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A JOURNEY TO THE SUMMIT
"We liked getting together at someone’s home or just at a bar to discuss our dreams and ideas. Our dreams were trips, the thousand walls, sometimes unclimbed, that a generous world could still offer us; deserts of snow, sand, or granite; new routes, traverses, quick repeats — and after a few beers we also talked of jackets, pants, and fleeces.
The awareness was there.
There was the idea, even the certainty (or presumption), of being able to grow, but many times our focus on the moment, or the first big obstacles, obscured the shape of the future that we wished for but that was certainly not yet concrete. In this way, we conceived the first “experiments” — sometimes successful, sometimes less so — in terms of products, marketing, and communication.
Leafing through the first catalogs now makes us smile, but those sparse collections conveyed all our passion and commitment. We were slowly growing up, though. People liked the brand, but with the many challenges it was not easy. Then new travel companions joined us, and, as a result, the addition of increasingly specialized expertise allowed us to reach this point.
It was difficult to believe that we would be able to compete with the legends in the industry. It was hard to think of gaining a foothold in the outdoor world from a small town at the foot of the Dolomites, or convincing customers that Karpos could be the equal of the storied American or German behemoths.
We are on a ledge, organizing our gear, with the ropes hanging down into the void, a good section of difficult wall already below us. Sometimes we stopped, suspecting that we would need to go back down, but then with careful balance we proceeded among small pockets, with determined moves and fear.
Above us a paradoxically infinite sea of rock, stimulation and admiration, love and hatred. What an impression the wall makes from below! But if we turn our gaze to how far we have climbed, we see our wall from above. Two different points of view. Two contrasting feelings. In this way, the wall and the climb are a metaphor for life and every objective. Ten years: a small ledge that can offer a break only as an opportunity to take stock, reflect, and reorganize, but not to rest. The dihedral above us is overhanging, but perhaps at the top it eases up a bit. Are we looking for something easy? But easy is boring.
We are on our new route, excited to push upward, and we have already conquered a complicated section. The path is still long and full of obstacles, but with the passion and professionalism that have always distinguished us we will continue our journey toward the summit."
THE MILESTONES ON A LONG JOURNEY
Karpos is a young brand but one with deep, far-reaching roots — roots called Manifattura Valcismon ...
THE WOOLEN MILL
The history of Manifattura Valcismon begins in 1946, when Olindo and Irma Cremonese bring to life their idea of establishing a spinning mill to make wool yarn in Fonzaso, a small town at the foot of the Dolomites.
Dr. Giordano Cremonese, son of the founders and a great sports enthusiast, participates in his first Marcialonga cross-country ski race with a revolutionary suit made of stretch fabrics offering previously undreamed-of freedom of movement. This was the beginning of the new Sportful brand of knit sportswear.
In 1983, synergies in the research of fabrics and materials lead the company to begin producing cycling clothing. This gives the Sportful brand and its image new impetus: the most recognized professional teams in the world and the Italian national team choose Sportful. In 2003, the company acquires the prestigious Castelli brand and within a decade restores it to its position as the leading brand in the world of cycling.
THE START OF KARPOS
Dr. Cremonese, who has always had a strong connection to the Dolomites, discovers a new dimension, linked to the emotions, the silence, and the reflection that only the mountains can offer. After a long journey with cross-country skiing and cycling, it is time for a different way of thinking about outdoor clothing: Karpos.
Certainty about having become a significant player in the outdoor world comes with the collaboration with Ueli Steck, which begins in 2017 and ends prematurely. It is a real turning point for Karpos: the HIGHEST line launches, demonstrating the brand’s leadership in terms of innovation, research, and technology.