The sporting goods industry is in an important moment of transformation. Overcoming its poor environmental reputation, it’s taking a fast and dynamic approach to sustainability. In the past five years especially, the “unbelievable” has occurred: the industry is increasingly perceived as a space in which brands can compete to have the most sustainable products. There are certainly lots of products to work with, so in addition to exploring new materials and innovative production techniques, brands are taking an increasingly portfolio-centric approach to product planning and development.
This is where I think a brand and design agency like KISKA can make a real impact: delivering strategic, brand-driven design logic.
To make such strategic efforts visible and tangible, we’ve got to be at the centre of everything. That’s fine by me. At KISKA, we’re happiest when we’ve positioned ourselves right in the thick of our clients’ challenges, synergising the skills of experts in brand-building, apparel and footwear design, soft goods design, CMF design, and more to create winning solutions.
To do it, we set up projects according to skill and interest to create the highest possible motivation and expertise; effectively leveraging the inspiration that comes naturally from teamwork. Integrating skills and combining methodologies like this also keeps us flexible and resilient to the rapid change our clients are facing. Internally, we like to call this approach “Skills United!” because bringing together people from different places, backgrounds, and professions creates perfectly balanced and high-performance project teams. Imagine a footwear designer sitting next to an apparel design specialist, who are now working on a prototype. Or a professional-athlete-turned-product-manager teaming up with researchers to analyse market potential and develop new brands.
Boosting KISKA’s sporting goods design game further, we also pull inspiration from our own lives, because many of us do the very sports we design products for. Before a project even kicks off, we’re already gathering our own opinions. Even those who aren’t sporty bring a range of other passions to the table. Mountain biking, E-sports, skiing, and motorcycle racing are just some of the personal interests that influence sporting goods design at KISKA.
It’s not uncomplicated, but the principle is straightforward: collaboration unlocks the best performance.