Direct Alpine was launched in 1997 by two friends who wanted to spend more time in the mountains. During the first years of the company’s existence, the founders had to do everything, but the bootstrap venture quickly became successful. By 2000, the demand for Direct Alpine’s outdoor apparel was such that Radek Nováček and his partner, Jirka Sika, had to “employ some clever people to run the company.” The dream of having a great work-life balance became a reality not only for the two founders, but also for their employees.
Beginning the company’s international expansion, Direct Alpine debuted at ISPO München, one of the most influential outdoor trade events in the world. Today, Direct Alpine products continue to gain popularity across the whole of Europe, with a recent venture into Japan and Korea promising success in East Asia.
Despite its rapid growth, Direct Alpine remains “a small, family company” with strong ties to where it was founded. After following outsourcing production to developing countries, the founders decided to move the whole cycle back home to the Czech Republic. With thirteen workshops around the country, 99 percent of the production is now done domestically.
“We’re truly proud that we can give work to people here in Czech,” says production manager Václav Novotný, adding that they “use workshops where relations are very informal, and we value that highly.”
Durability remains one of the core company values with Nováček proudly displaying one of their earliest models — a now two-decade-old hardshell jacket still in great shape.
Climashield + Direct Alpine
One of the most recent designs is the Yungay, a very warm yet lightweight jacket made with 102 g/m2 of recycled Climashield® Apex insulation. The outer layer is composed of the highly breathable and wind-resistant Pertex Quantum Air, while the lining is made of recycled polyester. This combination allows the Yungay to be environmentally friendly and high-performance, tested by the Direct Alpine team when climbing at more than 6,000 m above sea level.
Despite its robustness, the Yungay weighs in at only 477g. With a precise anatomical cut, adjustable hood and three zipper pockets, it is set to become a technical classic.
Another Direct Alpine model featuring Climashield® continuous filament insulation is the Apres Lady parka-style jacket designed for lifestyle and apres-ski activities. Much like the Yungay, the Apres Lady retains its warmth even when wet thanks to the synthetic fibers of Climashield®.
The ECO WAY
A further benefit of moving Direct Alpine’s production into the Czech Republic is the adherence to the highest ecological standards imposed by the European Union. Closely monitoring the entirety of the supply chain ensures that all fabrics and components are also responsibly sourced.
Minimizing the company’s impact on the natural environment remains a high priority for the Direct Alpine team who are all first and foremost passionate outdoor enthusiasts.
Novotný is pleased that by cutting down on transportation between Europe and Asia, the company was able to drastically reduce CO2 emissions.
“We live in the countryside, we love nature, and we do our work accordingly,” declare Direct Alpine’s founders.