Highsnobiety

Picture this: You’re 3000m above sea level, perched on the blistery ridge of a mountain, staring down an untouched couloir. You’ve waited all season for the perfect conditions, toured for hours through hip-deep snow, and now you stand here, your heart beating at such a pace you hear it thumping in your ears. You are moments away from absolute euphoria.

But the exhilaration of carving down an untouched face is always accompanied by an underlying thought: “What if the snow-pack fractures?”

How Mammut Went from Mountain Safety to Frank Ocean-approved Style
How Mammut Went from Mountain Safety to Frank Ocean-approved Style
MAMMUT , MAMMUT

“We make products that cannot fail,” states Nic Brandenberger, chief marketing officer at Mammut. If you or a mountain mate is caught in an avalanche, every split second counts. Millimeters shaved off a shovel’s handle, an optimized transceiver display – these seemingly minor details can be a matter of life or death in extreme situations. “That thinking has carried through everything that we develop for activities that happen above the tree line. ”

Mammut started 162 years ago as an agricultural ropemaker. With its base in the foothills of the Alps, it wasn’t long before people started to use Mammut's sturdy ropes for mountaineering. From there, the brand expanded into all forms of mountain safety equipment and then apparel and accessories.

Anyone remotely interested in the outdoors knows that Mammut’s products are some of the most technical and sophisticated around. Those who don’t know that moment in 2020 when Frank Ocean wore a vibrant orange Mammut Eiger jacket at Paris Fashion Week​​. It was, as GQ remarked, “ahead of its time.”

We are the ones who are looking up at the glaciers losing volume year after year, and that's literally our playground and business melting away.

Nic Brandenberger

“Our philosophy is resourceful performance,“ responds Brandenberger when I ask about the Mammut's design approach. “Resourceful meaning coming from a Swiss way of thinking, it's all about sparsity and getting the best, the maximum result out of a minimum of input and output.” He continues: “We don't want to be the ones that further degrade our playground. We are the ones who are looking up at the glaciers losing volume year after year, and that's literally our playground and business melting away.”

How Mammut Went from Mountain Safety to Frank Ocean-approved Style
How Mammut Went from Mountain Safety to Frank Ocean-approved Style
MAMMUT , MAMMUT

This sense of considered resourcefulness was part of the brand long before “sustainability” landed on boardroom agendas globally. “It was clear to us as a brand that protecting and preserving is just the way to operate. I hear so many people say, "If you don't think sustainably these days, you're not doing it right." And I'm like, "We’re way past the thinking part, we need to act now."

Moments like Ocean’s and, more recently, collaborations with Hiking Patrol and FRGMT are drawing interest from people outside the core outdoor crowd. The collaboration with FRGMT—a Barryvox avalanche transceiver—was displayed at our 520M booth at ISPO, the biggest outdoor tradeshow. Alongside it are some of Mammut’s pinnacle outerwear pieces. The Eiger Free jacket and bib, created with freeskier Jérémie Heitz, in its signature vibrant orange designed to stand out against the snow. Next is the Haldigrat, a high-performance jacket and bib made of post-consumer recycled nylon. Its clean, geometrical lines and off-white shade wouldn't look out of place in a concept store.

One thing that we want to make sure of is to stay in tune with where the outdoor space is going.

Nic Brandenberger

While Mammut has no intention of chasing new audiences just for the sake of sales, what it does have is an open-minded approach to the outdoors. Just as its ropes were adopted from agriculture into mountaineering, its jackets are developing a fanbase beyond the peaks, which Brandenberger is enthusiastic about. “We're a storied brand, and I think one thing that we want to make sure of is to stay in tune with where the outdoor space is going. If you aren't, and you aren't familiar with it, you might be designing past your future consumers.”

Check out more from Mammut here.

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