In 1997, a small outdoor company started operations in Woodstock, VT. In February 2018, that same company shut its doors 14 miles down the road. The company is Ibex Outdoor Clothing, and its closure is a sad moment for outdoor adventurers across the country.
In the outdoor industry, Ibex was a big name. They made some of the finest merino wool clothing, tailored specifically to outdoor pursuits. When the brand first started, all outdoor clothing “looked the same and didn’t work. It was all either Gore-Tex or polyester fleece,” said John Fernsell, one of the co-founders. The brand started around the same time as SmartWool (1994). But where SmartWool carved out a niche in merino wool socks and running clothing, Ibex failed to market its high-end merino wool clothing successfully.
While the current phase of Ibex is dead, loyal fans have cause to be hopeful. In a note on the brand’s website Ted Manning, Ibex’s CEO, alludes to the chance of Ibex being reborn: “Keep your eyes open for Ibex on a new adventure; although I don’t know what it will look like, I am confident in its return.”
Tanner Bowder, Associate Staff Writer: “If there’s anything that Vermonters have in abundance, it’s state pride. Not just for the fall foliage and funky ice cream, but for the small businesses too. ‘Made in Vermont’ conveys more than a simple reference to an origin of manufacturing; it reveals a sense of quality, dignity, and intention. As a Vermonter, I’m saddened to see one of our well-known businesses go. But beyond that, as someone who spends so much time trekking, skiing, running and climbing in latitudes far beyond New England, I’m disappointed that an outdoor brand committed to such a high level of quality in the apparel it produced has to shut its doors.”
AJ Powell, Assitant Editor: “Ibex was a brand that I always respected and admired. A core group of like-minded outdoor individuals that wanted to build quality clothing that stood up to any adventure. I wear my Ibex gear proudly and many pieces continue to be go-tos in my everyday. I still don’t travel without my Woolies 2 Crew.”
While Ibex has stopped taking orders on its website, Backcountry still has a handful of the brand’s popular pieces available. Sizing is limited.
Woolies 1 Crew Top by Ibex $80
Hooded Indie Sweatshirt by Ibex $90
Odyssey Heather T-Shirt by Ibex $90
Wool Aire Shirt Jacket by Ibex $210
Woolies 2 Zip-Neck Top by Ibex $115
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