Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 24

Feature .01

VÉLEZ KNOWS FIRSTHAND THE DOUBLE
discrimination to which size 14 and larger
women are subjugated. " There's a correlation
between people of color and people of size, " she
says. " If we really want to do 'The Work' of expanding diversity and inclusion in the outdoor
space, it goes hand in hand with getting rid of
fat phobia. "
Born and raised in New Jersey to Puerto
Rican parents, the culturally in-tune, whip
smart and eloquent mechanical engineer, software engineer, and robotics expert-turnedpants designer said that growing up, outdoor
activity was never on her radar.
" In New Jersey, leaving suburbia to go into
the woods wasn't exciting to me, " says Vélez.
" My parents worked hard to give me a house
with a bed. It's an attitude that's common
among people of color. "

24 OUTDOOR RETAILER

/ February 2021

At 28, Vélez fell head over heels in love with
the outdoors-literally-on Tahoe's ski slopes.
" Flying down the ski slope in the silence of
a snowfall was impactful beyond description, "
says Vélez. " I dreamed of it. I couldn't wait to
do it again. When I crashed in a puff on snow, I
couldn't stop laughing. "
Ecstatic, and bursting with excitement to
ditch her rain pants and hoodie and get properly outfitted for this new sport, she went to her
local gear shop to buy ski clothes. Nothing fit.
Frustrated, Vélez learned to sew the same
season she learned to ski. She enrolled in
Apparel Arts in Oakland, California, where she
developed a concept plus-size snow gear brand
for a class. Her professor praised her, saying:
" You have to do this. You understand this market like no one else. "
She filed away the compliment. She cried ev-

ery Sunday when the weekend outdoors ended
and she and her husband left the mountains for
home. She craved the peace of the mountains.
She wanted to make pants so other BIPOC and
plus-size women could love being outside too.
Vélez incorporated Alpine Parrot in July
2019; she attended Outdoor Retailer in
January 2020; and she quit her tech job in
February. Within six months, she was a finalist
in Title Nine's Pitchfest, even though she had
no product.

" WE DON'T HAVE DATA FOR DIFFERENT PLUS
sizes, " says Vélez. So in a global pandemic, she
collected data herself. She sewed size 16 pants
using herself as a fit model. She found local fit
testers sized 14 to 24, mapped a size run, and,
while masked and distanced, fit and photographed testers.

Nailah Blades Wylie,
the founder of Color
Outside and an Alpine
Parrot fit tester

Previous spread: Courtesy Alpine Parrot; Courtesy Alpine Parrot

R

AQUEL VÉLEZ IS LOUD AND
proud about being plus-size
and BIPOC, and she's gearing
up to produce pants by and
for people like her through
her new company, Alpine
Parrot. Her company's pants, in sizes 14 to 24,
will launch on Kickstarter in April.
In 2016, Plunkett Research estimated that
68% of American women wear a size 14 or
above. The same year, Edited surveyed the 25
largest retailers, which carry 15,500 brands;
2.3% of their women's clothing was plus-size.
Statista predicts that revenue from women's
apparel is projected to reach over $165 billion in 2021. According to Statista, " Plus-size
is the new average, although it is not typically
thought of that way. " The women's plus-size
apparel market was valued at 9.8 billion in the
U.S. in 2019.
There's a clear financial and emotional opportunity, which Vélez is poised to take. Her mission
is to create clothing that celebrates and encourages everyone to enjoy the outdoors by celebrating people of size and color. As a woman of size
and color, she has a deeply personal understanding of the failures of apparel brands to speak to
her and others like her.
" No outdoor brand has said, 'you matter; your
joy matters; you deserve to have fun outside,' or
asked 'how do we get you there?' " says Vélez.
" We want to give plus-size and BIPOC women
clothes that fit, clothes we like, and that we feel
good about. That's the first step to getting more
plus-size women outside. "



Outdoor Retailer - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outdoor Retailer - February 2021

Outdoor Retailer - February 2021
CONTENTS
THE PULSE
HEADLINES
BIG PICTURE
CASE STUDY
IDEAS
THOUGHT LEADER
THE WEEKLY CHAT
OUTDOOR RETAILER WINTER ONLINE
SIZE MATTERS
BREAD + BUTTER
GEAR GALLERY
HOT PICKS
COUNTER CULTURE
THE VIEW
FIELD NOTES
#SHOPLIFE
BACKSTORY
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - Outdoor Retailer - February 2021
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - Cover2
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 3
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - CONTENTS
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 5
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 6
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - THE PULSE
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - HEADLINES
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 9
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 10
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 11
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - BIG PICTURE
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 13
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - CASE STUDY
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 15
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - IDEAS
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - THOUGHT LEADER
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - THE WEEKLY CHAT
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - OUTDOOR RETAILER WINTER ONLINE
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 20
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 21
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - SIZE MATTERS
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 23
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 24
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 25
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - BREAD + BUTTER
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 27
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - GEAR GALLERY
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 29
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 30
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 31
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - HOT PICKS
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 33
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 34
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - COUNTER CULTURE
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - THE VIEW
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 37
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 38
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 39
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - FIELD NOTES
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - #SHOPLIFE
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - BACKSTORY
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - Cover3
Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/may_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/april_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/march_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/february_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/january_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/december_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_07302020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_07212020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2020summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_07072020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_06302020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_06232020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_06162020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_06092020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_06022020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_05272020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_05192020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nxtbook_bhtest/weeeekly_05052020__JJ
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_05122020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_05052020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/postshow2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2020_day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2020_day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2020_day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/preshow2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2020winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/postshow_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/day3_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/day2_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/day1_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/preshow_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2019summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/postshow2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2019_day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2019_day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2019_day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/preshow2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2019winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2018summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2018winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/201707
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2017summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2017winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2016summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2016winter
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com