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Mike's Mash | October 2010

October 29, 2010

Mike's Mash Up
Michael Akira West is the Owner and Creative Director of 686 Technical Apparel. The following are some of his experiences inside and out of the industry across the globe.  *Add Comments at Bottom of Page!

I’m Feeling So Fly, Like a…
October 29, 2010

…G6. Just before I get on my own G6 and head back to Cali, I gotta give big ups to my homies Kev, Proh, Virman and J for doin' what they do. DTLA and FM in the house.

Mark my words, this is only the beginning for FM.

Very All Over the Place…
October 28, 2010 

The last chapter of my short stay in Asia always has to do with things that are “very” all over the place. My agenda coming here is to get work done as efficiently as possible, but more importantly get the face time with some VIP’s that will continually help push my crazy ideas forward. If you know an inkling of my work ethic, you know it has to be the best and I’ll do what it takes to make sure shit gets done right the first time. It’s never a “me” scenario but always a “we” effort as there’s a lot of people behind the scenes that make it all come together. I’m truly appreciative that we have an incredible team- big ups!

Now going back to what I was telling you earlier, the very all over the place things make up a huge part of doing biz outside the states. I can tell you I still don’t get it, but I do. I go with it, but I’d rather not. I smile, but I’d rather be home sleeping. Speaking of smiling, next time you see these little things they call betel nuts...


and you hear about the betel nut beauties, think twice and try to avoid making your mouth eventually look like this.


Why don’t they do this at home?


Work still continues at night with my suppliers showing me new texture fabrications over lots of snacks, beverages and other people who are paid to sit and pour drinks for you. Yup, different…


No pics here.


“High fives” and “I love you man” ensues, all the while I’m ready to crash and head back home in 2-1/2 hours. Peace out!


Very Interesting
October 27, 2010 

As with most of the things I’m drawn to, the “very interesting” things fascinate me the most. Let's start with a few and you decide for yourself. KFC kills it in Asia. No other Western food business is as popular as KFC in Asia. Besides the fact that people here love chicken, they're able to adapt and offer other great things most Americans have trouble understanding. I suppose the Colonel didn’t have this planned when he started his biz.


As many times as I’ve seen these toilets overseas, I cannot get over how dudes actually take care of business this way. I have bad knees so I think I’ll be taking a shower when I get home.


I love different types of food, but presentation is big for me. Maybe I’m trippin', but I think they could have done better at this one.


Or maybe they did the best they could?


Moms x Kids x Smoking = Ugly funny faces.


Very Good!
October 26, 2010 

Continuing my drive-bys in Asia, I think it's best if I summarize the "very good" things during my trip, starting with and ending with FOOOOOOOD!

Step 1


Step 2


Step 3


Step 4


Step 5


Be local, drink local.


Forget the bun, add me some of this.


“Can you please pass me over the American sauce?" "Oh there isn’t any? I’ll take the Chinese sauce instead.”


Snacks done right.


Late night eats are always great when you can hear it sizzzzzle.


Let's start with the end in mind. To get something as tasty as this...


you have to be patient and do this.


And you need the freshest of this.


But really it all comes from this.


The Wild Wild West
October 25, 2010 

If you ask anyone that travels offshore for work, you’ll get a mixed bag of opinions. “It’s a drag... The food sucks... I don’t get enough sleep cuz they make me go out all night and then I have to get up super early to work... They do things different there... I’m fortunate to live in America... Everyone’s cool and not stuck up, like back home... The smoking kills me... The place is about to explode... and the list goes on and on." Over the past 20 or so years traveling to Asia, I probably had a few of these similar thoughts, but in the end, I see it as a land of opportunity, a real live, never the same, always changing Wild Wild West. I typically don’t come this way during October, but duty calls as there were some important issues to get resolved. Since most of it is confidential, I’ll show you a condensed version of my experiences in the land of Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.





and ambulances will get you just about anywhere from Cali to Asia.


When I left L.A., it was raining and when I arrived in Taiwan, it was typhoon season. Let it rain.


I remember going to Sogo in Tokyo and getting the best odangos at the basement level. Let's see if they have them here.


Late night meetings are always good to go over new development- I wonder what this could be?


I’ll give you a hint. It has to do with this secret place (which probably doesn’t make sense to you, unless you’ve been here before).


Here We Go Again
October 22, 2010

I’m off somewhere, but this time I've got my firefighter hat on- stay tuned.


Today, Your Life Begins
October 21, 2010 

Have you ever been sleep deprived, suddenly pass out, get an incredible night of rest, then wake up so energized that you felt you could do anything and everything. Your senses are so aware and acute that the simplest things are f’n incredible that you’re happy to be ALIVE?! Well I have and I think Italian filmmaker Vertrano shows a glimpse of this in his take of the one and only NYC.

Alone in New York from Giuseppe Vetrano on Vimeo.

October 20, 2010 

I’ll be the first one to tell you that I’m not into self-inflicting pain. What I mean is that getting hurt doesn’t get me off. Strange huh? But I guess some people actually like this type of stuff. Cheers to this one dude that disagrees with me.


Winter Men's 2010-2011 Smarty Jackets
October 19, 2010 

I can feel the weather changing from record breaking 110 degree highs last week to the mid 60’s this week. It’s just in time for our Winter Outerwear Releases for the 2010-2011 season. Check out some of our Men's Jackets for our inaugural Smarty collection.

The only 6 in 1 convertible jacket in the world- The Smarty Complete Jacket in Flame Hex.



The Smarty Chart Jacket with jacquard dobby rain patterns in Royal.


The infamous Shadow Jacket in Red.


Our most popular jacket in the Smarty series, the Council in Gunmetal.


Over the Hills and Through the Woods
October 18, 2010

I admit it, I like to hike. Outside all the other things I’m into, I like a challenge and if it involves doing something outside with getting your hands dirty- I’m all in. Believe it or not, there’s some cool spots just outside L.A. Over the weekend, I did a quick 10 mile hike to a place called the Bridge to Nowhere.


Can you believe this is 1 hour from DTLA?


The short hike is perfect for the day and anyone can do it. You run through the whole gamut of streams,


mountains (no I didn’t climb this one),




people trying to dig for gold,


dogs and their booties,


old ladies charging,


of course the famous Bridge to Nowhere


and my buddy Atomic getting drenched in freezing river water.


I’m Not Writing it Down to Remember it Later…
October 15, 2010

"…I’m writing it down to remember it now." I guess this is what Aaron Draplin thought of when he started his little side project called Field Notes. If you don’t know what Field Notes is, you must be living somewhere east of planet earth as it's quickly been the staple from design gurus to ordinary Joes. In an age where everything is electronic or glows in the dark, it’s a breath of fresh air when good design and a great story is paired with a handy writing device. The Original.


The County Box Set.


Eat your heart out, Pantone.


My Agenda
October 14, 2010 

Hello Hollywood.


I paid a visit to Aaron at Agenda in Hollywood to go over some of our future plans to rule the world. J.K., but we did talk about some upcoming things at their January show. Since they're doing their first snowboard specific show, it's fitting that we both work together and make sure shit's done right. The cool thing about Agenda is that they align themselves with good people. Just like what they did with Steve at The Berrics, I‘m confident they’ll create noise with Agenda Snow. Dude is always hustling on a grip of things- nice to see him smile once in a while.


Check out the lift ticket inspired mailers coming your way soon.


You can find us somewhere in here come January.


Free Stuff?
October 13, 2010

It's almost been 2 years since I started this little Mash Up blog thing-a-ma-jig. I wasn’t too tech savvy nor did I check out what everyone else was doing online. Honestly speaking, I didn’t even know what a “blog” was. I accidentally ran into doing this thing when a friend told me that some of my experiences may possibly inspire others to start their own thing. As it still stands today, I like to focus on what I experience, rather than focusing on myself (hence you don’t see my ugly mug in the mashes). What I didn’t realize is that others would actually take the time and check what I mash.

In addition, heads would actually send me free stuff for the sake of promoting their goods. I know it goes on everywhere, but it's not what this is about. Don’t get me wrong, I like free shit, but not when I don’t know you or not into the products to begin with. (Does that sounds bad?)

On the other hand, I absolutely love what certain heads out there are doing. My friend John is working with Monster cable on some top secret deals and he sent a little package my way to check out.


Can’t forget to give big ups to Dre.


Open sesame.


It's all in the packaging.


White on white.


Looks good, but let's see if it actually works. What do you think, Cita?


How about you, Kristin?


I think Micah agrees that all his calls will go smoother than ever now.


Hey look, it also fits with our new beanies.


I don’t know if Mr. Lego man will appreciate it as much as I do (but it looks pretty dope in this colorway).


October 12, 2010 

I get asked a lot what I think is more important- school or experience? To me, there’s no right answer. Having gone through the gauntlet of both worlds, it’s a toss-up as one is more powerful with the other. When I went to undergrad and had little or no experience, I couldn’t apply what I learned to real life situations. Let’s put it this way, I may have known the answers to the test, but I had no idea what the answers meant. When I went to grad school and had work experience, it was totally different. It's like I had a “revelation” of everything making sense.

I think it's one of the motivating factors of me trying to stay involved with students at my alma mater, USC. Today, I paid a visit to the Entrepreneur Center.


I checked in with one of the business professors who helped motivate me on my path, doing what I do. Hello Tom.


Its kinda like a time warp in this place- Check out Tom’s old volleyball company, Club Sportswear (which transitioned to Honolua Surf Company).


Dude, I think I was in this shot-how embarrassing…


We had lunch and caught up on some things. It’s always great catching up, even if the schools still into making you walk to class.


Fight on?


The Thing on Your Back
October 11, 2010 

Our 2010 Fall Collection is in stores now. If you need a place to store all your essentials, check out our latest backpack collection and let me know what you think. Junction in Red.



Imperial in Grey.


Regulate in Black.


It's Raining
October 8, 2010

Well not really… but here’s a submission from a die-hard 686 fan in Europe.


That Place
October 7, 2010 

I must admit, unlike the other two islands, there is no business reason for me to come to this island. However, of all the years heads keep telling me "you have to go to 'that place.'" And I’m like “What place?” Now I finally know why I needed to go visit the island of Kauai. Just like the other Mash, I’ll keep it short. My less than 24 hour stay involved a few things, starting with breakfast at Tip Top.


Yes, get this.


And this...


which all quickly led to an incredible journey to the following places.







And this little place. I only hope to come visit again.


October 6, 2010

Only a few minutes down the way is Maui. I don’t come here as much as I should, but just like most places, when you’re here, it feels damn good. I was so occupied most of the time that I forgot to take pics. I’ll keep it short and sweet. One thing involved something I’d rather not talk about- rollerblading

on the water.


And the other, well….


Look at Me, I’m a Tourist
October 5, 2010

As much as I’ve been here over the past 20 years and even though my local friends call me local, I’m not from here. Although this may change one day, in the meanwhile when I’m with someone that hasn’t been to the islands, they always want me to take them to all the tourist joints. (I don’t even go the tourist places back home!) I guess it is what it is. Today, we’re heading to the North Shore and the first stop from the city is the Aloha Bowl Flea Market. Deals, deals, deals…


I think I’ll pass on the crack this time around.


One disposable trucker hat is what I need for the next few days-even though I suck at Golf.


After the Aloha Bowl, stopping by the shrimp truck is a mandatory thing. Outside L.A.’s food truck scene, I like the easy going one stop shop here and it all started with Giovanni’s.


When Yahoo broadcasts it to the world that it’s a must see, I don’t know if it’s the start of something good or bad. Either way, you can express your thoughts here.


However, it still tasted just as good when no one knew about this joint.


Now I’m getting real touristy with some shaved ice at Matsumoto’s. Always a line 365 days a year.


The secret is somewhere between the red beans, the feather light shaved ice and…


the lychee flavor of goodness.


Speaking of goodness, some people may rival that Waiola trumps Matsumoto's. To me, it’s a win win.


Winding off my short trip to Oahu, I checked in one more time with Todd and Ryan at their ward location.


Isn’t it nice when you walk in and they already have a cold one waiting for you.


Sorry to barge in while you’re working. It's all about the staying on schedule.


I’m a bad influence, huh Todd? Oh well, suk em up bruda.


Locals Only
October 4, 2010 

I have to apologize for lagging on this mash. Most of the time, I’m pretty good about updating my experiences in real time, however, one thing led to another and I got caught up somewhere between working 20 hour days and trying to move our offices back to LA…. Blah, blah, blahhhhaaa. About a month ago, I had an opportunity to visit one of my favorite places on my top 10 list. What better than Hawaii to decompress my popcorn head mentality and see some cool things along the way. I was out about 5 days, but since I’m late, I’ll summarize it in 4 days, aight.

I don’t know what it was, but flights from L.A. were super cheap, so I was able to hit 3 islands in about the same cost of 2 weeks worth of gas at the pump to work (mind you, I drive 2 hours a day to and from work). Howz this for a 6 hour time lapse from the step of my house to the steps of this little area?


D to the H.


If you ever come up to Diamond Head, please come here.


Take a detour and get your legs moving on a short hike up the hill.


This way.


Keep going.




So dope up here.


The cool thing about coming to Hawaii from L.A. is that you gain 3 hours. It's only mid-afternoon and I have the whole day ahead of me. I headed up out of the city and went to Aiea and met up with some friends. For some reason or another, it looks like this every time I’m here.


Cheers Brah.


It's always nice to meet up with the Boyz from In4mation. Super talented dudes with big hearts, always moving forward.


BTW, Jun and Todd grills some mean corn.


Mr. Green
October 1, 2010

When I was growing up in Manhattan Beach, I remember going into this small video rental joint called
Video Archives. Keep in mind this was before Netflix, Blockbuster or anything else we all know today. The idea of a local VHS rental store was the standard. Everytime I went into the store, I would always remember this one quirky dude behind the counter jibber jabbering what he thought about certain movies. If you asked him what he thought, he would give you his 2 cents and then some. Even if you didn’t want his opinion, he would STILL tell you. Man, dude was annoying but knew his shit. Little did I know the dude would become one of the world's prolific film makers. I guess all that yakking paid off for Mr. Quentin Tarantino.

Looking forward,
our Winter 2010-2011 ad and video campaign may pay homage to Tarantino’s classic cult film, the Reservoir Dogs. But one thing is for sure, 686 global rider, Forest’s (aka Mr. Green) mustache is one damn of an awesome thing. See below what “The Set Up” means for Mr. Green.

Just in case Mr. Green tickles your fancy, you can get the Volt Jacket here and be just like him.



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September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010: Part 1
May 2010: Part 2
April 2010: Part 1
April 2010: Part 2
March 2010: Part 1
March 2010: Part 2
February 2010