CB Sports Apparel's Relaunch Is Awesome News For Devoted Fans
When Christopher Neary stumbled across the opportunity to bring a ski industry icon from his childhood back to life, he knew it was gold. That icon was the beloved CB Sports, a brand originally launched by a ski racer in 1969, and as owner of Vertical Brands, he was perfectly positioned to make it happen. Neary had great memories of CB from growing up, and he quickly found out just how strong and broad the fan base was. With a soft relaunch of the brand in the spring of 2021 with new, original designs-based line, nostalgia, thanks, and anecdotes of adventures from legions of fans in CB gear poured in. Clad in the retro prototype designs over the last year, people have stopped him, his friends and family at events and in the streets, and wanted to know: where you did get that jacket?
“Vintage is trending, and the timing is perfect,” said Neary, trying to loop in industry logic, but he also knows the success of CB is coming straight from people’s hearts. The multitudes of emails sent to the newly reformed company were swift and ranged from anxious queries of what styles will return and when, to story upon story of each customer’s travels and adventures in CB gear.
Trends and spreadsheets aside, Neary understood exactly who he was reviving the brand for - as well as the new generation of CB fans to be built around a company that always stood for living life to the fullest. Even as a ski brand in the glory days of ski culture, CB lent an effortless cool vibe to anyone in the gear from the streets to the slopes.
“As the kid of single mom, I really wanted a CB jacket when I was about eleven,” said Neary. “But she said no, and bought me a cheaper winter jacket. I lost it at school the next day. So my mom took me and bought the CB, because I wanted it so badly she figured I’d keep track of it. I wore my CB for years after that,” he chuckles, and though he maintains he did not lose the first jacket on purpose, it would have been a good play.
Neary wore it to school, when he got to go skiing on weekends in Killington, Vermont, and as a daily northeastern 80’s fashion statement: peg jeans, New Balance hightops, and his red striped, navy CB jacket.
The brand’s heritage is from alpine skiing, but it never was just about the sport, and that is something the new CB plans to highlight. For CB’s new launch, it’s going to be all about fun. Given that twenty-five million people quit their jobs in 2021, looking for a more fulfilling way of life – including quality time outside - the timing is truly perfect.
“We’re so lucky to have a brand with the equity and nostalgia this brand has,” said Neary. “So far, just wearing the jackets has led to a retail partnership, a marketing partner, and a collab. The brand gets the partnerships itself!”
Though CB is not the only brand in Vertical’s portfolio, Neary knows this one is special and his favorite project so far. As the emails pile up from fans, old and new, asking about styles, and availability, and offering happy heartfelt stories, it seems CB’s new guardian might be under a lot of pressure.
“We don’t feel pressure. We have a good handle on the brand’s DNA, and we know we can do it justice,” said Neary. “The brand speaks for itself.”