Cloudveil Founder, Soft Shell Pioneer Starts Stio

Stephen Sullivan, co-founder of Cloudveil and soft shell pioneer, returns to the outdoor apparel scene this fall with Stio, a new technical and lifestyle mountain apparel brand. The company will offer premium apparel "designed to inspire connection with the outdoors" and to bridge the technical and lifestyle categories. That means clothes that can perform on the mountain and then go out to dinner back in town.

The Stio Fall 2012 line will be small to start, with about 60 products, including baselayers, fleece, down, soft shells, and outerwear for men, women, and children. Textile suppliers in the collection include Polartec, Schoeller, Pertex, and Toray.

“Stio is, simply put, technical meets lifestyle, products you can live in; both in the most ‘epic’ as well as quieter moments of your life,” said Sullivan. “Stio is the next chapter in my lifelong obsession with the outdoors and my desire to design products that speak to the enthusiast. The new line will bring a fresh perspective to outdoor apparel, a ‘mountain maturity’ if you will, with style, performance, and product integrity as cornerstones of the range.” 

Sullivan and partner Brian Cousins founded Cloudveil in Jackson Hole, Wyo., in 1997. You can thank them and their early and extensive use of Schoeller stretch woven fabrics from Switzerland for helping introduce soft shells to North American skiing, climbing, and general outdoors use. Fifteen years later Cloudveil still offers its Serendipity Jacket, one of its original products debuted at the 1997 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show.

Sullivan left Cloudveil in 2010, after several changes of ownership — Sports Brands International, Fila, Spyder, and private equity firm Windsong Brands — and having tried to buy the brand back himself. 

With an 18-month non-compete agreement behind him, he's assembled a team of tenured industry professionals with Maura Marshall, Kelly Hill, and Noah Waterhouse leading Stio's respective Operations, Product, and Marketing divisions. 

You won't find the high-end Stio in your local outdoor retailer. The company will sell direct to consumers only, through a web store, consumer catalogs, and a flagship retail store in Jackson Hole. That also means the brand won't be at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market next month for a sneak peak of its line.

You can follow Stio's launch and sign up to receive a catalog at www.stio.com, though you'll have to wait to learn what the Stio name means. Sullivan's not saying, though the company may run a contest for fans to figure it out.

Filed under: Gear News

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Cloudveil  |  Stio

Comments

gkrdesigns
BRAND REP
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8 forum posts
July 17, 2012 at 6:55 p.m. (EDT)

Dear Stephen,


Thank you for the softshell.  I still remember the first serendipity so long ago... It was love at first run.  I look forward to seeing what Stio is bringing to the table!

skibum12
9 reviewer rep
119 forum posts
July 18, 2012 at 9:44 a.m. (EDT)

I like it already.  Still own my Cloudveil jacket and its great.  Looking forward to seeing what comes out this fall.  Nice article as well.

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,050 forum posts
July 18, 2012 at 10:24 a.m. (EDT)

Thanks. I'm very interested to see what the new product line looks like as well.

Peter1955
1,357 reviewer rep
1,339 forum posts
July 19, 2012 at 11:37 a.m. (EDT)

Went to the website and put in an order for the catalogue. Always nice to see new manufacturers, with new ideas and new products.

To make a real impact, you need a line that's different from everybody else - as Gypsy Rose Lee said 'Ya gotta have a gimmick'. I wonder what Stio will be offering to make themselves stand out from the crowd.

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,050 forum posts
July 19, 2012 at 4:18 p.m. (EDT)

peter1955 said:

Went to the website and put in an order for the catalogue. Always nice to see new manufacturers, with new ideas and new products.

To make a real impact, you need a line that's different from everybody else - as Gypsy Rose Lee said 'Ya gotta have a gimmick'. I wonder what Stio will be offering to make themselves stand out from the crowd.

Good question, Peter. From reading a few other articles about Stio's launch, it sounds like Sullivan is aiming to stay away from the super hardcore, aspirational outdoor apparel model, and leaning toward apparel that performs well in the mountains, but also has some style and functions fashionably off the mountain.

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
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3,050 forum posts
September 13, 2012 at 8:13 p.m. (EDT)

Stio has launched for fall/winter 2012.

You can see the initial offerings here: http://www.stio.com/

Looks more stylish than some apparel out there, but it doesn't come cheap. $175 stretch, fleece hoody, anyone? I'll be curious to hear first-hand accounts of users.

Peter1955
1,357 reviewer rep
1,339 forum posts
September 13, 2012 at 8:44 p.m. (EDT)

Just had a look at the new Stio catalogue. Great graphics, cool logo, good marketing.

Lots of cotton, including jeans ($125) and flannel shirts ($95). Comfy on a nice warm day, but not so good when the weather gets nasty. Curious comments, like offering a hardface shell ($225) as "four times more windproof than a fleece!" (what isn't?). How about "a perfect blend of urban cool and mountain hip"? A cotton flannel jacket ($165) won't keep you warm if it gets wet, but by adding a Pertex liner Stio seems to want to make the jacket less breathable, too. Top of the line jacket ($550) uses schoeller® c-change™ as its waterproof/breathable fabric, which comes with rather 'mixed' reviews.

Very few products offered so far, and little I would think of buying for actual use when hiking, skiing or climbing. And prices on a par with gear like Patagonia or Arc'teryx without the emphasis on functionality.

Cloudveil has a great rep, but Stio seems to have aimed more for the urban wannabe market. Watch for their gear in places like Aspen or Banff. You're unlikely to see it on a mountainside.

Sorry, but so far I'm not impressed.

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