Shaping the Future: An Interview with Salomon’s Creative Director Anjhe Marcus
Driven by a passion for innovation, Salomon is a brand that has never stood still. Founded in the heart of the French Alps in 1947, Salomon’s commitment to innovative design and passion for mountain sports has led to a range of revolutionary new concepts in bindings, boots, skis and apparel for skiing over the past 75 years.
Their core mission? Pioneering a sustainable future. Today, Salomon is on a journey to minimise the environmental impact of their products through responsible innovation and performance. In 2020, they developed a comprehensive three-tier sustainable product framework, aiming to achieve a circular economy and innovations for a more sustainable future by 2030. Discover more about Salomon’s commitment to sustainability.
Back to the present, Salomon’s new ski collection is here at Ellis Brigham with all the performance, quality, and style they’re renowned for.
In this interview Global Creative Director of Salomon Apparel, Anjhe Marcus, shares her career history, thoughts on designing and specialising in activewear for women, working in the outdoor industry and Salomon’s plans for the future.
Please introduce who you are, your current role at Salomon, and a bit about your background.
My name is Anjhe Marcus, I am the Global Creative Director for Salomon Apparel. I am from the Bay of Islands, New Zealand and have been working in Fashion Design for 20 years in New York, London and now Annecy France.
I have worked for many brands from Alexander McQueen though to Arc’teryx in Vancouver. I have a passion for blending technical sports solutions with a considered design aesthetic.
How does a typical day look at Salomon HQ for you?
We are very lucky to be situated near the French Alps in Annecy. I walk to work every day, through the mist with the mountains peering down on me. Most mornings we have a design meeting which brings our global designers in Annecy and Shanghai together blending ideas from Mountains to city. I also work closely with the Creative Directors from Footwear and Winter Sports equipment to create alignment for our product ranges, so the guest feels like they can shop head to toe. I would say Salomon is a fast-paced culture and there is a lot of energy that comes from building and innovating new products.
Take us back to where it all began: How did you enter the outdoor industry?
I started my career straight out of design school in Fashion - for magazines and fashion brands. My first design job was head designer for a streetwear brand in New Zealand - Dirty Dog. I moved to New York and got a job for Marc Jacobs, and in London Alexander McQueen. As an active person, I found it really difficult to find products for women that looked good enough to wear out of the gym and onto the tube in London, so in 2007 I founded my brand, Lucas Hugh. I wanted to bridge the gap between technical sport (with high-quality functional materials and fit) with silhouettes that make you look good. I was also very tired of the limiting colour options for women - with lots of pink and teal! I wanted to celebrate our competitive and self-confident spirit and to give women choices.
You’ve mentioned designing and specialising in activewear for women, is this something you feel passionate about – why?
I am pleased to say the world of fashion has progressed a long way in serving equality for everyone, with colour, fit, function and inclusion.
I still believe there is a big opportunity for outdoor to modernise its offer for women also, we want newness in addition to quality and long-lasting products. So that is what we are doing at Salomon. We also understand that our customer is wearing their products for multi-use in the city and mountain so there needs to be consideration for how the product can adapt for both environments.
You are now the creative director for apparel at Salomon. The outdoor industry has traditionally been more male-dominant. Do you feel that this tide is changing?
I think there is still a consideration that women want traditional silhouettes and colours, and I am trying to break that thinking. Not all women want to wear form-fitting jackets and t-shirts, some volume and modern shapes are being called for in outdoor apparel. From a functionality standpoint, I also think there is a lot of innovation opportunity to happen for the female outdoor person. Salomon recognises this and sees the value in the future of the female consumer and that is why they hired me!
Have you faced any obstacles along the way?
Yes, I have faced many obstacles along the way, but I have always tried to focus on the job at hand and I love the quote from Courtney Dauwalter “When you feel like you can’t go any farther: left foot, right foot, left foot“.
Did you find breaking into your current role as the first female at all challenging?
I have had a very welcoming experience as the first Global Creative Director for Salomon. In fact, I had a standing ovation at our Global Sales event - I think the world wants progress and we need to welcome new ideas for this to happen.
Do you think the industry as a whole still has improvements to make it more inclusive?
Yes, but we just need is diversity across the board - not just with women. If we want to build and create and deliver what is needed to balance the offering out for all consumers.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I follow all the global fashion weeks; I travel a lot and try to connect with culture in the city. I also love nature and feel most connected when I am out on a walk. Inspiration comes when you have time to think, and this is what we all need.
Are there any future trends in outdoor apparel we should be watching out for?
Salomon continues to work towards being a more sustainable corporation and together with our brand direction, our apparel is also forever developing and adapting. We are looking to increase recycled materials, constantly seeking for more sustainable fabrics and innovative tech. It is an exciting time for the brand, and we are looking forward to launching the apparel again in Ellis Brigham this winter.
Salomon’s tagline recently changed to Tomorrow Is Yours after celebrating the 75th Birthday last year, what does this mean to you?
George Salomon the founder of Salomon has a great quote “what excites me the most is what we are going to create tomorrow” and this really connects me to the innovation spirit that exists in the brand.