Alpine Fit is the combination of Founder Jen Loofbourrow’s greatest passions: going on outdoor adventures and creating comfortable apparel designed to withstand these adventures.
Her professional resume began as a materials developer at lululemon’s flagship store in Vancouver, British Columbia over 15 years ago. It was here where she dove deep into textiles. “I was nerdy about fabrics, I just loved it,” she laughed.
Jen went on to open a lingerie and swimwear retail store in Ireland, and later worked as a wholesale and operations manager at Skhoop, which is known for their insulated skirts.
Now settled in Anchorage, Alaska with a young family in tow, Jen felt a strong desire to work on her own outdoor apparel innovations — focusing on unique use cases for cool fabrics and a variety of fit options for all body shapes.
As an avid kayaker and backpacker, Jen knew firsthand the meticulous planning that goes into these adventures, particularly when it comes to clothing. “I’d spend a lot of time marinating on that one set of gear and boiling my kit of gear down to nothing.”
Jen started out making something that she felt was needed for her own multi-day adventures: the perfect, non-wool long-sleeve base layer that could be worn day after day and still look, feel and smell fresh.
With the help of a fabric mill in California, Jen tapped into her knowledge of textiles to develop a special fabric containing ionic+® antimicrobial technology.
The resulting Sterling™ fabric checks all the boxes: it’s quick drying, UPF 50+ and — thanks to the silver fibers woven into it — antimicrobial, too. “The silver is in the fiber. It’s not a chemical, so it won’t wash out,” Jen said. “You can wear it and sweat in it for two weeks and it’ll still be odor resistant.”
All of Alpine Fit’s products are cut, sewn, finished and fulfilled in-house. Having the entire operation based in Anchorage has benefits. “We can be agile and responsible to the needs and demands of the business,” Jen said of her five-person “lean dream team.”
Alpine Fit’s synthetic fabrics, like Sterling™, are part of the Re-Trace™ product line, which utilizes recycled fibers. While the merino wool collection is certified to the Responsible Wool Standard.
Not only does Alpine Fit boast state-of-the-art fabric, but as the brand name implies, they doubled their inventory to provide more comfortable, properly fitting garments for every body.
“Most brands have just one shape, then scale it to other sizes,” Jen explained. “But there’s just so many body shapes out there, no matter the size.” Through research, personal experience, and lots of conversations, Alpine Fit offers twice the fit options in both women’s and men’s garments.
The women’s Wild Iris Fit offers a straighter fit, while the Azalea Fit is curvier at the bust and hip. Similarly, men’s sizes come in the Granite Fit, providing more space around the waist, as well as the Cinder Fit, delivering a tapered fit for a narrower waist and extra length in the torso and arms.
“There are so many positive nuggets and positive phrases that feel wonderful,” Jen said of the feedback they’ve received since the brand’s inception in 2019. “They’re like sparkles that keep us going and keep us thinking of other cool things. That’s what it comes back to. We’re helping people have longer and more comfortable adventures.”
“Many other companies are making base layers, but we’re doing it special and unique enough that elbows a little bit of room. The most rewarding thing is making things that have better fit shapes and seeing the positivity that it brings. We’ve seen customers who have tears of joy when they try on some of our sizes and body shape fits.”
In early 2023, the Small Business Administration took notice of Alpine Fit’s commitment to producing high-quality adventure apparel while prioritizing environmental stewardship.
“Receiving the Alaska Women-Owned Business of the Year award is an incredible honor for both myself and the entire Alpine Fit team,” Jen said. “Our mission has always been to create adventure apparel that not only performs exceptionally but also aligns with our values of sustainability, domestic production and inclusivity. This recognition is a testament to the hard work and passion we put into every aspect of our business.”
Given Alaska’s remote geographic location, it’s no surprise operating an outdoor apparel business can be challenging. The state’s textile industry is small, Jen said, resulting in limited person-to-person interactions and lots of virtual communication.
But Alpine Fit’s home base also provides an unmatched testing ground. “It allows us to be a prominent member of our community and provide a greater economic impact. Plus, it’s super fun and satisfying to make stuff!”