The fashions, trends, people and destinations set to be hot this year and beyond
Photo courtesy of Speedo
Volleyball has always had a big following across the Atlantic, but this summer it's going to be on the up - especially on European beaches. Fast-moving, exciting and very social, beach volleyball is the one to watch if your summer resolution is to take up a new sport.
Skis and snowboards get a high fashion makeover next season, with faux skins and fabrics printed on the top sheet. Scott has given its all mountain Aztec ski some rugged jeans style with a denim topsheet and its Eclipse Limited snowboard a fashionista zebra skin makeover. Then there are the super-sexy python topsheets from Indigo that even have bindings, helmets and bags to match. Serious glamour.
Nikita was the first to make it big, but now a whole gaggle of girls-owned/girls-designed street and sports brands are making it onto the market. Even Burton is launching a women-specific brand with its own name next winter - B by Burton. Swiss company Seed, a snowboard fashion brand, has one of the hottest collections we've sneak previewed (pictured). US brands like Betty Rides and Albin are also about to hit European shores and their 06/07 winter collection is looking hot.
T-shirts that hug you, jackets that light up and iPod compatible everything. Clothes are getting seriously clever later this year.
Top of our list is the T-shirt created by Italian company CuteCircuit (www.cutecircuit.com) that simulates a cuddle and can be activated by your partner, even if he's on the other side of the world. The tee uses Bluetooth technology and has sensors in it that make it inflate, creating the sensation of a hug.
Next winter Marmot is one company seriously raising its clothing IQ, showcasing light jackets made with flourescent particles that light up and glow and the iPod compatible iGlove (£50/75 euro). The fingertips of the index finger and thumb have an electrical conductor in the liner which means you can use an the dial on an iPod without taking your gloves off and getting cold. Simple but ingenius.
Travel comes at a cost to the environment, but this summer consumers are growing a conscience...and so are travel operators. If you're keen to go easy on the environment and give back to local communities check out the new e-zine, www.ecoescapes.co.uk, a highly readable travel mag with a conscience. Designed for people of all ages and budgets it recommends low impact havens for adventurous types, reviews, features and debates. Also worth a look is www.responsibletravel.com, which specialises in eco escapes.
Intricate tooled leather is going to be the big trend on footwear later this year. Converse Jack Purcell Xxhi (pictured), an intricate tooled leather baseball boot with Converse's trademark rubber sole end is our favourite. The Fila Zen X fur-lined ankle boot, tooled at the back with a baby pink sole and lace that wraps around the ankle is a winner too for next winter.
Snowboard apparel brand Holden is tipped as the sports brand to watch next winter. 'They have the image and heritage plus they are developing new looks and directions, like technical Hemp apparel,' says Sellwood. 'At the moment and for the foreseeable future, ecology and sustainable fabrications and processes are a hugely important movement. This will continue for as long as it takes to change the entire industry.’
With a cool contemporary feel, Holden is only available in the US right now, but it can't be long before it makes an appearance on European slopes. See www.holdenouterwear.com.
The cinched-in waist continues from summer to winter with the comeback of fabulously flattering bomber jackets come October. We trawled the rails at boardsports trade show ISPO for the best and it has to be Wild Roses gorgeous Snow Hielo bomber jacket. Baby blue dog tooth check with fleece lining and delicious, super-slimming cut. You can't go wrong there. The North Face also has some seriously sexy, fur-trimmed bombers in its winter line-up.
Will this trend ever end? There's still loads of it around in next winter's collections... Nixon's watches, Burton's bags and bindings, adidas eyewear's gold or chrome goggles.
Riga, the largest Baltic capital is set to be the hippest holiday destination of next year. The fashion industry is booming in the Latvian city and there is a thriving action sports scene and an emerging creativity. Pack your skateboard as Riga boasts a 6,000 square metre skate park and keep your eyes peeled for some great graffitti, which is becoming hugely popular there. Lisbon in Portugal is also tipped as a holiday hotspot with plenty of cool boutiques and vintage stores like El Dorado, Sugar Ray and Sneakers Delight.
We've seen it done with old sails from sailing boats and now it's the mountain bike's turn to get a new life. These bags and belts from Tubeline, made from recycled bike tyres won an innovation award at ISPO and we can see why. Get your hands on one from www.tubeline.com.