When Kimmy Fasani initially started working with Burton to design her signature AK outerwear, it was before bibs had exploded in recent popularity, especially on the women’s side of softgoods. “Burton has always been so receptive to the riders. We all have deep input into how we develop our outerwear and how it performs,” she says. “When I came on the brand, I felt like there was a really great place for bibs because there was really no bib pant for women on the market that we felt spoke to snowboarding, specifically.”
That was around 2015 or so, when Kimmy and the crew at Burton began designing the first piece in what would evolve over the years into a collection of two jackets and two bibs. The timing was perfect for the Kimmy 3L Bib. “There were a lot of men that wore bibs then and I would see them in the backcountry. It seemed like such a huge benefit, better than getting snow down my pants,” she adds with a laugh. “And at the same time, the market was kind of asking for it.”
The process started with identifying the needs that Kimmy had in the backcountry—and adding a jacket to work with the bib. “When I’m in the backcountry, I really like to be able to layer accordingly and I get really hot,” she says. “So, I wanted 3L to be the initial starting place for us. We had the 3L bib and then the 3L anorak, and that way, people could layer to their body type and to their mountainous terrain.”
Being able to take a high-performance 3L Gore-Tex shell design and make it work for snowboarders in all different regions, while giving female consumers more options for adaptability in their outerwear, was paramount in the initial shell designs. “That was the foundation: Here’s something that we know will be a huge benefit to an outdoor experience,” Kimmy explains. “This jacket and this pant are going to keep you warm and dry, and yet they’re still breathable. This gives the power to the consumer to be able to adapt these pieces to their climate.”
The process of development was both meticulous and broad in the considerations in order to end up with a final product that would work so well across the board. Putting her gear through the ringer on a daily basis, winter after winter, narrowed Kimmy’s focus on the details that would not only be useful for riders experiencing similar conditions in similar terrain but also benefit individuals staying in bounds at their home resort. When it came to the bib, Kimmy explains, “Initially there were three things that were a big focus. I wanted the shoulder strap to be a little bit thinner and more feminine than guys’ bibs, and I wanted there to be a way to adjust it, specifically in the back, because once you adjust your bib, you don’t really need to keep doing so. And especially when you’re trying to wear a backpack, you don’t want other things clustering up on your shoulders.” Placing the strap adjustment on the back of the shoulder kept it out of the way and more comfortable for a range of body types, as well.
“Having a drop seat in the bib was a huge component,” adds Kimmy, noting a simple, yet integral component of bibs that can really have a big effect on a day in the mountains. Finally, the fit was paramount. “We wanted the bibs to be able to fit all body types. We put snaps on the waistband and elastic on the back to ensure that anybody who tried them on could find them comfortable.”
If the bibs were the cornerstone of the collection, the 3L Gore- Tex Kimmy Anorak was the next layer. “At that time, anoraks weren’t really on the technical market for backcountry outerwear,” explains Kimmy. “I thought it would be a fun idea to have an anorak paired with a bib because it’s unique.” Of course, the details were highly considered: large front pocketing, a hood that would fit over a helmet easily and comfortably, and the ability to pair well with the pants, “So you can unzip the zipper on the anorak and still access the pockets on the bib,” she adds.
“Working with Burton, they trust their riders so much in terms of how we think through product development, that it’s really teamwork,” Kimmy extolls about the development process. “The designers know what’s going to sell and how certain pockets work and how the consumer responds to certain designs. And as a rider, I know what I want and I know what works well in the mountains and what works in all types of crazy weather. Combining the two, it makes the most technical, tested, and reliable product.”
The 3L Kimmy Bib was a hit right off the bat. “The versatility of having a bib can translate to the deepest winter, but it also can work riding groomers on a slushy day,” Fasani adds. “It goes all the way across the board and becomes part of the quiver of how you wear clothes.” Watching the consumer response, along with time spent in the gear by Kimmy and the Burton crew, led to the addition of the 2L Bib to the collection, which has light insulation, along with the 2L Stretch Jacket, which is a standard full-zip, offering different options in warmth, style, and function, while retaining the performance ethos of the AK Collection. “The 2L Bib originated from seeing the demand and then being able to meet the demand with the feedback. And that really, again, stands with what Burton has always done as a company. As a brand and as a team, together we really try to move the needle and develop things that the consumers want.”
When it comes to color and design, that too is a collaborative process. It happens in stages. Initial colors are decided, then applied to specific products across Burton’s entire softgoods line. “It’s a collective effort of feedback,” says Kimmy. In recent seasons, as in the newest pieces, bright colors and bold blocking are a big part of the collection. “As much as I love neutrals,” she continues, “if I’m out in the mountains, I like people to be able to see me. Not just for filming’s sake, but for safety as well. I think Burton does a great job at blending that technical necessity of color with trends in hue and how we would naturally wear these pops of brights.”
With gear that has stood the test of time for multiple seasons as a favorite of consumers, the balance between evolving the product and retaining its core is important. “I’m really cognizant of that,” Kimmy says. “Because it’s really easy to follow trend, but it’s also really important to stay with what works, especially when you’re in the mountains. I want somebody who bought the bib a few years ago to buy it again now knowing that the reliability is still there, not having to learn to trust a new product.”
As a professional snowboarder, a mother, an advocate for causes she believes in, and a mentor who has always been devoted to raising up those around her, deliberately creating outerwear with Burton is yet another way that the Mammoth Mountain local imparts her care and impact into snowboarding. “Being able to buy this gear and trust that it was designed for women by a team of women who really have the experience in the mountains—I think it that’s number one,” she articulates.
“If you are buying this outerwear, you know I’ve tested it. You know the team has tested it. That speaks volumes and being able to be a small part of that in this community, I’m always humbled by seeing how many people are wearing it out on the mountain. And it goes for snowboards, as well. I want women to know that when they buy something that’s vetted by me, it’s because I am doing everything I can to make sure that women have the products that they need to experience the mountains in the most positive way they can.”
Considering Kimmy’s dedication to snowboarding, both for herself and for the collective, that’s no small statement, a devout sensibility that is imbued into the very fabric of everything Kimmy creates.
Pick up Kimmy’s AK Collection from evo!