Fusalp is the French sports apparel company that pioneered the so-called “fuseau,” a highly technical style of stretch ski pants attached to the foot in the early 1950s. They were worn by many famous champions like Jean-Claude Killy in the 1960s, leading Fusalp to become the biggest supplier of skiwear in Europe in the 1970s.
The French Alpine company is much smaller now, generating a relatively stable annual turnover of around €10 million, but it is expanding again rapidly outside the French market and repositioning itself to seize new opportunities in a changing market environment on the eve of a new change in ownership that should be finalized well before next month's Ispo Munich show.
At the time of going to press, we were unable to confirm a rumor that members of the Lacoste family who recently sold their eponymous brand to Maus Frères will be the new owners of Fusalp. We also hear that two other French brands of skiwear are about to be acquired by other interests.
The still unnamed new investors who are about to get involved in the company will rely on an interesting business plan that calls for a significant increase in Fusalp's turnover over the next few years. The new strategy has been developed with the help of a seasoned industry consultant, Pascal Aymar, who has worked in leading roles for Salomon, Scott and the Adidas Group.
As part of this plan, Fusalp is segmenting its range into three categories, each with its own distinctive signature. The company is also changing its commercial name and its logo to Créations Fusalp to place emphasis on fashion and French style, in line with current market trends that have led to the success of Moncler (see separate article on this company), another former major brand of ski outerwear which was born in France, although with a wider range of products.
In this vein, Fusalp will launch a new, relatively fashion-oriented “fusion” line of casual outdoor ready-to-wear apparel for men and women, carrying a retail price of between €300 and €600, for the autumn/winter 2013/14 season. The line, which can be compared with the fashion sportswear ranges of Kjus or Napapijri, has been developed in collaboration with a designer who has worked for Postcard. A summer version will follow.
The casual outdoor line will accompany Fusalp's regular line of technical skiwear, priced at between €200 and €500 a piece, and the more expensive vintage line of fashionable clothing, Fusalp 1952, that it launched a year ago with a good measure of success. The latter is in a price range of €500 to €1,600 at retail (more in SGI Europe).