This year at the Snowsports Industries America (SIA) trade show we met up Vice President of iNi Cooperative, Tim Snail, through our Jones rep and friend Ian Feliney. Last summer Tim and Ian brought some of iNi’s offerings over to our shop to check out and we were very impressed with the quality and the attention to detail on the clothing. Tim worked for the powerhouse snowboard/skate company Volcom so he has lots of experience in the design sector of the action sports industry. The name iNi is from the Rastafarian principle stressing a commonality and purpose among all peoples. In this way, iNi is a collective business made up of athletes, artists, musicians and designers that combines all of their best ideas into each product they sell which makes them a stand out in their industry. This is central to their mission of providing the highest quality sportswear that is made from the sustainable materials and manufacturing processes.
So onto their lines. The Puffy jacket, which is actually a belay jacket with moderate insulation and detachable hood is perfect as an all-season insulator or you can use it as a thermal worn under your shell. The Field Worker pants and Refinery jacket are very functional with great waterproof/breathable fabrics. Both pieces have plenty of venting to keep you dry and high-end zips that will not fail when the weather turns nasty. The denim design matches well with the brass pocket studs on Refinery jacket for that casual look. The material looks and feels very sturdy- it has that old school toughness about it with new school technical features. The cuts are not baggy, more on the trim side but with plenty of room to move around in.
This year, iNi’s offerings now include a whole array of street wear, board shorts and a much more extensive and relevant array of snowboarding apparel. The product lines are extremely attractive and had great technical features, some of which are totally unique like built-in hood goggles, bio-mapped insulation through the mid-sections and shoulders to retain core heat, and built-in (but detachable) facemasks on their jackets, how cool is that!? Also, their jackets come with leak and stink-proof garbage pockets so you do not get any down-time looking for a trash can on the mountain for the wrapper from that snack bar you just consumed. Always thinking.
There was one piece that I especially liked- a sweatshirt that allows water to bead up and roll off without soaking through! And of course we had to test it by pouring cups of water all over it and off it ran like puddles of mercury. Picture snowboarding on the warm, slushy spring days when all you need is a sweatshirt to keep the wind off as you glide down the mountain. Then picture falling and sliding on your back through wet slush. Then picture staying dry : ) = the hydrophobic sweatshirt. Sure there are a million different other uses for it but that’s the funnest one I can think of. And it feels softer than real cotton on the inside to boot!
iNi is a environmentally conscious brand (reduce, recycle, reuse is their slogan) that is evolving to accommodate a wider customer base. This year they are expanding their lines to include spring, summer and fall, as well as winter clothing. So whether you skate, surf, snowboard, do all three or none of them and you just want some great apparel for your outdoor activities then you need to check out iNi. They are doing everything right from sustainability to lifestyle design to athletic function. And they are a really cool group of guys.