NEW YORK — Parajumpers may be based in the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains in Italy, but its history is squarely American. That’s why the outerwear brand chose New York City as the site for its first retail store.
On Monday afternoon, Parajumpers quietly opened the doors to a 2,000-square-foot store at 464 Broome Street in the heart of SoHo, a neighborhood that houses other well-known outerwear brands including Canada Goose, Moose Knuckles and Burton.
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The store is part of the company’s strategy to grow its business in the U.S. where it already has a robust wholesale and e-commerce presence, according to Cristina Paulon, global marketing director and a member of the family that owns the brand.
And the brand’s ties to the U.S. run deep. As the story goes, Parajumpers founder Massimo Rossetti was at a bar in Anchorage, Alaska, and had a chance encounter with a member of the 210th Rescue Squadron, a unit of the Alaska National Guard’s search and rescue team that parachutes into areas where there are injuries and natural disasters. They are called PJS, or parajumpers, and their motto is: “That Others May Live.”
Rossetti, who owned a manufacturing plant in Italy under the Ape & Partners SpA name, was so impressed by the airman that he created jackets inspired by their story. And those jackets were the catalyst for the creation of the Parajumpers brand.
Now 16 years later, Parajumpers has created a line rooted in outerwear with details that reference the 210th, such as the yellow parachute cord closures on its jackets and a patch sporting both the initials PJS and the motto on the shoulder.
It’s this tie to America that prompted Parajumpers to open its first store here.
“We chose New York because we have Italian spirit but American heritage,” said Justin Warren, vice president of sales and marketing for North America.
The store was designed by Stamuli, an Italian architectural firm headquartered in Stockholm that has also worked with Acne, Ganni, Tiger of Sweden, Alexander Wang and other fashion brands.
The store features a minimalistic aesthetic with clean lines and raw materials such as natural wood and sprayed concrete. Yellow and orange tubing — a reference to the parachute cord and the brand’s signature color used on its pullers and stitching — is used to hang the jackets, while knitwear such as sweatshirts as well as accessories, including padded scarves and beanies, is housed on shelves. In addition to the apparel and accessories, there is also a variety of military-inspired bags, such as backpacks and totes, similar to those carried by the 210th.
Inside the main entrance is a wall of large LED screens featuring images of the brand’s fall campaign. These photos will be swapped seasonally. And the fitting rooms sport walls of natural imagery to make customers feel like they’re outdoors.
Although Parajumpers is best known for its outerwear, the brand has expanded its reach in recent years to other product categories for all seasons. Lightweight jackets for spring/summer and T-shirts, polos, shorts and swimwear will be added in the warmer months. The price range for the winter collection ranges from $350 for a sweatshirt to more than $2,000 for a down puffer.
While much of the line is unisex, there are also several women’s-specific models that have more traditionally feminine patterns and silhouettes.
Although Parajumpers has invested a lot of energy into opening the store, Paulon said there are no immediate plans to open additional units in the U.S.
“We don’t have a huge business here,” she said of the U.S., despite selling at Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Ssense and other retailers in North America. “But we wanted to stake our claim, and if we can be successful in our own store, it can set the tone for the business.”