Valeria Colturi

Valeria Colturi:
athlete and designer from Bormio.

My name is Valeria, I was born and raised in the heart of the Italian Alps: Bormio, a famous ski resort that often hosts stages of the Alpine Ski World Cup.

As a young woman, I was in love with two things: designing clothes and competing in mountain sports. From the beginning, I set myself ambitious goals and tried to reach the highest levels on both fronts. During my high school years, I won the Italian Junior Cross-Country Skiing Championships and I started creating technical mountain clothing for my friends and myself.

I salvaged stretchy and colourful fabrics to create more comfortable trousers or warmer tops. I started to use prints and colours that, by then, were unseen in the world of mountain sports. 

Who decided that the garments we wear in the mountains have to look so sad?

Soon I was faced with a difficult choice: continuing practising sports or following my passion for sportswear and becoming a designer? 

Well, if I am here now to talk about it, it is because I chose the latter. I decided to combine my passion and understanding of sports with what I knew and loved about fashion to create sportwear able to assure performance, great fit and style.

My first Atelier

Towards the end of the eighties, the choices available to mountain enthusiasts were extremely limited: few types of garments without specific technology, designed for general use. There was no Research & Development, there was no innovation. Clothing was cold, uncomfortable, bulky and very boring.

At the age of 20, I opened my workshop in the historic centre of Bormio. There I began to create new, customized solutions able to meet the needs of different mountain sports and disciplines. Word spread quickly among athletes and sportspeople: among my first clients there were a number of elite athletes from mountain sports - such as Alberto Tomba and Deborah Compagnoni. They turned to me to modify their outfits, always so uncomfortable and inconvenient, or to share their ideas and needs, for me to create new and innovative products.

In a short time, my boutique became the go-to place for any athlete looking for something different from the narrow choice available on the market, or even just for some bright colour or crazy design!

I focussed on using the right materials with the right stretch, meticulously designed to perform well, and on combining all of this with style and colour. And every day I kept experimenting with new ideas, inventing and creating solutions alongside the greatest athletes of the time. I felt like I was living in a dream!

The first ski mountaineering suit

Those were the years the very first ski mountaineering competitions began: a sport that combined the fitness aspect I knew from cross-country skiing, the adrenaline of the descent, the technical component of mountaineering and the exploration of remote and wonderful places. It was love at first sight. 

These unique and extreme competitions required innovative technical solutions for clothing and equipment. Clothing-wise, light weight, breathability and warmth were essential, but there was nothing that could properly meet these requirements.

Among the sportspeople I had the opportunity to work with, two in particular presented me with a unique challenge. Fabio Meraldi and Adriano Greco were at the time outperforming their competition, but they still had problems with their clothing. The athletes would race wearing tracksuits, cross-country skiing suits, mountaineering trousers and really anything that could help them against the cold.

It was 1989 when I set to work to design the first one-piece ski mountaineering suit in the world. That meant a huge innovation in shape, details and fit. Its innovative technical design, the style and the colours were really crazy!

Within a couple of years, I created trousers, jackets and vests designed specifically for ski mountaineering. And a whole line of products needed a name. I chose 'Crazy', the first sportwear brand dedicated solely to this sport. 

The original fast & light mountain clothing

And with Crazy, I immediately get on with dressing all champions and sport clubs involved in ski mountaineering. As the sport grew, Crazy grew with it.

The ongoing exposure to athletes and their needs, combined with my continuous experimenting and my personal experience in the mountains, led me to an intuition.

Looking around I came to realize that, while the clothing used by athletes for racing had been completely revolutionized in a few years, the products worn by everyday enthusiasts had remained almost unchanged. Fabrics with no stretch and no technology and, above all.. No colours!

So, I got to work right away. Learning from racing - the world I have known so closely - and from the athletes' needs, I began to innovate mountain clothing too. I realized that the same improvements that were so sought-after by athletes to enhance their performance could trickle down and benefit the products used by all enthusiasts too.

I chose stretchy fabrics and designed a more athletic fit. I reduced the weight to the minimum, removing everything not needed, and of course I created bright and colourful garments. All of this to allow my customers to enjoy an efficient mountain experience, fast-paced and lightweight.. That is, in pure Fast and Light style!

Crazy Today

In the following decades, until today, I have carried on researching and innovating, to present the market with increasingly cutting-edge technical solutions, such as flat seams, the first fully stretch jacket - in 2013 - or the lightest jacket in the world - in 2021. 

In recent years, many companies have followed the same path. 'Fast and light' clothing shaped into the evolution of mountain clothing throughout Europe. Throughout the Alps and in all outdoor gear shops, baggy trousers full of pockets, stiff and heavy jackets - as much as wool sweaters, - have been replaced by performing and comfortable stretch clothing. 

Seeing my Crazy exhibiting at international trade shows and in more than 400 stores around the world makes me think back to my childhood dreams, when I couldn't even imagine all of this. I am proud that over the years so many other companies have followed the same path and made better clothing so popular all over the world. Although, for some reason, they just can't get over this dull and boring colours thing ;)