Let’s set the scene: A snowy runway weaving through towering trees with a backdrop of St. Moritz’s glamorous mountains. A display of winter wear at its finest. A three-time Olympic gold medalist sitting amidst the array of spectators. Yeah, seems pretty unreal if you ask me.
Except no one is asking me. In fact, I’m asking Shaun White, a few days after Moncler Grenoble’s fall/winter 2024 show, about what it felt like to witness this. “Moncler is a very unique brand, and they always do some type of experience, so they didn’t disappoint,” the snowboarder tells me. “Obviously the clothes were amazing, and it was especially amazing to see somebody take on this technical space and add the fashionable component to it. It’s about time.”
The athlete’s own brand Whitespace made its collaboration debut in the show, an artfully threaded extension of Moncler’s focus on performance. “I had been in talks with Moncler since the pandemic, and we finally found ourselves in a position where I was making really great snowboards, and they wanted to get into more technical outerwear with the Grenoble line. It’s a perfect symmetry because Whitespace definitely aligns with Moncler’s fashion-meets-function ideals.” He goes on to add, “I feel like we could give them some credibility in the performance space, and they could give us some cool cred in the fashion world.”
On his layover back from Switzerland to the States, I caught up with the Olympian about everything on and beyond the slopes. We’re talking Moncler and more, baby.
It was an amazing group of people, amazing weather, you know a real Swiss vibe. We definitely had our fondue on the mountainside. Moncler really rolls out the red carpet. I thought that the fashion show was incredible, a visual and audio experience. We put these headphones on, walked through the forest with lights, and we would stop at these stations for hot drinks as we made our way up, and then they started the show which was really, really special. So when I’m watching the show, I’m definitely like, “Oh, could I ride in that?” Maybe the shearling boots, not so much, but I’ll definitely notice how they take, like, technical piping or venting systems and use them in the design. I didn’t think that you could hide your chest pockets. Obviously, having my own brand makes me constantly take notes of a lot of different brands, Moncler especially.
While Whitespace is obviously a play on my last name, the meaning of "whitespace" is a gap on the market. It’s a void waiting for something new, a blank canvas. I always loved the outdoors, and snowboarding itself, specifically because it's one of the only sports where you can really invent a new trick and become the best in the world. It’s a blank canvas. It's how you do it. It's your style, your creativity that pushes you, more than just the technical aspects of the sport. There’s a lot of fun things through running the company that I enjoy—especially as I’ve taken a new role in my career—but I love helping some of the younger riders with the product. I definitely feel like the proud dad on Instagram watching our riders get out there and crush records. There’s a young kid named Ian [Matteoli] who just broke the world record for biggest spin on one of our boards. I was like, “No way.”
I had superstitions when I was competing. I'd have these little things that I would do. I'd have to take a bath, and then take the hotel stationery, and write out my run, while listening to a specific song, for it to come true. By the end of the season, I would have a stack of all my runs. One day, I came back to the hotel and all my stuff was packed up. I was like, “Wow, is the housekeeping really going the extra mile or do they want me out?” I was talking about it that night at dinner. My mom was like, “Oh no, I did that.” I was like, “What?” She says, “Yeah. I don't know, I just had a thing where if I pack your bag you're going to be safe.” And I won. So then I had to pack my bag up before every competition.
It’s a mix. It’s definitely starting to go toward more of a—I don't know what you'd call it—but a luxury-comfort look. Baggy is doing its thing again, which is fun. I have some favorites that I wear, but I mostly like the kind of gear that I can travel in but also go to dinner. I love to get dressed up and go to events, so it’s either that cruise-y, elevated loungewear or I’m rocking suits going to events.
If Not a Snowboarder, Then…
I would be doing something in the creative space. If I’m snowboarding, I’m trying to create new tricks. If I’m working with a brand, I’m trying to create new products. If I’m with friends, I’m helping them redecorate their house. It’s so funny, but when people come over, I light the candles, bring out the blankets. So maybe I’d do something with hotels or hosting or entertaining. Something like that.
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