Icebreaker embraces brand-funded, nature-inspired art with Simon Beck collection

  • Marketing
  • October 3, 2014
  • StopPress Team
Icebreaker embraces brand-funded, nature-inspired art with Simon Beck collection

​​UK artist Simon Beck does some remarkable things with his feet. And Icebreaker has hooked up with him to launch its new season collection and, at the same time, raise money to fight climate change. 

‘The Art Of Nature’ Simon Beck collection is the first in what Icebreaker says will be an ongoing global series with artists who respect and work in nature, something Beck has become renowned for. His intricate patterns have been placed on a range of 20 Icebreaker base and first layer garments and the company is promising to donate $20,000 from sales of the range to Protect Our Winters, an environmental non-profit group dedicated to fighting climate change that was founded by professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones in 2007. 

Beck's centerpiece design is an Icebreaker-inspired merino ram’s horn, originally created on snow at Bachalp Lake in the Swiss Alps in January. Icebreaker captured the process of creating the patterned tracks, each step perfectly placed and made using an orienteering compass and distance and pace counting. The collection also features some of Beck's other works, including festive snowflakes, three-dimensional squares, starbursts and spirograph designs.

"In New Zealand we live with the reality of man’s impact on the environment—and the ozone hole that sits directly above us in summer is a direct result of man’s impact on the environment and a sign of what lies ahead for humanity," says Jeremy Moon, founder and creative director of Icebreaker in a release." ... We were inspired to work with Simon because his sand and snow drawings leave no lasting impact on the environment. And a British artist drawing a Merino sheep horn in the Alps of Switzerland was the perfect metaphor to convey my belief that to tackle climate change we must work across borders in a true collaboration to fight for the future of the planet."  

Since Icebreaker launched in 1995, its marketing strategy has largely revolved around PR, print and social/digital, with a big emphasis on the connection to nature, a series of attention-grabbing, almost mythological 'sexy sheep' executions, inviting retail environments, and a tool called Baacode that allows wearers to discover the provenance of their garments (it has generally done its creative in-house and its internal creative services team is based in Auckland). ​As a challenger brand, the early days were all about standing out and the inter-species erotica and beautiful photography certainly helped do that, as evidenced by the fact that the brand is now available in more than 44 countries. But, judging by its website, it now seems to have evolved into a more mature, mainstream adventure apparel brand, a shift it has no doubt made in an effort to appeal to a broader, more conservative customer base in overseas markets (judging by the quivering rocky mountain oysters on this page, there's still a dash of irreverence, however). And the serious message of this campaign, which was conceived before it shacked up with its newly appointed agency DDB, fits into that strategy.

Brand-funded artistry seems to be becoming increasingly common and Special Group recently employed the textual talents of Anna Funder for its Papsaley campaign. Beck is also no stranger to corporate commissions, having also worked with Evian. 

The Simon Beck Collection for Icebreaker is available in 44 countries at select sports and outdoor apparel retailers, at Icebreaker company-owned stores in North America and the Southern Hemisphere, and online at Icebreaker.com/simonbeck.

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