Industry News 4/17/2012

B$Z: FUEL Clothing Celebrates 20th Anniversary

FUEL Clothing Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Original Founders of Fuel Clothing Circle Back and Collaborate

Twenty years ago, former pro skateboarder Buster Halterman and former pro snowboarder Shane Gould founded Fuel Clothing (Fuel) from an 18-acre farm in Pennsylvania.  The owners moved the company to its existing headquarters on Hilton Head Island, SC and worked together for over three years until Halterman went on to pursue his own path in the action sports industry.  Since 1995, Gould has carried the Fuel torch and continued to build the brand with success.  Now, 20 years later, Buster and Shane remain friends laughing at the fact that they are still in the fuel business…but just in slightly different ways.  Today they celebrate Fuel’s anniversary along with their continued passion for fuel, and what it represents.

On April 16, 1992 the partners threw themselves in to the fire of the clothing industry to create a skate, snow, surf lifestyle brand with a positive attitude and image. “Fuel was founded on the principles of the word itself”, says Buster. “It was about getting fired up, aggression, inspiration, motivation and passion for what we were about. We tried to express that in our designs, graphics and branding overall”. The company’s simple Fuel Coffee Cup, Utterly Fuel (milk) and Heart graphics spoke for themselves. Their asymmetrically cut yokes on the Aztec printed flannel and fleece made from recycled plastics were ahead of their time. However, since those early days, the company has come a long way.

“It has taken 20 years of perseverance to keep things burning over here,” Shane says. I don’t’ see perseverance ever leaving the business, but because of it, the original dream did come to fruition…even all the way to the Fuel Station retail store that I built here on the Hilton Head.”

So here’s the irony of it all. In 2009, Buster stepped away from the action sports industry and founded Buster Biofuels LLC. Toward the end of his skate and business career in action sports, Buster became a backyard biodiesel enthusiast who quickly got the bug for creating a business with a meaningful mission to RECLAIM, RECYCLE and REFUEL. The company is built on similar values as Fuel Clothing, and also shares the dream of having a fuel station someday, or at least having a brand presence at fuel stations.

“Shane and I have kept in touch over the years.” Says Buster, “And when we realized that it was the 20th year anniversary of Fuel we felt it would be a good time to reminisce on the old days, celebrate and collaborate on the fuel marketing front. So, we’re ripping off one of Shane’s graphics…hahaha.”

Fuel’s fuel gauge graphic will be adapted in to a limited edition Buster Biofuels t-shirt that Fuel Clothing will be producing. “I think it is very fitting that we’ve circled back 20 years later to collaborate on something simple.” Says Gould. “Now Buster Biofuels can have high end T’s for his team and promotions, and our FUEL labels can be the supporting brand behind it all.”

The old partners hope this leads to further collaboration in the form of clothing, accessories and marketing efforts down the line. But for now, lets be stoked that Fuel Clothing has survived the crazy roller coaster ride of an economy that was filled with fierce lawsuits from Fuel TV and cease and desist orders from Diesel clothing and Sunoco (no kidding! Shouldn’t they have been after Buster Biofuels instead?). Nonetheless, Fuel Clothing prevailed.

Happy 20th year anniversary to Fuel Clothing. Keep fueling the fire.

Fuel has been supplying the action and motorsports industry world-wide with quality clothing and accessories since 1992. The Biggest Little Company in America has remained consistent with our core image in a time of overblown commercialism and the blatant exploitation of the industry. Fuel makes innovative clothing & accessories that incorporate basic as well as cutting edge concepts, appealing to anyone that Fuels the fire everyday. The company has always been a company of riders and a team approach to clothing design to ensure that the fit will assist customers in the action sport of their choice.

Buster Biofuels LLC was founded in 2009 with a mission that can be summed up in three words – RECLAIM, RECYCLE, REFUEL. Based in Escondido, California, the company services the used cooking oil collection needs of restaurants all over San Diego CA, including large clients like the San Diego Padres, Legoland California, La Costa Resorts, etc.  Also, the company has initiated pilot biofuel programs by delivering biofuel to several company fleets including the San Dieguito Union High School District and Cannon Pacific (the largest street sweeper in San Diego).  Currently, the company poised well for grant funding from the California Energy Commission this summer and hopes to have their in-house biorefinery online by Q4 2013.