throughout Sofia and Bansko.
If you have little time for shopping in Sofia, have in mind the Cherni Vrah Boulevard has recently become something like the focal point of ski gear shops. A walk up the boulevard will take you to most of them. SLS (Sport Life Style) are the biggest.
TIP: If you are on your way straight to Bansko, the same boulevard takes you on the ring road not far away from the road to Bansko.
Sofia Ski Shops
- MAX SPORT – 31 Cherni Vrah Bld. and 150 Vitosha Boulevard. They sell top brands such as Besson. Nice Italian quality design! You may recognise the brand as makers of many national ski teams includeing ULEN ski school team gear 06/07
- DIEL – 32 Cherni Vrah Bld. Diel ULTRA jacket recommended.
- NORDICA – 46 Cherni Vrah Bld.
- HEAD Miras – 47 Cherni Vrah Bld and Bulgaria Blvd
- MILENIUM SPORT – 58 Cherni Vrah Bld.
- SLS Rossignol – 59B Cherni Vrah Bld. http://www.sls.bg
Bansko Ski Outlets
Most shops on the two main streets in Bansko (Pirin and Glazne) sell ski gear and clothes. All the above mentioned brands can be found in smaller shops, and some have their own stores.
- HEAD TEST CENTRE – Sport Hotel, next to Kampinsky. Subscribe on BanskoBlog for 10% to 20% discount vouchers and for ski hire/tuition prepay deal.
- MAX SPORT 7 Glazne St. and 68 Tsar Simeon Str. plus Conte Of Florence (“Grand Arena Hotel” Kempinsky, 96 Pirin Str.). Conte de Florence cover sailing and golf as well as ski fashion. Nice.
- BOGNER 12A Glazne St. www.bogner.com (nice promo video here)
- MTK Sport – 5 Naiden Gerov St. http://www.mtksport.com/
- SPORT DEPOT 37 Glazne St.
- SALOMON 37B Glazne St.
- SLS Rossignol 57 Glazne St.
- Adventure Sport 24 Pirin St.
Budget Fashion and Kids
If you are on the budget and wouldn’t like to spend a fortune for fancy new clothes for your ski vacation this year, you can always check METRO for bargains, or some local small outlet shops that sell last years stuff for less. Ideal for your mini-fashionistas! Or try ebay – loads of kids ski gear.. mostly barely used.
If you are a UK reader, then TKMaxx http://www.tkmaxx.com has last year’s stock at very low prices. Great for children’s ski wear too. It’s pot luck sometimes, but TKMaxx and Tchibo are value shops for all the gear — including thermal underwear (“base layer”) and fleeces (“mid Layer”) and cheap goggles. Gloves at these budget retailes are another savvy buy for children. TKMaxx now deliver (for £3.99).
Like METRO in Bulgaria, try the budget supermarket groups Aldi, Lidl and Matalan But when I looked at Aldi and Lidl albeit over a year ago, it was all really crappy gear. Matalan, like TKMaxx is rather better with thermals costing just £5. Not the best — but just £5. And gloves only £3! Your comments on these outlets are welcome.
But be warned, if you bought from TKMaxx you better be confident that you’re the sort of person who does not like to be really flash. Drive an old car, are skinted — or are from the North of England? Head for TKMaxx! But let’s get back to fashion…
…The French retail giant, Decathlon has been known for years by those who have been skiing in France, and now they are over in the UK with a wide range, at competitive prices. If you fancy Helly Hensen, then many years ago I stocked upon thermals at the UK’s Bicester warehouse factory outlet store. It’s still worth a visit if you’re in the area.
Check out the websites listed at the bottom of this article, as some will deliver to Bulgaria. However be sure that the items are coming from the EU, and that the value of imported goods is within guidelines. If importing from the US into Bulgaria, for example, you can risk a nightmare day at the customs near Sofia airport!
http://tchibo.eu is a european online shopping site with a really good value selection. They deliver to most european countries including Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy etc for £5.95. For UK delivery charge is £12.95 At the moment they do not deliver to Bulgaria or Romainia. Turkish readers should use their sister website, www.tchibo.com.tr.
Finally, a special mention for Marks and Spencer http://www.marksandspencer.com/. Ski socks £6. Good kids range. They deliver within the UK. At the moment your order for delivery to Bulgaria and Greece has to be placed in a UK shop. Bizarre! Last Christmas delivery for Bulgaria is only guaranteed if order placed by 3rd December.
Merino Wool For Base Layer
M&S (Marks and Spencer) yet again scores well. I use their thermal long johns, and rate them highly for the price. This year they do a merino wool thermal vest. Long sleeve is £35. Gets my vote on price performance — as merino wool is generally more comfortable and less smelly than the cheaper synthetics.Â If your budget is a little higher, then go for even finer 100% merino wool from HowiesÂ www.howies.co.uk. It’s all ethical gear– and not from some Chinese sweat shop.
For New Zealand merino wool, go online at www.chocolatefishmerino.com. They deliver anywhere. Be aware it’s the superfine merino wool that feels silky smooth. If its not fine, it will feel as scratchy as a carpet.
Ski Gear Web Site Directory For Both the Minted and Skinted
Finally, I came across of an interesting review of this season’s new models on welove2ski.com — a cool site… uuh well I would say that, now they have chosen us for their 09/10 season snow reports (UPDATE: and every year since then)
Coming up soon: A review of the top brands for the snowboard park, off piste, for technical boarders and skiiers on the piste. I’ll also be taking a peek at the latest super light, yet fashionable, ski and board helmets to hit the shops. Be sure to subscribe to receive gear reviews such as these straight to your email inbox.
What do you think about ski fashion? Do you care for the latest fashion, or do you just want to be warm and comfortable on the piste?
Are you considering investing in a new outfit for 09/10 season? What do think of the cheap outlets… how much have you saved? Do you recycle your ski gear by passing on, selling online or privately advertising? Tell me what you think below. All pictures welcome just link to flickr or email me.Â Any retro 70′s and 80′s dayglo all in one outfits out there?
Here’s to a full fashion Bansko this season. Our new fashion correspondent, Ivanka, who prefers to be known as “The Fashionista” will be bringing more ski chic this winter. See her here in the limited edition “JC de Castelbjak” limted edition Rossignol jacket and ski pants. Very nice. .. as worn by Ekaterina Dafovska on BTV’s “Moderno.” (Bulgaria’a TV programme on fashion)
In the meantime, I’m off to wash my Diel jacket to resore it back to it’s original bright orange (07/08) glory.