Skinfit exists since 1997 and should be around for many decades to come. This only works if we act responsibly as a company. No, we are not talking about an eco-label here and a tree planted there. We are talking about a holistic concept that establishes the topic of responsibility and sustainability in all relevant areas: From well thought-out production to fair dealings with employees and partners to thoughtful, long-term corporate decisions. These are just a few examples of how we give everything when it comes to dealing sensibly with our environment and our fellow human beings.
The human factor
We want to maintain a stable relationship with our fellow human beings (whether customers, partners or employees) at eye level. For us, fairness, exchange and respect are part of a long-term cooperation and are the basis for being able to grow together every day.
The company factor
We want to be a company that can be relied on in every situation. This is the only way we can operate with foresight. For us, this includes thoughtful decisions, consistent action and a focus on future-oriented topics such as the development of our employees.
The product factor
The best form of sustainability: consume less. Thanks to the optimal combinability of our durable products, athletes only need a few Skinfit items to be optimally equipped in most situations. Also thanks to timeless design for several years.
The production factor
Short distances instead of slow processes: In our production, we rely on efficient cooperation with partners, most of whom we have been working with for years in a spirit of trust. Whether global or local: only together can we ensure fair and respectful cooperation.
When I founded Skinfit in 1997, I had no idea how successful the company would become. But from the very beginning it was clear to me that Skinfit should go a different way, a way of its own. Not only in terms of sportswear, but also in terms of sustainability - even if this word didn't exist in this form back then.
Werner | Founder Skinfit
THE HUMAN FACTOR
What is your core message on the topic of "responsibility"?
For us, there's nothing better than working out outdoors and giving our all in sports. Two things play a fundamental role in this: an intact nature in which we can move and equipment that allows us to go to the maximum without compromise. The one is indispensably dependent on the other. Without intact nature, the best clothing is useless and without good clothing we will not be able to enjoy the most beautiful nature experiences undisturbed.
That's why we design our collection right from the beginning in 1997 so that we only need very few clothing items for a wide range of endurance adventures. Our modularly combinable products can be worn during almost all endurance sports units. We place the highest value on durability - because nothing conserves our resources more than wearing a product for many years. Our core message is therefore: only a few, particularly high-quality and durable products will protect our environment in the long term and give us the chance to continue enjoying unique experiences in nature in the future.
"The other day I came back from a bike ride and while I'm changing, I see my Ironman finisher photo from 2002 on the wall. Then I notice that I'm wearing the same red AERO T-Shirt. And I don't just mean the same kind, but exactly THE same. 19 years old, after all. Nice memory." Eric | Skinfit customer
Do you live more sustainably with Skinfit?
Sustainability is known to be a very elastic term. We often find ourselves in the situation where we inform ourselves about a product, but in reality are immediately reassured as soon as the word "sustainable" is mentioned somewhere. It often takes too much effort for us to be really informed and to recognise the backgrounds and contexts exactly, and we simply buy because it is "sustainable" anyway - we don't need to question that. We feel good, keep our sustainable bank account and are reassured when the airline we book plants a tree somewhere for our cheap ticket.
We're not going to tell you here how sustainable it is when you buy and wear Skinfit products. We believe that it is everyone's responsibility to look at the impact of their actions. This includes not only thinking "Am I buying exactly the right product for me and can I use it for as long as possible and for as many different occasions as possible?" but also "How do I behave when I exercise?", "Do I really need to drive to my run?", "How and with what do I wash my clothes?", etc.
We know that we have a great responsibility as a textile company. And we will gladly provide you with all the information you need to form your own opinion. We also ask ourselves every day whether we can reconcile our conscience with what we do. We don't want to rely on the loose word "sustainable", but question all our actions and activities - in our shops, in our headquarters as well as in cooperation with our producers and partners.
What contribution do you make to the positive development of society?
Our brand essence revolves around performance. With passion and system, we create optimal conditions for it, because it is our common drive. We want to share the unique feeling that sport gives us with as many people as possible - no matter whether they are professionals or amateur athletes. Where else but in sport does everyone really have the chance to achieve all the goals they have set for themselves? Especially in sport, everyone is the architect of his or her own fortune, no matter what social environment or cultural circle you come from - everyone has the same prerequisites. Our role is to create the perfect conditions so that everyone can achieve their own goals. Because we are sure that there is nothing that enriches our lives more than regular exercise in the great outdoors and working towards our own goals.
By the way, the really important goals in endurance sports are not achieved in minutes or hours, but in years. We also take this to heart and not only produce particularly durable products, but also support sports personalities for whom we want to offer the best conditions for training, competitions and best times. Long-term, honest, fair and with mutual appreciation.
Promoting sport is particularly close to our hearts. That is why we not only support athletes, but also organise sporting events, introduce young people to sport in various forms and support numerous clubs and events. In short, we believe in the positive power of sport itself.
"For me, performance means challenging my body every day and pushing it a bit further. The thought of how good I feel after the training pushes me." Birgit | Skinfit Druckerei
What added value does Skinfit offer its employees?
As a responsible employer, we know that our success depends largely on our employees. We therefore do our utmost to create a pleasant working environment for all members of the "Skinfit Family". Long-term jobs, fair pay, flexible working hours and a modern infrastructure are a matter of course for us.
What is not so self-evident, but is very much appreciated by everyone, is our well-equipped fitness studio at the headquarters, regular joint sports sessions such as weekly yoga, boot camps, after-work bike rides or lunchtime jogging rounds. Those who prefer to chill out can do so in our chill-out zone, which includes a staff kitchen, reading corner, sofas and a barbecue area in the spacious garden area. Much more important than all these amenities, however, is our unique team spirit, which we like to strengthen with annual excursions, hiking and skiing days, Christmas parties and regular after-work drinks. Every single employee pays us back with above-average commitment, passion and years of loyalty.
"I really appreciate being able to witness how the development of sportswear is becoming more and more diverse and sophisticated. In addition, the open and friendly interaction and the willingness to help each other is incomparable - just like the many small and fine coffee and cake breaks." Tanja | Skinfit Graphic Design
THE COMPANY FACTOR
What is your "direct sales system"?
As a responsible company, it is important to us that we continue to work exclusively in the direct sales system - that means, we sell our products only through our own web shop and in our more than 30 exclusive Skinfit Shops. We do this not only because we don't want to be part of misleading discount battles and product policies of wholesalers, but also because our products have a consistent value and the direct advice and competence of our employees seems particularly important to us. It is our claim that every customer goes home with exactly the product he or she needs and does not, for example, quickly buy a T-Shirt because it just sparkles off the sales stand at a bargain price. We don't see any point in selling as much as possible at any price, but want to make unforgettable sports experiences at the highest level possible with our products. This only works with competent advice from people who know exactly what they are talking about and what you need for your sports project.
On the economic level, it is also very important for us to have a fair and transparent pricing policy. At Skinfit, every item in the webshop as well as in the local Skinfit Shops has the same price. As a customer, you can always be sure that you are paying a fair price for your item without having to worry that you might have received a lower one in another shop. This solution is also ideal for our self-employed partners in the Skinfit Shops, because they don't have to indulge in price wars and can concentrate on the essentials: Namely, finding the right product for you with you.
How do you deal with online shopping and returns there?
We want every customer to get exactly the right product for them. To ensure this, we have always attached great importance to personal and competent advice. But times are changing and so are the shopping habits of our society. From an entrepreneurial point of view, we have to take this into account and also offer our products via our web shop. When shipping online orders, we rely on recyclable cardboard packaging and to ensure that the articles always arrive dry and clean at our customers' premises, they are already packed in recyclable polybags during the production packaging process.
Because trying on is not possible with online shopping and not every product looks on the screen as expected in reality, we also receive returns: Up to one third of all online orders are returned to us. That sounds like a lot, and it is - although we do very well in comparison to the rest of the industry. Our trained staff in the returns department unpacks every single return, checks the items and prepares them for sale again. This way, you can be sure that you always receive flawless products and that no goods are unnecessarily destroyed. In order to avoid returns right from the start, we try to provide as much information as possible about each product. If you are still unsure, our customer service or the nearest Skinfit Shop will be happy to help you by phone or email. After all, every avoided return means one less transport route.
By the way: If you buy online from us, you automatically support the self-employed Skinfit Shop Partner in your region. These partners share in all online sales because we believe in a fair and functioning cooperation.
"I started shopping at Skinfit five years ago and was immediately impressed by the functionality of the products. Since then, new items for mountain, running, hiking or simply for leisure time have been added all the time. The friendly advice I get in Klagenfurt makes up for the rest, because I don't usually like to go shopping. But I love going to Skinfit!" Christian | Skinfit customer
What is your opinion on fast fashion?
Wer einen tieferen Einblick in die Welt von Skinfit wagt, stellt sofort fest, dass wir anders sind. Unsere Kollektionen sind saisonübergreifend, unsere Sportbekleidung über viele Sportarten hinweg kombinierbar, unsere Farben nicht jedem modischen Trend unterworfen. Bei Skinfit gilt: Was gut ist bleibt! So haben beispielsweise die KLIMA Pro Artikel seit der Stunde Null – das heißt seit fast 25 Jahren – ihren festen Platz in der Skinfit Kollektion. Saisonale Trends haben keine Bedeutung für uns - es ist die Performance die zählt. Wir verzichten weitestgehend auf Modefarben und wählen für unsere Produkte immer optimal kombinierbare Farbtöne und zeitlose Designs aus - so kannst du die Skinfit Produkte über Jahre hinweg nicht nur sinnvoll sondern auch immer farblich abgestimmt kombinieren.
Anyone who dares to take a deeper look into the world of Skinfit will immediately notice that we are different. Our collections are cross-seasonal, our sportswear can be combined across many sports, our colours are not subject to every fashion trend. At Skinfit, the rule is: all that's good stays! For example, the KLIMA Pro articles have had a permanent place in the Skinfit collection since the beginning - that is, for 25 years. Seasonal trends are not important to us - it's the performance that counts. We avoid fashionable colours as far as possible and always select optimally combinable colour tones and timeless designs for our products - so you can combine Skinfit products over the years not only sensibly but also always in matching colours.
"My first Skinfit item was a shirt and I've worn it on every ski tour since I bought it. I didn't realise that until now - only when I thought about this: it's 8 years old and I love it like the first day. And that's exactly what sustainability means to me - good quality articles, good fit, timeless design and usable for many areas. You can enjoy it for a long time and say goodbye to the throwaway society." Kerstin | Skinfit customer
THE PRODUCT FACTOR
What is particularly important to you in your products?
There is one indicator of the optimal conditions for achieving top performance: body temperature. Only when this is as constant as possible at 37º C you can call up your maximum performance. Our mission is to make this possible. That's why Skinfit products are coordinated so that the body temperature deviates as little as possible. Because only if you don't waste energy you can perform at your best at the chosen time. In order to be able to achieve the goal - the 37° C body temperature - we have been tinkering with the best fabric structures and materials for 25 years now. Our location in Vorarlberg is just perfect for this, as the textile industry is still particularly important here. We work very closely with traditional local companies and have been able to jointly develop the tried and tested fabrics of our KLIMA, AERO, parts of the VENTO series and special triathlon fabrics.
Performance is our top priority. Our products must therefore support our customers as much as possible in getting the best performance out of themselves. We ensure this through high-quality and durable materials, precise and clean manufacturing, optimal cuts and many well thought-out details. We are also firmly convinced that you don't need a separate garment for every sport. The 5 modules from our Modulario system ideally cover all required functions and once you have a product from each module, you are first-class equipped for an incredible number of sports and conditions.
"For years I've been searching for the perfect clothing for me for various endurance sports. Instead of giving up, I founded Skinfit." Werner Battisti | Founder Skinfit
What makes Skinfit clothing sustainable?
Athletes are fundamentally different. Just like sports, training, seasons or weather. With the Modulario system we have laid the foundation for a well thought-out and resource-saving clothing system for each and every one of them. The advantage is not only that you need fewer products for more sports and purposes, but also that the well thought-out design of the collection offers enormous added value for every customer. It is important for us that you are ideally equipped for your sports and do not have to think about what would look better or which piece you should wear for which purpose. The Skinfit Modulario products do not only serve one purpose. Especially in combination with other modules, one and the same product can sometimes perform completely different functions.
When it comes to combining garments in a sensible way, their colours also play a very important role. That's why we largely avoid fashion colours and always choose optimally combinable shades and simple, timeless designs for our products - so you can combine Skinfit products not only sensibly but also always in matching colours for years to come.
"I did my very first triathlon over 10 years ago in a Skinfit 2-piece. At the time, I was a bit suspicious of getting wet and getting on a bike straight after the swim. My mum just said "kid, make sure you change, you'll catch cold!". Of course I didn't, because I had my super outfit from Skinfit! The second insecurity factor was my tender bottom, which should not suffer under the thin seat padding and last but not least, the sewn-in bra had to hold while running! To cut a long story short: I was deeply impressed by what a good functional garment can do! In my case, not only the function of the material, but also its versatility in different sports. My triathlon fever was ignited, thanks in part to Skinfit!" Karin | Skinfit customer
What is the "Modulario System"?
The Modulario system is the heart of the Skinfit collection. With its 5 modules, it supports you in various sports all year round and always ensures perfect climate management. All Modulario products are characterised by the following features:
Combinability Individual products as well as the 5 modules can be combined with each other as desired.
Versatility Skinfit Modulario products can be used for different sports.
Year-round use The combination of the individual modules in a layering principle allows use in different seasons.
These are the 5 modules that you can put together individually for your perfect layering system:
KLIMA The functional underwear with the right climate management.
AERO Convinces with breathability, freedom of movement and versatility - whether as a base or mid layer.
VENTO Breathable wind protection.
CALDO Insulation and warmth in the smallest pack size.
SCUDO Reliable protection from wind and weather.
From the countless personal conversations that our employees have had with customers in our shops over the past years, the 4 factors of sport, intensity, temperature and weather have emerged as the decisive ones. They were decisive in ensuring that our customers left our shop satisfied and with the ideal product for their requirements. Our vision is that every Skinfit customer becomes a brand ambassador. We can only do that if you get the right product for you.
SPORT Fewer products, more uses.
INTENSITY From comfortable to full throttle!
TEMPERATURE Heat accumulation and cold shock are a thing of the past.
WEATHER Rain, wind or sun - come what may, you are prepared.
3-layer principle, onion principle or also layered look. No matter what you call it, the important thing is that it works. And it does. That's why the 3-layer principle is the basis for Skinfit Modulario. Several thin layers are combined with each other. This supports the body's own regulations and gives the athlete a feeling of well-being in motion, even in extreme situations.
REGULATION Warms in cold and cools in heat.
ISOLATION Stores your body heat and protects against hypothermia.
PROTECTION Protects you from wind and weather.
37° C body temperature - the secret of your personal best. When we are cold or too warm during exercise, our performance decreases. Our body has to expend extra energy to regulate the body temperature with the help of the body's own processes. Your optimal operating temperature is 37° C. Skinfit Modulario offers you and your body the right solutions so you don't waste energy and can perform at your best.
Why do you use synthetic fibres? Isn't that harmful to the environment?
We often hear this question. And it is precisely at this point that we would like to get out of the "what is more sustainable?" game. More is needed here than just this superficial consideration - how else can it get so far that one supplier praises vegan materials as sustainable and the other wool, cotton and down as sustainable? The truth probably lies a little deeper here - because yes, both natural and synthetic fibres can be produced sustainably.
In our case, we rely on synthetic materials for the most part. However, we did not make this decision because we absolutely wanted to make our products from synthetic fibres, but because they should have the highest quality and best performance. For us, these requirements are best met by special fabric structures made of polyamide, polypropylene or polyester. The materials we use are extremely breathable, light and quick-drying and thus create the perfect conditions to get the most out of us.
In our society we have learned that everything that is "artificial" can automatically not be sustainable. Synthetic materials are toxic, not biodegradable and are largely made from petroleum. Should we therefore cycle around in cotton trousers after all? Today, more than 50% of the world's demand for textile fibres is covered by synthetic fibres - and in the sports sector this percentage is certainly much higher. For the production of synthetic fibres, we need no cultivated land, no fertilisers and less than 1% of the water needed to produce the same amount of cotton fibres.
Over 30% of the ecological footprint of a sportswear item depends on how long it is worn. Less than 1% of annual petroleum consumption is due to the textile industry. Synthetic fibres are extremely durable and can be recycled with almost no loss of quality. From our side, we can only add here that we do not use any ecologically harmful chemicals or processes to produce our functional materials (all our products are at least Oeko-Tex 100 certified and most of them meet higher standards). For us, the highest performance comes first and we try to implement this as sustainably as possible within the scope of our possibilities.
"With my Skinfit jacket I have done everything from camping holidays, biking to winter sports. Unfortunately, there are only holiday photos with this jacket left, so I sometimes have trouble associating the beautiful memories. And I don't want to think about what I will do without my beloved jacket (which is already 8 years old)." Mirko | Skinfit customer
How do you deal with the problem of microplastics?
Microplastics are a topic that accompanies each and every one of us nowadays. However, no one has yet found a patent solution to eliminate the problem. As a textile company, we are of course trying to find a holistic solution to this problem and are investing a lot of time and effort in the development of the most robust and durable materials possible in order to avoid the creation of microplastics in the first place. But here, too, we would like to emphasise that the individual handling of our products has a great influence on the creation of microplastics:
The amount of microplastic released from textiles can be reduced simply by washing correctly. Washing at a low temperature with as few and high-quality detergents as possible, or filling the washing machine completely and not just washing a few items of clothing, will result in less wear and tear on the product, which will greatly reduce the amount of microplastic released. The same goes for the tumble dryer - although you don't really need it because of the incredibly fast drying time of Skinfit products. In general, you should treat your clothing as well as possible (i.e. really follow the care instructions) and use it for as long as possible. If, after a long period of use, it does show any defects, please contact our repair service before you buy a new product. If a repair is no longer possible, upcycling is still a great option instead of disposal - write to us at responsibilityskinfit.eu if you have already upcycled a Skinfit product!
Another possibility to reduce microplastics are special washing bags or filters for washing machines (by the way, new washing machines will only be produced with microplastic filters in the future). However, current studies show that around 90% of the microplastic that comes from washing machines is collected in modern sewage treatment plants. Of course, this is still 10% too little, but it means that the textile industry contributes much less to the pollution of the environment with microplastics than is often thought. So we as a company, or each and every one of us, can already make a considerable contribution by using our clothes for a long time and washing them carefully. If we also do without our cars a little more often (because more than 50% of microplastics are caused by tyre wear and fine dust) and walk or cycle to work more often, we are taking important steps against microplastic pollution.
“I have been with Skinfit for 18 years - first as a professional athlete and now in the Performance Sports division - and I still have so many pieces from the past that I still like to wear today. As a passionate athlete but also a mother of three children, it is not important to me personally that the clothing is new and trendy. First and foremost, it has to function and support me in my everyday life - whether it's sports or cycling my kids to kindergarten before and after work. I also want to pass this attitude on to my children. That way, our skinfit parts stay in the family for generations." Kathrin | Skinfit Performance Sports
THE PRODUCTION FACTOR
Where are Skinfit products manufactured?
We are proud of our Vorarlberg roots. That's why we attach great importance to keeping the greatest possible part of the added value of our products here. For example, our countless samples and prototypes are designed directly at our location in Koblach (Vorarlberg | Austria) and manufactured in our in-house sample sewing department. For the most part, we use fabrics that are made to the highest quality standards by traditional local companies and other European manufacturers. If we are finally satisfied with the result after several practical tests and changes, these products flow into our collection and reach the final production stage. This takes place in Tunisia, Poland, Lithuania, China and Thailand. Depending on the collection and the type of products, about 70% are manufactured in Europe and Tunisia and 30% in Asia.
Our partner companies outside Europe all run under Austrian management and guarantee their employees fair working conditions with regulated working hours according to European standards, fair pay and the highest safety standards. In addition, we are connected to all our partner companies not only by a long-standing partnership, but also by our Vorarlberg roots. Our three largest production sites are all managed by Vorarlberg emigrants - a partnership lived on an equal footing, for many years. Of course, our quality standards as well as the working conditions in the manufacturing plants are regularly checked during personal visits and continuously improved. So we can stand behind our partners with the best conscience.
"I wear Skinfit products for both sports and leisure because they are extremely high quality and durable. I bought my first shirt 15 years ago and I still use it. The fact that it's a local brand, with most of the value added here, puts the crown on it! Never change a running system!" Martin | Skinfit customer
Why don't you produce at the location in Austria?
In the production of garments, a general distinction must be made between the production of the materials (fabrics, yarn, zips, etc) and the making-up (cutting, sewing, etc). Fabric production is largely machine-based and automated. This means that we can still produce very high-quality fabrics in "high-price countries" such as Austria, Italy or Sweden. The production of the clothing, means the processing of the materials, is mainly done by hand and is therefore very cost-intensive.
Anyone who is not involved in the production of textiles is tempted to believe that manufacturers are moving to Asian production facilities mainly for these cost reasons. However, on closer inspection, the backgrounds are very complex. In the past, the textile industry was very much based in Europe. But when the costs for wages and salaries kept rising, many companies moved to Asia. At that time, it was really for cost reasons. The consequence was and is that we also exported our European know-how to Asia. As a result, a lot of knowledge has migrated and certain manufacturing steps can now almost only be realised in Asia.
In Asia, investments were made heavily over decades, while in Europe, savings were made and no technical innovations were pushed forward. So today we have reached a point where production in Asia is no longer "cheap", but also state-of-the-art. And because we are concerned about the highest quality and the most modern technology, we are also forced to move to Asia for special product lines. When you choose Skinfit, you choose uncompromising quality and the highest functionality. We take this mission seriously and therefore do everything we can to guarantee only the best processing steps in the manufacturing process.
In August 2021, we created the opportunity to bring old products of any brand to our shops and exchange them for a comparable Skinfit product. All returned items were processed and donated to the organisations SOS Kinderdorf, Gemeinsam helfen, Crossing Borders and to the flood victims of summer 2021.
When it comes to sensible combinations of garments, their colours play a very important role. That's why we mostly don't follow seasonal trends and always choose colours for our products that can be optimally combined - so you can combine our products not only sensibly but also always in matching colours for years to come.