Back to News

Mike's Mash | November 2010

November 30, 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!

The Winter Collection 2010-2011
November 30, 2010 

Winter has arrived with a majority of resorts across the nation opening up. Hell, this morning the water bottle I left in my car had a top layer of frost. Mind you it was in the 80’s last week, however I’m not complaining.

It’s the start of a very busy winter season for us as we’re in full marketing and reorder mode, while the rest of us are preparing for the upcoming selling season for next year. To kick things off, check out some looks for what's out in stockists now. One of my personal favorites, the Original M-65, the 686 way.


Leather and Linen have never looked better- The Kinetic Glove.


The one and only Council Jacket. Some more looks from the guys.



Our female specific products have been designed, developed and engineered by women for women.


The Women’s Class Down Jacket in Plum.


The most popular jacket in the women’s line up- The Luster Jacket.


Look closer.


Somewhere Between Here and There
November 29, 2010 

Just when we recently had one of the best Thanksgiving winter opening weekends, I somehow get taken away to somewhere between here and there. All I can say is that it involved 80 degree weather, rice and beans and no civilization in sight.








Aisle Seat
November 24, 2010

'Tis the season and I’m off somewhere for more crazy adventures that will lead to no sleep, lots of work, interesting foods, more work and everything else in between. Stay tuned...


The Eagle Has Landed
November 23, 2010 

I’ve been a Land Rover fanatic for some time. I’m sure you’ve heard of all the sayings that “they have a mind of their own.” The truth is that “they do.” I can tell you stories for ages, but instead of boring you, I’d rather show you what just dropped down this past week. Introducing their newest model which is based upon the LRX concept of 2009, the Range Rover Evoque. It will be Land Rovers smallest, lightest and most eco-friendliest Rover to date.







Welcome to Season Two of New Balance x 686
November 22, 2010 

There are days I feel like my head's going to pop with the overload of info coming in and out. I ask myself, “Why the hell am I putting my body and mind through all this?” Then I answer back to myself, “Cuz I love it!” Kinda weird, but realistically I’m drawn to all things that are unique and most of all challenging. A few years ago, I came up with the idea of bringing the performance nature of running into the functional realm of snowboarding. This crazy idea eventually led to teaming up with the best footwear company in running in the world, New Balance. I wanted to not only have it work well, but it had to look just as good. Fit, function and superior workmanship are in the veins of New Balance as with what we do at 686. The final result is a compelling collection that utilizes our core competencies in product design and development. Enjoy.

Introducing the world famous 580. The boot and sneaker is equipped with everything you need on or off the mountain.


Take a closer look at the boots.





Now the sneakers.




The 790 which was originally inspired by NB’s first basketball shoe in the 80’s by James Worthy... in sneakers or boots.









and a little bit of something in between.



Tone on Tone
November 19, 2010 

The science of mathematics have always played an important role into the origins of 686. I think its partly why I’ve always gravitated towards square, geometric figures. From the early days of colorblocking to the new days of colorblocking there will always be reinventions of why clean lines can be used in the most interesting ways.

Parisian architect firm, Pascal Grasso, applies this example towards Stella K’s latest showroom on the famous Avenue des Champs-Elysees. The challenge- what do you do with a long hallway that extends over 100 feet and still make it interesting enough to go back and forth on. The answer- use geometry and tonal materials to create a functional, fascinating play on volume, lighting, storage, merchandising and fun. Although I have something like this made out of various wood textures at my pad, it doesn’t come close to what Grasso has done below. All pics by Nicolas Dorval.








M and Mmmm
November 18, 2010 

I’m a dessert fiend to the day I die. Whenever I go out to dinner and check out the menu, I immediately look towards the back to see how “serious” they are with their sweets. Just like going into a fine dining establishment, you can tell a lot about a restaurant on what type of wines they have to offer, I can do the same with sweets. Since I’m a sucker for this type of stuff, anytime we get submissions that has to do with chocolate, peeps in the office immediately send it my way.

Here’s one example of some dude in Europe spending too much time playing with his M and M’s, the 686 way.


She Doesn’t Talk Back to Me
November 17, 2010 

It’s given that I avoid including anything “personal” or give a reason for heads to "look at me,” in any of my Mash Ups, however, I’ll take one step outside this box and say that I don’t agree with this. Now, let me explain what the hell I’m talking about. Over the years, there’s been a steady rise of “artificial substitute interaction,” e.g. dolls, robots, made up figures that are used to replace human form. While I don’t necessarily have an issue with having another form of “friendship” in place of the real thing in moderation, I believe that these “forms” might eventually lead to something we’re not yet ready for. (Yes I’ve been watching a few too many movies.)

Either way, it's interesting to see how far technology has and will take all of us. A few years ago, the Japanese proved this their way. (One last thing, I personally like it when my girl talks back to me...)

All I Wanted Was A Pepsi
November 16, 2010 

Y’all know that everything we design here has a meaning and is a direct inspiration of where we came from. You probably also know that skateboarding was my life during the mid 80’s to early 90’s. Although Pier Ave., Valley School, Beryl Banks in Hermosa/Redondo were my stomping grounds, the Pavilion in Venice is where I fiend to go every week. One part because all my skateboarding hero’s were there and the other part because it was hella raw. Making sure you were with the “right” crew was the first step, the next making sure that crew was from Venice. Since we were covered on both ends, it was good, but during those times, it was history in the making every day. The shit you only read about in the mags, listen to on the radio or watch on the big screen, I was there living it during my young rebellious teen years. A huge part of this “coming of age” for me was the music scene I witnessed first-hand. One prime example is the group Suicidal Tendencies, who originated from Venice and specialized in vicious hardcore early on, lending a major hand in the creation of “skatepunk” before transitioning into punk and thrash metal. In the mid 80’s ST became the best-selling hardcore album of its time with songs like “Possessed to Skate.”

And of course, “All I Wanted Was A Pepsi” will go down in history as the originators of the skatepunk era. (Check out Nata, Gator and Steadham in the vid.)

On the dawn of our 18th anniversary in biz, we’ve teamed up with ST lead man Mike Muir and introducing the limited edition “Suicidal Tendencies x 686 collection.” The collaboration between 686 and ST features original artwork from ST albums throughout the garments plus ST-centric detailing on the sleeves and hood. The jacket is 100% poly herringbone denim and nylon oxford, making it a unique mix of technical fabrication and innovative styling. The ST x 686 collection is made up of the 10,000MM/8,000 gm waterproof/breathable snowboarding jacket plus accompanying tees, hoodies and a New Era® hat.

In the tried and true words of lead singer and founding ST member, Mike Muir, “All you wanted was a bad ass Suicidal/686 partnership, and now it’s your last chance to get it!”

The 686 and ST collaboration is available in stores across the world. Check below to see Muir wearing his XXL jacket, then check here to see if we still have any left.

Introducing Mr. Ron English
November 15, 2010 

Besides barely making it home last night due to almost falling asleep at the wheel (not good), it was still worth the drive over to Orange Coast College for the opening of Ron English’s touring Status Factory show.


I’ve been a fan of his works for a long time, but never actually went to one of his shows. Take my word, everything is better up front and live. My friends from Garage Works, (Leading toy production/design house in charge of Ron’s figures), were in town so of course I’m gonna be there. Instead of me explaining Mr. English’s work, check the below and see for yourself why some view him as the modern day Warhol.


















Hint hint... coming soon via Ron English x ?


November 12, 2010
686 Day

We were born exactly 18 years ago to date. To help celebrate, we officially started “686 day” a few years ago. This year we’re bringing it global and extending it over the weekend. Check out the participating stockists and get free stuff! It only happens once a year, so go at it.







BC Surf and Sport, Lonetree

BC Surf and Sport, Broomfield

BC Surf and Sport, Boulder



Ambush Boarding Co., Kennesaw


New Hampshire

Snowboard Jones, Manchester

NOTB Snowboards, Salem

Putnam’s Ski and Snowboard, Portsmouth



Powder and Sun, Las Vegas


New York

Sundown Ski and Surf, Levittown

Sno-Haus Ski Shop, Huntington


North Carolina

Vertical Urge, Raleigh


Northern California

Boards N Motion, Auburn

Ground Zero, Sacramento

Ground Zero, Davis

Wave Rave Snowboard Shop, Mammoth Lakes



US Outdoor Store, Portland

Berg’s Snowboard Shop, Eugene

Hillcrest Snowboards, Gresham



The Ski Corner, Scranton



Alpine Ski Shop, Sterling


Southern California

Leroy’s, Redlands



Moda 3, Milwaukee

Moda 3, Delafield

Les Moise Inc., Milwaukee

Les Moise Inc., Brookfield





Rude Boys, Banff


British Columbia

Boardroom, North Vancouver

Pacific Boarder, Vancouver



Sporting Life Bike Store, Tornoto

Hogtown, Toronto

Tommy & Lefebvre - Bank Street, Ottawa



Empire, Boucherville

La Vie Sportive, Quebec

S3 Boardshop, Trois-Rivieres 




Teneighty, Dornbirn

Teneighty, Schrunz

Moreboards Innsbruck

Blue Tomato, Vienna

Fame, Vienna

Hang Loose, Vienna

Intersport XL (Teneighty), Rankweil




Patrisport, Waterloo

Harry Beaver, Antwerp




Hawaii Surf, Ivry (Paris)

Addicted, Lyon

La Glisse, Grenoble

Tam Tam, Nimes

Gliss Attitude, Marseille

No Limit, Saint Laurent du Var

All Bros, Toulouse

Sports Aventure, Bordeaux

Snowproblemo, Saint Lary




Extreme, Kaufbeuren

Sport Schuster, Munich

Der Berg Ruft, Berlin

Burnside, Heilbronn

Team Sportiv, Kirchheim

Sport Schwab, Winterbach




Duijvestein, Zoetermeer

Duijvestein, Landgraff




SS20, Oxford

Edgeriders, Hove

Ocean Sports, Ipswich

Everlasting Bass
November 11, 2010 

During the late 80’s to the early 90’s, the West was king for Hip Hop and Rap. Being born and raised in L.A., I was exposed a genre of all things rap. From going to house parties on Firmona Street in Inglewood and seeing Ice T play, to copping my mixed tapes at the Roadium Swap Meet on Crenshaw, shit was live and in full effect. A lot of heads only familiarize the likes of Ice T, NWA and Snoop as the leaders of the West. However, there were countless others that made the Left Coast and especially L.A. the OG of rap. One such group that I personally was into was Rodney O and Joe Cooley. Songs like “Three the Hard Way” and “F New York” were international hits, but for me, “Everlasting Bass” was the hook that made all the difference. Click below and see how catchy this jam is 20+ years later.

Da Vinci Today
November 10, 2010 

Leonardo da Vinci was a jack of all trades: an architect, painter, sculptor, scientist, musician and about a dozen other trades. There hasn’t been someone like this for quite some time, at least in today’s world. Ex snowboard legend turned cinema maker turned artist turned furniture designer, Dave Seoane may just be that person. Check below and you decide.

Flashstance the build from Seoane on Vimeo.

686 Winter Collection Preview-Women’s Reserved® Jackets
November 9, 2010 

Of the 18 years we’ve been in biz, 16 of those years we’ve been slangin' women’s outerwear. In addition, 40% of our office is represented by females. I think this gives enough of a reason that I should be mashing more stuff for the ladies. Sorry for the lag, but in the meanwhile check the preview of our Reserved® line of jackets made by and for women.

Women’s Reserved® Class Down Jacket


Women’s Reserved® Ballad Jacket


Women’s Reserved® Luster Jacket


Women’s Reserved® Quartz Jacket


November 8, 2010 

Sometimes it takes a huge reality check to make you realize that we’re all vulnerable. Vulnerable to making mistakes, getting sick and in the end, passing away. Last week there were a lot of announcements, but none so big in the surf world than 3-time world champion surfer, Andy Irons, who passed away unexpectedly from Dengue Fever.

Rest in Peace Andy

Black, No Sugar, No Cream
November 4, 2010 

When I used to drink coffee ages ago, it was always straight up. I didn’t mess with all the extras, as I wanted to make it count. From what use to be a no frills, get your daily dose caffeine and donut fix, to a $100 billion industry, it only makes sense that what you drink is only part of the experience. Leave it to Manhattan based design firm, Nemaworkshop to create a one-of-a-kind playful approach to D’Espresso, further differentiating it from the thousands of coffee shops in NY.

Nema was inspired from the local Bryant parks library and decided to do what else? Turn it on its side.


Contrary to traditional thought, the walls are not lined with books. Rather the floors and ceilings are with hanging lights also coming from the walls, not the ceiling. To further push the illusion the books are photo realistically printed on the tiles.


Makes me want to start drinking coffee again.


Bring the Noise
November 3, 2010 

1987 was a good year for one of my all time favorite groups, Public Enemy. It was a year before they released their epic album, “It takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back,” and a time when doing things out of the box wasn’t done. Collab joints today are a dime a dozen, but back then when one of the hardest, most political rap groups of all time does something with thrash metal band, Anthrax, it was history in the making.

Check Ian and Chuck D bring the noise

Fall 2010
November 3, 2010 

Introducing our Fall 2010 Collection titled “Crossing Terrains.” Check out the preview video and pics below. Enjoy.

686 Technical Apparel - Fall 2010 "Crossing Terrains" from RUANO+BROK on Vimeo.

Grant Softshell and the NB 686-790 Sneaker


Number New Era Hat and Union T


Parallel Knit Sweater and Outsider Beanie


Union T


Grant Softshell


Sonar Herringbone Softshell


Regulate Travel Pack


Sabotage Knit Sweater and Imperial Pack


Do Work
November 2, 2010

The Winter season is around the corner, but since we’re 1-1/2 years ahead of schedule, we’re currently laying out next year’s line and in the midst of completing our monstrosity of a catalog. Today, we had global Faction riders Louie and Forest do some “handsome boy modeling school” work. I can’t show you the actual “work” yet, but I can show you what we did in preparation for the long day.

Step One- Check out if Louie’s new Tony Hawk Shred game is out.


Step Two- Order the Tower of Rings.


Step Three- I order the Ahi Salad (yeah, I’m a wuss).


Step Four- Louie orders the Avocado Burger, hold the cheese (crazy what your trainer will make you do).


Step Five- Forest orders everything and then some (dude looks pretty happy for something).


Step Six- Cheers now let’s do work!


Something new is coming… (I wonder why the goggle strap matches the hood lining?)


Chalk One More Down
November 1, 2010 

I admit it, it takes a lot for me to head out to nightly gigs lately. I think it's because I travel way too much. When I’m actually home, I like to chill and catch up on “other” things. Living in L.A., there’s no shortage of things to do or people to see, but as I grow older, I think I’m getting more stubborn on how I spend my time. Shit, sounds crappy, but it’s the truth.

However, when it comes to supporting my friends initiatives, it’s a good reason to head out. Over the weekend, my homies from Undefeated and K-Swiss hosted a gig promoting their new joint, Deuce. Check the La Brea landmark from afar.


Calbi vs. Kogi






“Everyday Jupiter is hustlin'.”


Undefeated x K-Swiss x Japan = Deuce


Big ups to the Undefeated design mastermind and fellow Hypebeast contributor, KB.


View Previous Post & Comments:
October 2010
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