JP Auclair. Orage photo
After 8 years on the job as the figurehead of the Orage team, JP Auclair is leaving Orage. He’ll now be donning the garments of the company he part owns, Armada, and will be helping them step up their backcountry-minded offerings. BroBomb’s Jon Hartley got the scoop.
BroBomb: How was the split with Orage? How did you handle it? How did they? What brought it on?
JP: The split with Orage was pretty emotional, just like any 8 year relationship, it definitely felt like a break up. I think both Orage and I handled it well. Keeping a cool head as best we could and looking at the facts. I think the mutual respect helped a lot. There is no bitterness whatsoever on my side and I’d like to think that there is none on Orage’s side either. I’m very proud of the work I’ve done with Orage and when I look back on the years I spent working with them, it brings a smile to my face.
What do you hope to bring to Armada Outerwear that they aren’t currently doing?
The move made sense even just from a design and product development standpoint. As Armada is getting more and more serious with their technical outerwear program, they showed strong interest for me to jump in and get to work with the softgoods side of things, on top of ski designs. I’ll bring insight on what the needs are for serious backcountry skiers. Part of my job will be to head out into harsh environments, to take notes and report back to the design team.
What limits did you experience with Orage that you won’t have at Armada?
I don’t know that “limits” is the right word. It was more a question of working dynamics. When I first signed on with Orage, Armada did not have an apparel program. The day Armada launched their outerwear, they all of a sudden became a direct competitor of Orage. I was able to separate both for awhile but the more Armada’s program grew, the more I felt it was difficult to not get involved, especially given the fact that I’m a part owner of Armada! I think it was going to become more and more difficult to avoid the eventual conflict of interest and I wanted to deal with the issue before it even became an issue. With my contract coming up, Gore-tex getting on board in a big way with Armada, the timing was right for having some serious conversations over the summer. In the end, the potential to fully dive in and design a full backcountry line, from head to toe, was just too good to pass up.
If cost considerations did not matter, what type of outerwear would you love to design and wear (style, fit, materials, other wacky shit)?
That’s a good question since the designs I’ll be working on will not be taking cost into consideration! My job will be to come up with the dream apparel as far as functionality goes, then I’ll take my design ideas and bring them to Jackie [head outerwear designer at Armada] to put the Armada touches on it. I already know I want to use Gore-tex pro shell for it, cut will be on the slimmer side of the Armada line and we are definitely working on some “wacky shit” as you say, but that will have to wait.