When and where did it all begin?

 

Páramo Directional Clothing Systems was set up by the founder and owner of Nikwax, Nick Brown. 
He is still very much part of the day-to-day running of Páramo, continuing to contribute to new fabric developments in particular.


 1980s

 

   

1984
Disillusioned with conventional outdoor clothing, Nick set about observing the way in which mammals and birds stay dry and comfortable. Looking at their fur and feathers, he soon realised nature's wise ways, whereby water is pumped away faster than it can be pushed in. He observed too, the manner in which trees draw water to great heights by 'wicking', helped by the evaporation of water from the leaves. And so Páramo was born.

   

1986
Páramo is an area of the Andes above the tree line and below the snow. Similar to Scotland, but with a lot less oxygen, it was here that Nick chose to first test his fabrics. The next step was to advance from fabric to actual clothing manufacture on a commercial scale.  Prototypes of several garments were produced and Nick was able to test the new fabric to its limits, staying warm, dry and comfortable at 3,800 metres (with the emphasis on comfortable) on a trip to the Colombian Andes.

   

1989
Nick approached several manufacturers of outdoor clothing with his revolutionary fabric without success. Páramo Directional Clothing Systems was created because of the total rejection of the idea by the outdoor clothing companies.

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 1990s

   

1990
Nick asked mountain instructor Greg Care if he would help with the design and development of the first outdoor garments made using the ‘Directional’ Nikwax fabrics.  The first retail account was established in Aylesbury by ‘Ramblers’.

   

1992
Production started in Bogotá, Colombia in South America. Here Nick found a workshop employing some dozen ladies using two machines. The place was run by the Miquelina Foundation which, led by Sister Esther Castano, had been set up to help desperate women (most of whom, until then, had faced no alternative but to be prostitutes) learn trades and earn money.  Nick's meeting with the Mother Superior was indeed fruitful. There are now more than twelve dozen women employed at the factory, making some 4000 garments every month, on 120 machines. There is a kindergarten, and there are lessons in literacy and formal training. Most employees have a formal qualification. The factory has even gained the coveted ISO 9002 Standard.

   

1994
Páramo became a separate company from Nikwax.

   

1995
Launch of temperature control shirts, made from another innovative fabric, ‘Parameta S’ – Páramo Reversible shirts spread moisture quickly to cool you down or can be reversed to trap a layer of still air to insulate.

   

1997
Readers of Country Walking magazine vote the Páramo Scala ‘Best Waterproof Jacket’.  Development of range continues to include the ‘Windproof’ and ‘Fleece’ garments

   

1998
Country Walking readers again vote the Scala ‘Best Waterproof Jacket’.


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 2000s

   

2000
Our new multi-activity jackets, the Velez and Cuzco join the award winning range of waterproofs. TGO vote the Fuera Windproof Jacket ‘Best buy’ in their Windproof test and the Aspira Smock ‘Best buy’ for winter hill walking test.

   

2001
Having changed the face of the foul weather clothing market, Páramo’s Trek & Travel range is launched for use in warmer temperatures.  Made from the new and innovative Parameta A fabric, lightweight, rapid-drying ladies’ and men’s shirts and trousers join the collection.
The original 3rd Element Jacket is launched – three independently functional garments in one!

   

2002
Nick develops a 25% lighterweight lining for use in all Directional waterproof jackets and fleeces. 
The Taiga Fleece is voted ‘Highly recommended’ in the ‘Best Fleece TRAIL 2002 product awards’.

   

2003
Our new Alta II Jackets are launched and are swiftly voted ‘Best buy’ by TGO magazine in their ‘Best waterproof Jacket’ test. Páramo Long Gaiters are voted ‘Best in Test’ by TRAIL magazine and ‘Best buy’ in TGO.  Our Viento range of Jackets and Trousers join the range in the summer.

   

2004
Páramo’s new reversible base layer range, the Cambia is launched, made from the innovative Parameta T Reversible fabric.  The Alta II Jacket is a 2004 finalist in the Go Outdoors Awards and is voted ‘Highly commended’ in the ‘outdoor garment of the year’ category.  The Cascada Jackets and Trousers are recognised by the testing team at ‘Birdwatching’ magazine as ‘excellent for winter birdwatching’.

   

2005
Our new multi-activity jacket the Vasco is launched.  Páramo is voted as joint winner in the ‘Best Waterproof Jacket’ category in the 2005 Walk reader awards, chosen by readers of the Ramblers’ Association’s official magazine.  TRAIL magazine readers vote Páramo ‘Gear of the Year’ and the Ladies Alta II Jacket is voted ‘Best buy’ in Outdoor Enthusiast magazine.

   

2006
Our new 3rd Element Jacket is launched - retaining its functionality but with a new contemporary style and contoured fit. Exhibited at the ‘OutDoor’ show in Friedrichshafen it is given an ‘OutDoor Industry Award’ – an accolade that is reserved for products which combine innovative technologies in the outdoor sector with appropriate functionality and design.  Within the 2006 Walk reader awards, Páramo is voted ‘Silver’ in the ‘Best Waterproof Jacket’ category and ‘Bronze’ in the ‘Best Base Layer’ category. 

Arrival of the Pájaro, our classic country and wildlife watching jacket in Nikwax Analogy, with a donation to Trees for Life to plant a sapling in the Caledonian Forest for every Pájaro sold.

Launch of new ‘overlayering’ garments, the Torres Smock and Gilet, made from Nikwax Analogy Insulator fabric to warm the body quickly by efficient retention of body heat.

August 2006 saw our first visit to the BirdFair, and our tie up with Andy Rouse, the internationally acclaimed wildlife photographer, to create a range of garments for wildlife watchers and photographers, the Aspira Range, which can be seen and purchased at www.aspirafund.co.uk. All sales benefit the Aspira Fund.

 

 

Andy Rouse Wildlife Photography

   

2007
Spring 2007 saw the addition to the range of more base layers for outdoor women - new female specific Cambia base layers and the Challenger Pull-on. A new windproof jacket, the Fuera Peak, arrived, and the new 15% lighter weight Parameta S Light - ideal for the short sleeved reversible shirts, the Men's Active Shirt and the Ladies' Calluna.

Once again Rambler's Association members voted Páramo gear into medal positions in the Walk reader awards, with Jackets winning a gold, Base Layers a silver and fleeces a bronze. Country Walking readers too voted the Cascada Jacket and Cambia Base Layers as Gear of the Year.

More gear for adventurous women came in the autumn too, with an Aspira High Mountain range for ladies and the Velez Adventure. The very popular Trekker Hoodies in Parameta S Light appeared.

In September 2007, Páramo & Nikwax launched their carbon balancing initiative, working with the World Land Trust to offset all their primary carbon emissions for the past 10 years, as well as for the present day and to conserve tropical rainforest too.

 

   

2008
Our Trek & Travel cargo legwear arrived in Spring, and new Parameta A fabrics meant new lighter travel shirts and the addition of 'Cotton +' to the range for bushcraft activities and trekking trips. Further sun protection came with the addition of the Páramo Summer Cap in Parameta A.

For the third year running, walk magazine readers voted Páramo into gold, silver and bronze positions for baselayers, trousers, jackets and fleeces, gaining a silver award for 'best overall brand' among Ramblers' Association members. Meanwhile visitors to OUTDOORSmagic.com voted Páramo 'best clothing brand' in March.

Our Hill, Hike & More catalogue in September was a celebration of nature, and we opened a number of specialist nature retail partners around the country.

   

2009

2009 saw the arrival of our Nikwax Analogy Light fabric much to the excitement of both gear testers and outdoor enthusiasts. Appearing first in our much loved Velez Adventure Smock in the Spring and in the new Quito Jacket in the Autumn Winter line up, it provides Analogy protection and breathability for those who need to travel fast and light. The Velez Adventure Trousers complete the line up.

Radical new overlayering garments, the Torres Sleeves and Torres Trousers were launched in Autumn 2009 - innovative insulation which is quick, easy and practical to put on, improving both comfort and safety on the hill.

The new website, naturallyparamo.co.uk, made its appearance in Spring 2009, enabling wildlife watchers and photographers to buy 'nature-friendly' garments on line.

 

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 2010 & beyond
   

2010

In March 2010 for the first time, Páramo exhibited at Focus on Imaging, the photographic exhibition, and were delighted to feature both Andy Rouse and many of the Light & Land team on the Páramo stand - we will be going back!

We were thrilled to receive awards from walk magazine readers again - voted 'Best Waterproof Jacket', 'Best Walking Trousers' and 'Best Overall Walking Brand' in their annual reader awards - a great accolade.

In July, we were very happy to be given a 'Best Buy' by the highly respected Ethical Consumer magazine in their review of outdoor gear, the only outdoor clothing brand to receive this status.

September 2010 saw the launch of Páramo Partners, an online portal, allowing selected retailers to offer access to the whole range of Páramo in our warehouse at any time from an instore computer - so helping our small, independent retailers and ensuring potential Páramo purchasers have access to the widest range of garments all the time.

The Pájaro Trousers were launched to complement the Pájaro and Halcon country jackets.

2011

In Spring 2011 the innovative Quito Trousers joined the legwear range. The zip-on/ zip-off construction allows the wearer to put them on speedily without sitting down or taking their feet off the ground.

BBC Countryfile magazine readers voted Páramo as 'Best Outdoor Brand', while Camping magazine named the Cascada Jacket as a winner in their annual awards. Once again Páramo was in the Wanderlust Readers' Travel Awards line-up too.

The Torres Core joined the overlayering range, a perfect complement to the innovative Torres Sleeves, creating a very versatile insulating system.

2012 & beyond

In January, walk readers again voted Páramo the 'Best Overall Walking Brand'. The clothing was also awarded Gold in the 'Best Waterproof Jacket', 'Best Baselayer' and 'Best Midlayer' categories.

The Spring/ Summer season saw the launch of 15 new styles including the lightest ever Analogy jacket, the Ladies' Mirada, the Halcon Waistcoat and new checked travel shirts in protective Parameta A.

The Autumn/ Winter range includes new jackets for walkers - the Andina and Pasco for high energy walkers, and the Helki and Tula, both brilliant for walking and everyday use.

An improved Parameta T+ fabric is introduced to provide a more robust baselayer for all outdoor activities.

The Páramo Recycling Scheme was trialled and launched - offering a real option to those wanting to renew or dispose of their Páramo garments without contributing to resource use and landfill, and be rewarded with a saving on a new Páramo garment.

The Páramo range is highly regarded by the outdoor industry as offering superior weather protection and comfort – all garments come with a lifetime guarantee.  145 outdoor retailers currently stock Páramo and a loyal customer base continues to grow.  Páramo’s aim is to extend the range into other outdoor disciplines, providing unsurpassed comfort in all activities and in all environments.

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