Mark Francis, Browning’s apparel manager, is set to hang up his scissors after 45 years.
Francis was first hired by Browning in 1971 while he was still in college. His first assignment was working as a chauffeur and go-fer for company president Val Browning, the eldest son of company founder John M. Browning. Over the years Francis worked his way up the ranks, eventually moving into product management for outdoor clothing just as sourcing was headed overseas.
“Browning has been very good to me. I was a kid, wet behind the ears, and they let me grow at my own pace.”
“Being young and naïve, I said, ‘I’ll do that,’ not knowing what I had gotten myself into,” says Francis in the recent SHOT Business interview. “Browning has been very good to me. I was a kid, wet behind the ears, and they let me grow at my own pace. I did all kinds of things in product development, but I always had my eye on apparel, as I liked that category. It’s been a lot of fun, with a lot of challenges and a few successes.”
According to SHOT Business, Francis’ successes mark some of the most important advancements for hunters, including Browning Hydro-Fleece, without question the first waterproof, breathable rainwear that was also quiet. It was a game-changer in the way hunters could stay protected and concealed in any weather conditions.
According to Draper, Francis also created Browning’s down program, working to adapt the traditional insulation for modern hunters. More recently, Francis and Browning introduced hunters to next-generation synthetic insulations, and he was among the first apparel designers to build Primaloft into hunting clothing. His latest effort is the Speed line of active outdoor wear, designed for the backcountry athlete and high-activity aerobic hunter, which will be a major multi-product at the 2016 SHOT Show.
If you’d like to read the entire David Draper interview in SHOT Business, visit http://www.shotbusiness.com/the-man-behind-the-camo-clothing-revolution/
You can also see the some of the best results of Francis’ extensive clothing design career just by visiting the Browning huntingwear sections of this website.