Water, water not everywhere with new NZ-designed waterproof hoodie

Soggy wool meets its worst nightmare in a waterproof hoodie.

Picture this: you’re on the slopes, shredding powder at breakneck speed, when suddenly you wipe out. What’s worse, you’ve now got snow melting on your cotton hoodie, which quickly becomes a heavy, soggy mess.

Wouldn’t it be better if there was, well, an alternative?

Now there is – and an Olympian skier swears it’s one of the best things out there.

But is it practical for the everyday ski bunny?

Olympic freestyle skier Anna Willcox helped design ilabb’s new Capsize Tech Hood. Essentially a waterproof hooded sweatshirt, she says it fills a serious need. “As a park rider, you kind of love wearing a hoodie,” she says. “It’s not back country. We’re falling over all the time.”

Slightly longer than a conventional hooded sweatshirt, the capsize tech hood is made of bonded fleece and superhydrophobic coating made from multi-layer polyester and spandex fabric with 3000gsm breathability and up to 5000mm of water resistance.

Science-heavy as it sounds, Willcox says it also just looks cool. “We all express ourselves by what we wear when we ski.”

Willcox, who’s been wearing the hoodies for about 18 months and promoted them heavily on social media, says helping design the garment with a Kiwi company means a lot to her. “From day one working with ilabb has been fantastic. I’m a massive fan of working with New Zealand companies.”

ilabb creative director Matt Saunders says the company was more than happy to work with Willcox. “A big part of our mantra is ‘we’re in this together to inspire collaboration.’”

Anna Willcox (right) collaborating with a ilabb designer on the hoodie

Launched in mid-June, the first run of the hoodies – which retail for about $169 including GST each – sold out. But Saunders says the company is taking pre-orders for a second run. “We were very surprised and very stoked at the same time.”

The process of launching the hoodie is an example of finding out what consumers want, Saunders says.

And though they won’t be making an appearance at the Summer Olympics in Rio, could we see the NZ Ski Team wearing the hooded sweatshirts at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea?

Willcox hopes that could happen.

“That would be rad.”