REI Collaborates with Out of doors Afro Inc. on New Gear Assortment

REI Collaborates with Out of doors Afro Inc. on New Gear Assortment
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REI and the California-based group Out of doors Afro Inc. have collaborated on a brand new line of technical attire designed to deal with gaps within the out of doors market and make gear extra inclusive for all clients, each teams introduced this week. The co-branded Out of doors Afro Inc. + REI line has been within the works for 2 years.

“Nature has been, and can proceed to be, a spot the place Black individuals search connection and respite,” stated Rue Mapp, founder and CEO of Out of doors Afro Inc., a for-profit group that collaborates with corporations on design, advertising and marketing, and gross sales efforts. The group is distinct from the nonprofit Out of doors Afro, additionally based by Mapp, which oversees a nationwide community of volunteers in 60 cities to advertise out of doors training, recreation, and conservation.

“Black individuals have at all times hung out exterior throughout quite a lot of actions, however the neighborhood has at all times felt a spot find gear that matches, features nicely, feels good, and represents their private model,” Mapp stated. “REI was the correct associate to hear deeply and assist us create a set that will begin to meet these wants.”

In an article posted to its web site yesterday, REI wrote that constructing the road meant “contemplating the vary of Black physique shapes that the garments will match and respecting the tradition’s interpretations of nature. It [meant] exploring a broader vary of match modeling, daring, celebratory colours, and supplies that work with textured hairstyles.” The preliminary 22-piece assortment consists of leggings, fleeces, shells, and boots designed with enter from Mapp and others at Out of doors Afro Inc. about coloration, model, and performance.

Woman wearing a blue rain jacket
REI’s collaboration with Out of doors Afro Inc. has been within the works for 2 years. (Photograph: REI)

“This collaboration with Out of doors Afro Inc. was not optionally available for us,” stated Maureen Estep, REI deputy vp of strategic model partnerships. “This was not a query of ‘Ought to we?’ It was ‘How quickly can we?’ It was a dedication to lean right into a partnership by way of an inclusive strategy, and it modified us. We turned on a really inclusive design course of. It outlined how we labored and who we introduced into the work.”

The gathering makes use of technical light-weight and stretch supplies that promote breathability and are simple to take care of. REI wrote on its web site that “the road is a mashup of iconic ’80s and ’90s silhouettes coupled with fashionable particulars impressed by the Black neighborhood: a play on throwback jackets, a riff on parachute pants, and objects printed with a tribute to the historic locations Black people would collect for relaxation and fellowship.”

Woman wearing a colorful fleece jacket
The brand new gear line provides 22 items, together with leggings, fleeces, shells, and boots. (Photograph: REI)

Mapp emphasised that, although the gathering was designed with the Black neighborhood in thoughts, “it additionally solves common wants. We’re creating a greater out of doors product for everybody.”

To help the gathering launch, Out of doors Afro Inc. and REI are debuting a brand new advertising and marketing marketing campaign, We Are Nature.

“What I noticed is that everybody wished entry to the Black market from a range, fairness, and inclusion standpoint,” Mapp stated in summing up the trouble, “however nobody was really creating accessible and classy choices that really accommodated our physique shapes. This trend line is us,” she added. “We’re additionally nature.”

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