Lowe Alpine was founded in 1967. Photo: Jimmy Chuang CC-BY-ND-2.0

Lowe Alpine was founded in 1967. Photo: Jimmy Chuang CC-BY-ND-2.0

A Derbyshire-based company has bought one of the world’s best known outdoor brands after Italian banks forced a creditors’ agreement on the troubled owner.

The Lowe Alpine brand has been bought by Equip Outdoor Technologies, which already owns the Rab and outdoordesigns brands, but the new owner has pledged to continue the Lowe Alpine brand separately.

Somercotes-based Equip has not disclosed the price it paid the company that also owns Italian boot brand Asolo and Thorlo socks for the group of companies in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, all of which will now operate as subsidiaries of Equip.

No new clothing has been designed by the Lowe Alpine team since last year, though its rucksack development has continued, based in Kendal, Cumbria. Equip said today it is ‘intent on re-establishing the Lowe Alpine clothing line in double quick time’.

Lowe Alpine was originally founded in Boulder, Colorado, by climber Greg Lowe in 1967. Since the company’s troubles last year, Equip owner Matt Gowar has been in pursuit of the brand and signed an agreement to purchase Lowe Alpine on Friday.

An Equip statement said: “Lowe Alpine will now move back to the UK and its base in Kendal, Cumbria will once again become the company’s international headquarters where its current UK operations and the packs development team are based.”

Mr Gowar said: “I have long admired Lowe Alpine, and it has been an inspiration to me during the 20 years that I have been working in the outdoor industry. I am delighted to become associated with one of the cornerstone brands of our industry.

“The current UK, German and Dutch management teams together with the packs and sales teams in the Kendal office will provide a great platform to spearhead the growth of Lowe Alpine, returning it once again to its pinnacle position in the outdoors.

“We all feel very excited to have been able to secure the Lowe Alpine brand ahead of others who clearly wanted it, and we see an exciting future ahead for Lowe Alpine.”

Chris Harding, managing director of Equip, will take over as head of design for Lowe Alpine as well as all other Equip brands.

The company said it intends to keep the design and development of Rab and Lowe Alpine clothing completely independent of each other and to have a dedicated development team for each brand.

Mr Harding said, “We think that there is a huge potential to develop Lowe Alpine clothing. It is probably the case that it lost its way a little over the last few years, but we are confident that we can build upon its great heritage to bring it back to being a formidable outdoor clothing brand once again. However, it is vitally important that both Rab and Lowe Alpine maintain their unique individuality with each brand having their own identities and positions in the market.”