Q&A with lead product developer Geof Ochs:
Q: SYNC is now 5 years old. Is the product vision still intact?
In 2014, when we approached the athletes and asked them what was failing, the answer was clear, their OUTERWEAR. This was the common thread among the countless conversations we had with athletes, ranging from NCAA to World Cup to local junior athletes. The evidence was clear, SYNC needed to build better outerwear so athletes could perform at their best without worrying about their gear.
We feel our deliberate approach to the product development process has made strides towards solving the challenge brought to us by the unique demands of mountain athletes and ski racers. The coup? How do we blend function, and durability without sacrificing performance? Our goal was to create a line of outerwear that is representative of those exact conversations and experiences from our athletes and employees (ex-ski racers).
Q: Fast forward five years...what's new?
Winter sports athletes find all sorts of ways to train off the snow. Hard gym sessions, morning runs, cross-training in other sports, and pushing summits on bikes all contribute to a well-rounded athlete ready to dominate on snow. We have always recognized ski racing as a 365 day a year sport, and that requires putting in the work beyond the b-net.
Although we wish skiing 24/7 was a thing, in order to compete at the highest level, you must demonstrate discipline on and off the ski hill. Building each and every day only to break down and recover, so you come back stronger the next day.
In an effort to support this 365 day a year athlete, it was only natural to develop stories beyond the one minute and thirty seconds between the start and finish, or every four years on national tv during the winter Olympics.
Q: Talk to me about SYNC's design philosophy and how it's visible in this new collection...
Production takes time, especially when you need to find the fabric that properly translates the athlete's insight. Five years in the making, we finally found the supply chain partners who understood the frustrations and sentiments of our athletes. As a great chef wanders the farmer's market to find the freshest, best-looking ingredients and couples that with his expert knowledge of cooking to make the most exquisite meal you've ever tasted. The SYNC product philosophy is no different.
The Deluge Collection features drirelease Geo Cool™ fabric that utilizes mineral-infused cooling technology that will absorb and dissipate heat to keep you cool, dry, and comfortable. Featuring a men's and women's short sleeve tech tee shirt, men's long sleeve tee shirt, and men's quarter-zip long sleeve.
The Benchmark Collection features Primaloft Performance Fabric Energy Series, not too heavy, not too light but just the right weight to keep you warm, and made from a premium breathable Primaloft blend with a reliable stretch allowing you to move freely through all levels of activity. Our favorites are the men's and women's hoodies and men's and women's joggers.
Q: As an ex-alpine ski racer, how important is DryLand training to your success as an athlete?
A: The best years I had ski racing were the years when I spent the entire summer in the gym, putting in the time during the off-season directly led to results on the hill. I am a firm believer the effort you put forth in the off-season not only directly impacts your on-hill performance but significantly increases your confidence in the starting gate. If you feel like there's not much more you could have done to prepare, you're going to be in a really good spot come race day.
Q: Why the new DryLand collection now?
A: Typically, big brands would launch a collection in the Spring, and call it their "Spring/Summer" line. Since we aren't your typical retail brand driven by the wholesale model, we felt launching the DryLand collection coinciding with the beginning of ski season was more impactful for our athletes. Our consumer base knows SYNC as a seasonal brand, but now, hopefully, as they browse the site and realize the new DryLand collection is as good anything Lulu, they will see us a year-round performance brand.
Q: How long has this been in the making?
A: When we set out to build SYNC Performance, the brand, the idea was to support a 365-day mountain athlete and that hasn't changed. From our perspective, we try to engage with the athlete to make everything in our control to help them perform at their best is happening. Production takes time, outerwear is generally 18-24 months from idea to available on the website. While we can never say we've perfected anything, we feel the winter apparel and technical ski race product is in a really strong position, so it was time to realize our mission to support the athletes for the rest of the year. Long story short, it's been years in the making, basically since we launched the brand five years ago!
Q: What's cool and different about this collection? What should we geek out on?
A: I think for starters we took a hard look at the ingredients. Using new and innovative technology is an important aspect of the SYNC product philosophy. Partnering with fabric mills drirelease and Primaloft made the world of difference in the quality of the finished products. Working with brands who understand high demanding athletes creates a synergistic approach to product creation. The hand-feel is second to none, I would go toe-to-toe with all the Lulu's of the world when it comes to comfort, feel, and wearability. Mixed with performance qualities such as four-way stretch and cooling technology, it's best you try them for yourself. You won't be disappointed.
GEEK OUT ON PRODUCT DETAILS:
drirelease® GEO COOL is a custom solution for cooling which uses proprietary hydrophilic active particles derived from metal oxides that have thermal conductivity 3000% greater than that of polyester polymer. The active particles are added during dyeing of filament polyester fabrics or yarns and are locked into the fiber structure to provide permanent performance for the life of the fabric and garment. Moisture management (wicking) is inherent to drirelease GEO Cool as the active hydrophilic particles effectively transport moisture through the fabric and provide the energy to drive the moisture out by absorbing the heat from the body. drirelease GEO Cool is a unique and adaptable technology that provides thermoregulation by effectively managing heat and moisture transfer in the fabric, thus providing superior comfort to the wearer. All drirelease fabrics undergo certification testing to ensure performance standards are met. The cooling benefit of drirelease, GEO fabrics are verified using the Kawabata Evaluation System instrumentation resulting in at least 5% improvement in instant cooling (QMax) versus the control.
"drirelease®is a global technology company pioneer in performance and comfort textiles solutions, trusted by the best brands in the world and literally part of the functional fabrics in today´s marketplace. The diversity of drirelease blends gives you many solutions for wicking, fast-drying, cooling and protection benefits — whatever the application — from leisure to high-performance, from fashion to sportswear, also for intimates or sleepwear."