Wearing puffy and quilted down jackets in most places in the Philippines seems preposterous at first. It’s a tropical country, after all. But upon closer inspection, this particular type of apparel may prove to be worthwhile for those who often visit cooler destinations.
“Travel trends, as always, are related to clothing preferences. In recent years, many Filipinos get to travel and explore outdoor destinations both locally and internationally,” says Ruby Palma, assistant vice president for the Primer Group of Companies, a Southeast Asian brand retailer and distributor. “The boom of budget airlines certainly helped materialize this,” she adds. “We’re even seeing more Filipinos traveling alone than by groups.” These factors help explain the burgeoning market for outdoor wear in the Philippines, as seen in the increasing presence of sports and active lifestyle brands in most malls nationwide, even selling items suited for colder temperatures like thick parkas.
One of the brands that noticed the potential of catering to mobile Filipinos is Eddie Bauer, whose foray into the Philippines is facilitated by Palma and her colleagues. Just recently, Eddie Bauer launched its store at the SM Aura Premier. Located in the same mall is a pop-up gallery that features photos of the brand’s history, as well as an array of the brand’s down jackets.
“Eddie Bauer has been selling outdoor gear for 94 years already since our namesake founder turned his love for the outdoors into a viable business back in 1920 in Seattle, Washington,” says Bill Bredy, Eddie Bauer’s senior vice president of international and licensing, who was recently in Metro Manila for the said store launch. “What we want to do is to enable our customers’ sense of adventure by providing them with the right equipment to wear and use, whether they’re trekking up mountains or going fishing. It’s a global aspiration for us, and part of our expansion into the Philippines is that it’s been our goal to make our brand known further in the Southeast Asian region.”
Globally, Bredy notes that consumers worldwide are on the lookout for functional and durable clothes that they can use, whether they’re actively pursuing a sport or “just having dinner in a casual place somewhere.” It isn’t just about feeling good about what you wear, but looking good, too. Apart from easy to pack quick-drying track pants and tops, Eddie Bauer also has casual wear like polo shirts and button-downs.
While Eddie Bauer isn't exactly a fashion brand, Bredy explains that he and his team are keen on lifestyle trends and product development, in order to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive trade. More than design aesthetics, Bredy says that fabric technologies, rendered through items like thermal-efficient jackets, also prove to be advantageous for making fashionable outdoor wear. “People want comfortable and versatile clothing in general,” says Bredy. “We’re also in the process of developing a series of motion-inspired clothes, which we plan to launch in spring 2015. They will be items that you can wear for activities like yoga or running. You can even wear them when you go to the gym. We also plan to open more stores in the Philippines.”
Local reception for Eddie Bauer has been good since its arrival into the Philippine Fashion November last year, with quick-drying jackets, tops, and bottoms deemed as bestsellers. “So far, a good chunk of the Filipino market is composed of travelers who have seen the brand in other countries, and people 35 years old and above. We plan to extend our reach to young professionals that have an active lifestyle,” Palma relates.
Eddie Bauer is located at SM Aura Premier and at SM Megamall Mega Fashion Hall, available in R.O.X, Bonifacio High Street, Ayala Center Cebu, Camp John Hay in Baguio, and Centrio Mall in Cagayan De Oro, eddiebauer.com