The Outdoor Trade show 2022

The Exhibition Centre, Kings Dock, liverpool

Senior product designer Rebecca Crowder visits the show, and relays her thoughts on the event.

The Outdoor Trade show marked a big milestone for me. It was one of the first large events I visited in person post Covid. As an avid trade show visitor in the past it was something I had missed during the pandemic. The noise of the room, the variety of exhibition stands and brands, and of course, most importantly the results of a years worth of hard work.

Young brands

There was a great mix of brands on show this year. There were the big players; Rab, Ospray, Helly Hansen, Garmin etc, but there was also a mix of smaller, newer brands and start up companies. One of the brands I spoke to was Tim Butcher, founder of Mounts who had been trading for four months pre-show.

For me personally as a product designer, giving new and start-up brands the opportunity to market themselves and to make themselves known to tradespeople as well as the wider public is really important. Too often are the costs of exhibition stands prohibitive for young companies. I can only hope the show proves worthwhile for these young brands.

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Sustainable design

There wasn’t as much info or hype about the sustainability of products as I would have expected from an outdoor adventure sports show. There was a fair bit of ‘plastic tat’ and gimmicky gadgets, more than I would have expected actually. But there were also some really great products.

The brands that were trying to make a point about sustainable design were trying hard. Reclaimed or natural materials, recyclability at the end of life or repair-old rather than buy-new. All important messages and one we should champion, and lots of potential for the outdoor market to improve on its sustainability when it comes to product design.

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In summary

The key points I took away from the show were:

  • There is still room for improving the sustainability of outdoor products
  • There are still some good gaps in the market for new and innovative product designs – the number of new brands on show brought this to light
  • Material technology and the use of naturally derived fabrics is growing.

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