Interview: Meghan Martens – the Outerwear Wizzard
Posted by Helge Zirkl
| September 13th, 2011
What’s important to design Snowboard Outerwear? How does different fabrics work together and what are the colors for winter 2011/12? Why is it important to stay dry, while you´re out in snowy regions? No clue? O.k. perfect. We had the chance to ask the “Outerwear Wizzard” Meghan Martens some questions. Before Meghan starts following her passion designing Outerwear for Nitro Snowboards and L1 Outerwear, she already worked with companies like Foursquare Outerwear, Oakley and The North Face as product manager.
Meghan, what is your current job/postition at Nitro Snowboards?
My position is the category manager for outerwear. I basically organize the line, ensure the garments functionality, technical design, price negotiations, factory visits, fabric and trim sourcing and give presentations.
How did you get into the snowboarding industry?
I just snowboarded a lot and worked with some sponsors on developing womens products. One thing led to another and I started designing full-time.
Describe your daily business.
I communicate daily with our factories in Asia – always checking prices, requesting fabrics, lab dips for colors, etc. When we design a jacket we send them a black and white sketch with fabric and trim information. Then in a few weeks we receive a sample jacket and need to make sure it fits right, looks good, and is constructed exactly how we wanted it. There is definitely a busy season and a mellow season in this job.
For what does Nitro Outerwear stand for?
Good looking functional outerwear for snowboarding…
Where do you get your inspirations from?
I really like looking at streetwear, furniture design, shoes and vintage fabrics for design inspiration.
Are you traveling a lot?
Yes – we travel a lot! But we make it fun :) We go to Germany about 3-5 times a year to visit the main office and the German Distribution, and we travel to Europe for sales meetings and tradeshows. Last December we had our sales meeting in Monte Pana, Italy. It was awesome! We basically had the entire hotel for the Nitro crew, and got to ride everyday. Ming, Alison and I like to take side trips or little inspiration trips while overseas – a couple years ago after our sales meeting we hitch hiked up to Berlin and spent a few days exploring that amazing city. Then we hopped on a train and visited Prague. Since Europe is our biggest market, its important for us to see what trending there. I recently went to Saas Fee, Switzerland and rode for a week. Not only was it fun, but so good to see what people are wearing on the hill in different markets, and how they are wearing it, and what brands are popular. I also go to Asia once or twice a year to visit the factory and fabric suppliers. Its great to travel for work – visiting countries I never thought I would, learning about different cultures and trying different foods – I love it! I love travelling.
Is being a good snowboarder a requirement for your job, or does it help?
It definitely helps if you snowboard. You have more insight to what riders want and why they want it, why fits are important, what features are functional, etc. Its also fun to test out the gear you work on!
How important are technical fabrics?
Super important! When you wear snowboard gear that isn’t waterproof, it can totally ruin your day! If you’re feeling cold, damp and miserable, your shred day can turn into a wet mess! I live in the Northwest and there’s some days were its literally raining on the mountain – if you don’t have a waterproof jacket, you will be soaked instantly. Besides fabrics being waterproof, its also important for fabric to be breathable. I do a lot of backcountry hiking and material that is breathable and wicks away moisture helps me stay dry and warm. When you’re hiking, you usually heat up pretty fast, but if your gear is not breathable, then when you sweat you not only get wet but you will get really cold once you start cooling down. Layering is also key. Different climates demand different layering stories – some places have dry air and some have moist air. I prefer layering with Primaloft insulation. We use Primaloft Eco insulation in Nitro products and its awesome – super lightweight and quick drying. Compared to goose down which is lightweight but if it gets wet – then it can get moldy.
Do your wear your own designed clothing?
Yes and lots of times it feels weird to see it in real life in the end, not as a computer file, ha.
We see a lot of color blocking, is that where the future goes?
Depends – good styling is good styling – no matter if its color blocked, printed or solid. Color blocking is popular right now but I think the trend is more towards solids and or earth tones color blocked.
What is the main difference between male and female clothing?
Fit, Sizes and colors.
What are your favorite pieces for the 2011/2012 line?
Womens Stardust jacket and Mens Faultline jacket, Men’s Wasteland, Vex and Citizen jacket, Women’s Sookie in Red, Modern Love in Green, Ashes to Ashes in Green, and the Fame Softshells.
Thank you Meghan! ❚
Tagged with Interview, Meghan Martens, Nitro Snowboards, Outerwear Wizzard