Compass: Charting the Evolution of Outdoor Gear

Phoenix History

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Clothing and tent production began on Amble Industrial Estate, as Phoenix Mountaineering

Directors were Alan Waugh, Ken Rawlinson (who'd all previously worked for Ultimate Equipment) and Pam Sandford (ex-Karrimor)

starts off with hillwalking and mountaineering tents, before adding Gore-tex clothing


Later add range of Gore-tex tents

tent range has names mostly beginning with 'Ph', derived from brand name Phoenix,

soon has first fully taped seam tent collection in Britain

transverse hoop tents like the Phreerunner and Phreebooter win design and outdoor awards

sponsors British Alpine and Freestyle Teams with ski uniforms

company eventually grows to 150 staff


receive inaugural Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild's Golden Boot Award at the Camping and Outdoor Leisure Association Show


Phoenix operations taken over by Karrimor


company had reduced in size by 90% and production mostly offshore


Directors form Omega Outdoor, which opens 200 yards down the road from old Phoenix factory

focuses on British manufactured industrial sales (police, military, television, ski schools, etc), rather than retail


supply Odyssey tent to the BBC TV series, The Leisure Hour

make uniforms for the British Winter Olympics Team, which the began for the Calgary games in 1988


Omega supplies clothing for officials in the Tour de France bicycle race

also supply clothing for Pierce Brosnan's role as James Bond 007 in the movie The World is Not Enough


Omega make outdoor shellwear for skiers and snowboarders from Sympatex waterproof breathable fabric

begin customer direct sales of outdoor shellwear made from three layer, polyester faced, Sympatex fabric

about this time the Phoenix brand, bought by Karrimor, is sold to the AMG group of companies. Name later used for a line of ski gloves


Omega Outdoor Ltd is closed with the loss of 50 jobs, due to poor sales resulting from the UK's Foot & Mouth outbreaks

Omega Performance Clothing is established under auspices of new Scottish parent company WeatherMac


Omega Outdoor Agencies founded by Alan Waugh and Pam Sandford, as an independent outdoor design consultancy

team up with with the Shark Group and their Northumberland factory

Shark Group were said to be capable of short and medium sized production runs of technical clothing but longer runs sourced offshore.

Alan Waugh is the exclusive sales agent for Shark Corporate and Pam operates as the design consultant.


Pam Sandford joins fishing tackle manufacturer Hardy and Greys in Alnwick, Northumberland

work in progress. more coming in due course.

Phoenix now (ski gloves only)