Promotion // 11/22/2023

What's behind the progressive traditional brand

Image credit: Berghaus
Author:
Martina Wengenmeir

Better gear makes for better adventures, no matter what you're doing or where and how you're out and about. Since the brand was founded, Berghaus has aimed to provide exactly this equipment - with brand DNA between technical alpinism and urban outdoor fashion. Always in tune with the zeitgeist, we give a current insight into the B Corp company Berghaus and what's in store for the future.

Berghaus: British brand with tradition

Berghaus is the Rolling Stone of mountain sports: robust, a bit snotty, often revolutionary. When the Rolling Stones released "Satisfaction" in 1965, mates Peter Lockey and Gordon Davison had the idea of opening a climbing shop back home in Newcastle on Dean Street. The company is very British, indeed, and has been equipping the best climbers on the island and the rest of the planet for almost 60 years.

As confusing as the name Berghaus is, its reputation among mountaineers is legendary: The world's first inner-frame mountain backpack, 1974; The first GORE-TEX jacket on the European market, 1977; the best haute couture for high-altitude mountaineers. Incidentally, the name goes back to the rather free German translation of "LD Mountain Centre", the name of the climbing shop in Dean Street. It should actually mean "mountain hut", but thanks to a translation error, that's what Berghaus is called today. 

"Berghaus as a brand is very rich in tradition, but its DNA has always been very diverse, from technical mountaineering products to the fashion that was worn and sold in Dean Street," says Senior National Account Manager Michael Schupp.

Berghaus today: keeping up with the times with Urban Outdoor DNA

For a while, it was rather quiet around the British brand in continental Europe in terms of sales and retail. But in 2022, Berghaus celebrated its comeback in German-speaking countries. 

They focussed heavily on the technical aspect of the brand, and the new EXTREM collection was launched. A lot has happened since then, including a strong focus on optimizing processes. After Brexit, there was no longer a duty-free warehouse in the EU, so they not only created a base in Gmund am Tegernsee, but also managed to deliver goods to German retailers within 48 hours again. 

The product speaks for itself and has recently been honoured with several ISPO Awards: The Berghaus MTN Guide Hyper Alpha Jacket already in 2022 and the Freeflow 30+ backpack brand new in 2023. For the next season, the company wants to expand more broadly again, as in the core UK market.

"We don't have to bend ourselves to be urban outdoor, because that's what Berghaus has always been." In other words, closely connected to the spirit of the times and in the process, making the transfer between fashion and technical outdoor equipment, or being both. This heritage is also reflected in the name of Berghaus' fashion-orientated "Dean Street" collection. Alluding to the name of the street in Newcastle that was home to the LD Mountain Centre and later the Berghaus brand.

The legendary Berghaus Trango jacket makes its comeback on Dean Street in 2024

New collections and highlights 24/25

Since urban outdoor has always been part of Berghaus' DNA, the collections today naturally combine to form an overall picture of brand highlights from different areas. The brand can still equip for technical mountaineering, as well as deliver styles for the city that allow you to stay outside for longer. The core segment is the trail collection, with innovative and reliable pieces, including the ISPO Award-winning Freeflow 30+ backpack. Dean Street with its fashion focus and nostalgia-inspired designs is also part of the brand's highlight portfolio. And with OFF PEAK, the Brits are presenting a very fashionable capsule collection, focussing on the connection between urban design and function.

Overall, cuts and products have been further developed across all collections to offer interesting pieces for different markets. "We worked closely with the team from the headquarters, both in terms of colour development and also fit and cuts for the DACH market. And according to initial feedback, we've succeeded."

The Jesmond Insulated Smock jacket from the Berghaus OFF PEAK Capsule

Berghaus values: Ensuring nature is there for us all for a long time to come

For Berghaus, the outdoors is the best time you can spend, now as in the past. "As a brand, however, we have also recognized that mountain sports are still quite white and competition-oriented. That's why we're aiming to diversify our target groups," says Schupp, "we want to get as many people outdoors as possible and not exclude anyone." 

The brand has also formulated three basic principles. Firstly, that nature is for everyone. Berghaus wants to contribute to this by breaking down barriers and working to ensure that more people have access to the outdoors. To this end, partnerships have been entered into, for example with Zahrah Mahmood, founder of "The Hillwalking Hijabi", who walks in the mountains with a hijab and is now also a Berghaus ambassador.

Staying outside for longer is the focus for Berghaus

Durable products and repair options

The brand is still drawing on more than 50 years of experience today and is also thinking about the future. That's why the brand's second core value is that Berghaus products are made to last. Instead of fast fashion, the B Corp company favours timeless and hard-wearing products that can be used for a long time and thus also contribute to more conscious consumption. More environmentally friendly fabrics and technologies are increasingly being used in production, such as recycled materials, organic cotton, certified RDS down and PFC-free DWR treatments. In retail, Berghaus offers partnership models with stock rotation in order to return unsold goods to the collection process and rotate them in retail, reduce overconsumption and enable retailers to work with good margins and not have to sell at heavily reduced prices.

Of course, nature can take its toll on even the strongest clothing over time. True to the maxim "Designed to Last. Fixed for Free", Berghaus has been offering a free repair service for over 50 years. If a repair is feasible, it is carried out free of charge - for the German market by the Outdoor Service Team in Oranienburg/Berlin. The customer bears the shipping costs for sending in the goods, while Berghaus takes care of the repair and return shipping.

Use products for longer: Repairs have always been free of charge at Berghaus

Innovative with a goal: stay out longer

Berghaus has innovation as its third brand value. "However, it's not about innovation for the sake of innovation, but always about going out and being able to stay outside for longer thanks to the products," explains Michael Schupp. In other words, staying warm, dry or generally protected from the weather for longer. This is exactly what innovation at Berghaus has always been about, bringing fabrics and product onto the market that have changed the outdoor segment for good. For example, the Cyclops, which was introduced in 1974 as the first backpack with an integrated frame. It retired the then pack standard with an external frame and has since been copied worldwide. Or the development of siliconized down, which retains its full function even in damp conditions thanks to its water-repellent DWR treatment. It is now offered by Berghaus under the name Hydrodown® with RDS-certified down. The Trango Jacket is also a legendary classic in the EXTREM collection, as is the Mera Peak Jacket, which was one of the bestsellers in the nineties. 

These two jackets also come full circle: alluding to old glories and heroic deeds, they can also be found in the Dean Street collection in 24/25.

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Author:
Martina Wengenmeir
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