What other example can we look at the state of today's ski fashion, if not the example of a brand that has specialized in it for almost 90 years? During this time, Bogner, founded by German skier Willy Bogner, who connected his wife and son to the business, managed to become popular among not only professional athletes, but also those who love active walks in the urban environment. For each of them, Bogner provides clothing, footwear and accessories with different technologies and designs. The head of Bogner in Russia and the CIS told about this, as well as about the clients represented by Marilyn Monroe, Roger Moore and Dmitry Medvedev, about the company's focus on the Russian market and about the opening of new stores despite the pandemic crisis.
Lika Rassomakhina © press service
What did you do before joining Bogner?
I've been working in fashion retail for 15 years. The beginning of my career took place in the Delta-Sport Group holding (a world distributor of sports brands -), which is still one of the key partners of Bogner. I was engaged in visual merchandising and was a brand manager, and after working for the Delta-Sport Group I was responsible for introducing several European brands to the Russian market. In 2013, I joined the Russian division of the German brand Tom Tailor as the head of the sales department and then, with the advent of my own retail in the company, I became the commercial director. I took the same position at Bogner two and a half years ago and was soon promoted to CEO.
What are your responsibilities now?
Six years ago, Bogner opened a subsidiary in Russia, which to this day organizes wholesale and retail sales within the country. With my arrival, in addition to the logistics and accounting departments, it also acquired a sales and marketing direction. I was made responsible for all commercial processes.
What does the appearance of a subsidiary give to a Russian buyer?
This offers more benefits for the wholesaler and partner stores. The goods are delivered by Bogner from Germany to the Moscow warehouse. Thus, the wholesale customer receives the entire package of necessary accompanying documents, which is especially valuable now, with the introduction of marking. In addition, the presence of the team in Russia makes it possible to more effectively implement the opening of boutiques, organize employee training and marketing activities, as well as respond quickly to changing market needs.
Do customers unfamiliar with the history of Bogner get the impression that this is a domestic and not a German brand?
I think that the emergence of such associations may be influenced not so much by the appearance of a subsidiary, but by the fact that Bogner has long been widely represented in Russia. For the brand, our market is the second largest in terms of sales after the German-speaking regions of Europe. And this is the case when supply grew out of demand: Russians fell in love with Bogner collections thanks to their bright and memorable design.
1 of 20 Bogner Ski Collection Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Office Bogner Ski Collection Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Service Bogner Ski Collection Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Service Bogner Ski Collection Fall -winter 2020/21 © Press Service Bogner Ski Collection Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Service Bogner Ski Collection Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Service Bogner Ski Collection Fall-Winter 2020/21 © press- © Press Service Bogner Ski Collection Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Service Bogner Ski Collection Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Service Bogner Ski Collection Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Service of the Bogner Ski Collection, Autumn-Winter 2020/21 © Press Service of the Bogner Ski Collection,Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Service Bogner Ski Collection Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Service Bogner Ski Collection Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Service Bogner Ski Collection Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press -service Bogner Ski Collection, Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Service Bogner Ski Collection, Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Service Bogner Ski Collection, Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Service Bogner Ski Collection, Fall- winter 2020/21 © press servicefall-winter 2020/21 © press service Bogner Ski collection, fall-winter 2020/21 © press servicefall-winter 2020/21 © press service Bogner Ski collection, fall-winter 2020/21 © press service
Yes, Russians have not lost their love for everything expressive since the 90s.
Although, you know, a few years ago we radically changed our style. Our jackets have become less decorated and more restrained, elegant, in line with modern world fashion trends. For the first two or three seasons, the Russian consumer did not understand the direction in which we were moving, but now the sales statistics show that regular customers have remained with us, while new, young ones have arrived. I think that this was achieved due to the preservation of the DNA of the brand, which was formed under the influence of Maria Bogner (wife of the founder of the company, Willie Bogner, who was in charge of the collection design -) many years ago. It is a combination of sports elements, technology and high fashion.
How exactly did this combination come about?
As the history of Bogner goes back almost 90 years, sporting elements came from the founder of the company Willie Bogner, winner of the 1935 World Ski Championships. In fact, he started making clothes for himself, which other regulars of the ski slopes later liked. However, at that time, she was, to put it mildly, not very attractive. Therefore, Bogner's wife Maria, who also loved to ride and at the same time wanted to look not only confident, but also effective, took it upon herself to think over the design. For this she was even nicknamed "Coco Chanel of ski fashion". The quintessence of the spouses' cooperation has become the so-called "bogners" - elastic trousers with straps, which have a water-repellent effect. Unlike the usual sports trousers, they did not hide the figure, but for the first time emphasized it, for which they fell in love, for example,Jane Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe and Ingrid Bergman.
1 of 15 Willie Bogner, 1936 © Press Office Willie and Maria Bogner © Press Office Willie and Maria Bogner © Press Office Maria Bogner © Press Office Bogner Catalog © Press Office Bogner Catalog, Fall-Winter 1955-1956 © press service Bogner catalog, autumn-winter 1954-1955 © press service Bogner catalog, fall-winter 1958-1959 © press service Model in Bogner clothes, 1954 © press service Model in Bogner clothes, 1981 © press service service Model in Bogner clothes © press service Models in Bogner clothes © press service Models in Bogner clothes © press service Model in Bogner clothes © press service Model in Bogner clothes © press service
After all, these are not the only representatives of the film industry who wore Bogner ski equipment?
Yes, at some point, the business passed into the hands of the Bogner's son, Willy Bogner Jr., a member of the German national team at the 1960 Olympics and two-time world champion among students in ski slalom and combined ski. More than skiing, he only loved to make movies. His most famous works are the James Bond films from 1969 to 1985. Bogner was the only cameraman who could drive Agent 007 down the ski slope at high speed with a camera in hand. Of course, in some scenes, Roger Moore, then starring in Bond, wore Bogner jackets and trousers.
How is the brand's relationship with the film industry expressed today?
For example, through the shooting of advertising campaigns, which are atmospheric films consisting of several episodes. This is, in particular, the short film "Kamchatka - The Land of Fire and Ice", which in four episodes tells about the journey of the ambassadors of the Bogner Fire + Ice line (specializing in the production of outerwear for active conditions, the title refers to the film by Willie Bogner Jr. Fire and Ice.”-“”) to Kamchatka. We are glad that we were able to shoot this footage in February, just a few weeks before the lockdown.
The recognition of the Bogner company around the world was influenced by the cooperation with the German Olympic team, which the brand equipped until 2014. In 2018, another German brand, adidas, was the author of the kit. How did this affect the brand?
More relevant for us is the cooperation with the German Ski Association DSV. It allows us to fully reveal our competencies as a manufacturer of ski equipment and prove that our models are of high quality from a professional point of view. Every winter season, we release special capsule collections for the German national team, adding a characteristic element to the clothes - the image of flames. We also transfer them to the main ski collection intended for buyers. Such recognizable elements are almost the only thing that distinguishes Bogner ski suits for professional athletes from suits for those who ski on an amateur level. The technologies are the same.
1 of 4 Bogner Equipment for the German Ski Association DSV © Press Office Bogner Equipment for the German Ski Association DSV © Press Office Bogner Equipment for the German Ski Association DSV © Press Office Bogner Equipment for the German Ski Association DSV © Press Office
You have already talked about elastic trousers with a water-repellent effect. What other technological properties does Bogner clothing have? Can you recommend things that athletes of different skill levels should pay attention to?
If we talk about jackets, then beginner athletes whose movements are not very active, and skiers who are especially sensitive to the cold, should choose models with a down filling. Most of these jackets are made of ripstop material and consist of five layers: the ripstop itself (usually two-layer), an insulating puff (it ensures that the down does not migrate), filler (natural down), another layer of insulating material and a warm lining.
Down jackets are not recommended for active skiers, as the large amount of heat generated during fast skiing will not find a way out. This will lead to overheating of the body and negatively affect the product itself: the down will begin to roll and lose its function of protection from cold and moisture. For advanced athletes, jackets made of 2- or 4-way stretch material (that is, stretching in two or four directions) with high-quality synthetic filling are more suitable. They provide comfort even at maximum speed and the necessary sharpness of movement. In this case, it is worth paying attention to the water-repellent and windproof properties of the material. And of course, do not forget about the specifics of the skiing region: for a dry cold climate (Aspen, Kamchatka, high mountain regions), down jackets are suitable, and for a more humid warm climate (Sochi,Kitzbuhel) - jackets with high-quality synthetic filling (primaloft or thermor).
As for trousers, elasticity is a necessary indicator when choosing them. Therefore, most of the products in the Bogner collection are made of 2- or 4-way stretch material. In addition, they are distinguished by a high back, which provides additional protection from the wind (this is especially important when riding on lifts), and some models also have straps that fix the product at a comfortable level, and in a warmer riding season look stylish in combination with longsleeves.
1 of 5 Bogner store in Sochi in the Grand Marina shopping gallery © press service Bogner store in Sochi in the Grand Marina shopping gallery © press service Bogner store in Sochi in the Grand Marina shopping gallery © press- service Bogner store in Sochi in the shopping gallery "Grand Marina" © press service Bogner store in Sochi in the shopping gallery "Grand Marina" © press service
Bogner focuses on general global trends. But are there any trends in ski fashion?
They are more expressed in technology. For example, there is a new impregnation or a new Teflon coating. Speaking of design, this season we have presented the Powder Lounge capsule collection, the name of which refers to the sports term “champagne powder”. This is a very smooth dry snow ideal for freeriding. The collection is designed in natural colors (cream, caramel, milk) with small neon accents, which is typical for urban fashion, but unexpected for ski. Too restrained.
You mentioned long sleeves. How long have natural fabrics, business suits and casual dresses been added to Bogner's collections?
In fact, they have been present in Bogner's range almost from the very beginning. This is dictated by the philosophy and concept of the brand, formulated by Maria Bogner and proclaiming athletic chic - comfortable clothing for both sports and outdoor walks. Urban collections Bogner Man and Woman are very popular in Russia: their sales account for 50% of the total turnover. This is due, in particular, to the fact that we are transferring some technologies from sportswear to everyday clothes - whether it is processing of seams or protection from moisture.
1 of 10 Bogner City Collection Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Office Bogner City Collection Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Office Bogner City Collection Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Office Bogner City Collection Fall -winter 2020/21 © press service City collection Bogner, fall-winter 2020/21 © press service City collection Bogner, fall-winter 2020/21 © press service City collection Bogner, fall-winter 2020/21 © press service © Press Service Bogner Urban Collection Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Service Bogner Urban Collection Fall-Winter 2020/21 © Press Service
As I understand it, the seller discloses these nuances to the buyer. How were the consultations carried out and, as a result, sales during the spring quarantine, when offline stores were closed?
Bogner does not have an online store in Russia yet. Therefore, in the spring, sales were carried out through the online platforms of our partners. The buyer could see the parameters of a particular article and contact an online consultant for additional information. During this time, we slightly changed the Instagram accounts of our mono-brand stores in the regions of Russia in accordance with the general guidelines of the company. Now by typing the brand name in the search box and selecting a specific city from the drop-down list, you can see photos of the models that are presented in the store and find out the available sizes, colors and prices.
In addition, during the entire quarantine, our partners carried out a concierge service: they came with the models previously selected by the buyer on the website to his home, providing the opportunity to try on and purchase what would fit and like. A year ago, we launched training for employees of partner boutiques using the app, which was especially important during the restrictions associated with the pandemic. It also helped that we brought the Bogner summer collection before the border closure at the end of March, so we were able to offer the client a full range.
The borders with most ski resorts are closed to this day. How do you see the coming winter season for the company in this context?
It is impossible to predict the duration and format of the ski resorts' work - the situation with the coronavirus changes every day. But we do not harbor hopes that people will be able to travel to other countries. Most likely, alpine skiing enthusiasts will be concentrated inland. Therefore, in October we opened a single-brand partner store in Sochi in the Grand Marina shopping gallery. This is the first Bogner space in a new design concept and equipment, the production of which we have been able to transfer to Russia. Due to this, the process of opening retail outlets is no longer so time-consuming and costly. In addition, we are opening a pop-up store in the Gazprom mountain tourist center, that is, we are strengthening our presence in Russian ski resorts. We develop with their development.
In November, Bogner opened an outlet at The Outlet Moscow. Was this also a consequence of the pandemic?
Rather, the pandemic has enabled us to realize our long-standing plans. Bogner already has 16 outlets around the world, 3 of which are located in Russia. We decided to concentrate on their development in a more luxurious environment, which The Outlet Moscow can boast, which opened in New Riga in the summer (The Outlet Moscow residents include such brands as Gucci, Valentino, Max Mara, Ralph Lauren, Loro Piana and Brunello Cucinelli. -). We realized that we simply cannot miss the opportunity to open our space there. For this, the outlet had to be reformatted into Outlet Village Belaya Dacha. Now he works in pop-up format.
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What does Bogner give to having an outlet?
The ability to control the place of sale and the value of the stock.
In the wake of increased attention to environmental protection, many brands are not engaged in the sale or, on the contrary, the destruction of residues, but their redistribution for charitable purposes or processing into new products. How are you doing with this?
We are working hard in an eco-friendly direction. Next winter we will present a capsule collection that will be made from recycled materials - econil and various fillers. It will include not only outerwear, but also accessories. They will be very beautiful in design - everything that we have seen so far made us very happy. The pre-order of the autumn-winter 2021/22 collection, in which the eco-friendly capsule will be presented, will take place in Moscow in February.
Returning to the question of adapting the company to various uncontrollable conditions, how does global warming affect Bogner's sales?
We notice that the ski season is not only moving down in time, but also getting shorter. For example, last year in some regions it was possible to ski only from January, which, of course, greatly influenced the sales of ski collections. This is our main business, but the size of the range of urban collections allows us to feel calm and confident. The city line is published four times a year: these are two seasonal collections and two additional ones. Therefore, we can meet the needs of the client at any time of the year. In this regard, we are in a better position than sports brands that only produce ski equipment.
How do you see the Bogner audience in Russia today?
I cannot say that we are concentrating on a specific image of the audience. Rather, we are bringing the concept of athletic chic to the masses and looking for those who will be close to it. This could be the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, whose photos in Bogner ski equipment appear when searching for information about the company, and society ladies Victoria Shelyagova and Snezhana Georgieva, with whom we collaborated in the framework of the Instagram project. In other words, Bogner is not about a specific gender, age and wealth. It's about the love of sports and the desire to look confident and bold at the same time.