Outdoor Retailer - February 2021 - 25

Courtesy Alpine Parrot

" 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. " -RAQUELVÉLEZ
The data held a revelation: " Women come in
two main shapes, " says Vélez. " I learned that if I
want a plus-size clothing revolution, I need two
silhouettes. "
She created mountain for smaller waists
with bigger hips and river for more linear hips
and waists. Then she went on tour. From Lake
Tahoe to Salt Lake City, Bozeman, Missoula,
Seattle, Portland, Arcata, and back, she met
with testers of all shapes and sizes, asked them
what they wanted, and learned to camp along
the way.
" When you're a size 14 or bigger, no one asks
you how you feel about your clothes, " says Vélez.
" People were so ecstatic to participate. Testers
said my pants fit better than any they've had in
their life, that it was their first time hiking without chafing, and that they had fun outside. "
Most apparel companies tailor clothing to a
size 4-6 female or size medium male fit model.
Then they grade up and down to create new sizes, which Vélez describes as like using a Xerox
to increase or decrease a picture's percentage
with each copy.
That doesn't work for plus sizes. " Grade rules
and patterns are different, " says Vélez. " If you
just scale up, collars are too big and arms are too
long. Someone with a big belly doesn't necessarily have big shoulders. There is a lack of rigor in
understanding the market. Adding sizes without making that side of the market happy is an
empty gesture. "
" Women's bodies change constantly, during
the month, year, or from the bottom to the top
of the hill, " says Vélez. " Assuming you'll stay the
same size is silly, so I gave these pants a belted
adjustable waistband. "
The high-rise pants have five cellphone-size
pockets and a body-hugging curved waistband.
The two-way stretch nylon fabric is quick-dry,
breathable, nonpilling, and not restrictive.
For now, Alpine Parrot stops at size 24. But
the plan is to go bigger soon. " It has to be iterative, " says Vélez. " The plus-size community has had their hearts broken so many times.
Building trust takes time. "
And Vélez is banking on the authenticity of

Plus sizing has been
ignored for far too
long in the outdoor
industry-but there
are plenty of
customers out there
who would be
thrilled over more
inclusive fits.

her message and her community-involved process to build that
trust.
Alpine Parrot will sell direct as
well as in outdoor shops. " I want
people to trust in stores again, "
says Vélez. " I want a plus-size
woman to be able to walk into
an outdoor store and walk out
with something that fits. The
day my plus-size friends and I
can choose between style, color, and function-not fit-that
means I've won, " she says.
Whether she grows Alpine
Parrot into a multimilliondollar outdoor apparel brand
or not, she's already consulting with other brands on how
to make and sell plus-size gear.
While fashion brands may do a
better job at plus-size apparel
than the outdoor industry, less
than 3% of clothing made by the
top 15,000 brands nationwide is available in
plus sizes. H&M, Mango, JCPenny, and others serve plus-size customers. But in the outdoor space, there's still a stigma. Vélez said she
can buy size-16 Kuhl pants at rei.com, but not
at kuhl.com.

FROM A NUMBERS PERSPECTIVE, THERE'S A
lot of money being left on the table. " People are
hungry for things that fit them and to be acknowledged as humans, " says Vélez. " What are
you worried about? "
It's a nuanced conversation, and most
brands are missing the point. " The O word,
obesity, should not be the focus, " says Vélez.
" We should have a war against diabetes, not
obesity. Health is how much you sleep, exercise, how much you drink, what you eat, your
general mental state. That's what matters, not
your size. And brands need to be more careful
when you talk about these things. There is a
connection between fat phobia and racism. "
On her website (alpineparrot.com), Vélez

calls out the outdoor industry for editing plussize women, and especially plus-size women of color, out of the picture. " It's time for a
company to make outdoor clothing available
in sizes worn by more than half the population, featuring models that span the races and
ethnicities that call the planet home, " wrote
Vélez. " Alpine Parrot will be that company. "
She knows she's not just making clothes.
Sewing plus-size pants that fit is a revolutionary act that's freeing BIPOC and plussize women to identify with the outdoors,
which will have reverberating repercussions
of the best imaginable kind. " It's life-changing
to have clothes that fit, especially when you
didn't know what that meant, " says Vélez.
" We're doing that. And it will change the
world. " O.R.
-Alpine Parrot is starting a community conversation on Feb. 14. Use code
ORWeekly21 for a special treat, valid Feb.
14-21, on alpineparrot.com.

February 2021 / OUTDOOR RETAILER 25


http://www.rei.com http://www.kuhl.com http://www.alpineparrot.com http://www.alpineparrot.com

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
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