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Mike's Mash | April 2011

April 29, 2011

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 Landscape
May 2, 2011

Stop looking so hard. The good life is right in front of you. Introducing 686 Spring 2011.

The Landscape from 686 Technical Apparel on Vimeo.

April 29, 2011

Excellent, excellent.

Something’s coming.


On the Go
April 28, 2011 

When heads ask me if I had a choice to start something new, I always tell them it would be in the accessory realm of consumer products. There’s a few surprises in the cue, but for now I’m down to enjoy what others conjure up. My homie Jarod sent me a little something something for my travels on the go. Big ups JD and Incipio.

The trio.


Thin to win.




What the...
April 27, 2011

Growing up, we barely had places to skate on the street, let alone skate parks. Today, a local skate park is a common thing. Places like the Berrics, Windells and Woodward have stepped up the game to a different level. I believe the adoption of formalized places to learn will eventually progress the sport, however, I’m a little unsure what this will do to walking…


Tempest Freerunning Academy from The Cool Hunter on Vimeo.

April 26, 2011 

A few weeks ago, the team headed up to the Northwest corner of Washington State to a place called Bellingham. 686 faction team captain, Pat McCarthy, took charge and popped things into gear. Photogs, sleds, crazy conditions, bluebird days, baker boyz and everything else in between. If you’d like to hear it from Pat’s mouth, check it here.

This is not your local resort.


R & D.






Point it.


I got you-I got you.




Cheers Pat!

The Bender
April 25, 2011

Yes, Coachella was a week ago and yes, I’ve been absent from the Mash since then. My apologies as there were a few unexpected things that came up… I think there’s a reason why I go to Indio only once a year.

If you go next year, don’t park here.


In 1 hour you’ll be standing in a line 12 deep.


Cute, but not really.


Hello Mr. Roboto, please don’t get to excited.


Cha Ching.


Lil B, what?


Besides checking out the vast array of bands- new, old, big or small, a small part of why I’m here is to check out the happenings. People watching at its finest. Indian-Feather motifs, Pineapple paranoia, Toms and Tiny T’s, Peaceful Flower Fluffs in short shorts.


A little too free.


Private shows are always good. Mr. Mumford is even better live.


Everyone else agrees as well.


One of the highlights.


Palm trees and people.


You spin me right round.


UK’s Elbow making it their own.


When the sun sets and there’s a full moon in effect, a lot of weird things begin to happen (like grown men in all black hoodies terrorizing the neighborhood).


And green aliens abducting young ladies.


Beam me up Scotty.

Good Design is Good Design
April 15, 2011 

I’m a car guy much more than a bike guy. I think it's because I grew up around the auto world from a young age. From Beach Casual VW Bus Cool to Tuner Street Madness to Vintage Timeless Classics, I love it all. (I’m still trying to find my 64 continental convertible). A lot of my friends are into the bike world and customizing their own rides. It doesn’t have to be spendy to make it your own- but it definitely takes a lot of time.

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been a shift in the custom market in bikes. The mainstream era of chromed out, Pimp your ride, American chopper rides is old news. The youth of today wants something more Raw and Relevant than Flashy and Performance. Another interesting shift is that heads outside the states are doing a pretty good job at it. Case in point is UK fabricator, Shaw Speed Custom and their latest creation called the Nascafe. They made a vintage watchmaker Bell & Ross carbon fiber influence into a one-of-a-kind dragster on two wheels. Even though I’m not a bike guy, good design is good design. I’m gonna give SSC a call and tell them to make me one on four wheels.

April 14, 2011 

It’s almost mid April and I don’t know if Spring will ever arrive. Since it's still in the high 50’s during the daytime, check out a few denim pieces that should keep you good 'till it warms up.

Prime Stretch Denim in Black Enzyme Stone Wash- Tailored Fit


Prime Stretch Denim in Indigo Stone Wash- Tailored Fit


Republic Denim in Black Light Stone Wash- Relaxed Fit


Republic Denim in Indigo Stone Wash- Relaxed Fit

April 13, 2011 

Besides growing up skateboarding and snowboarding all my life, I was also into non-sideways stance driven stuff. Running was a huge part of it until my knees gave out as well as swimming. During high school I played Water Polo and I remember dudes saying if you shave your legs, you'll be more mobile in the water- I wasn’t buying it…

Fast forward to today, I’ve been track biking a few years and now a lot of my friends are getting into road biking. I guess when you get into road biking, a lot of questions come with it. Do you “kit on up” or not? Does it really make you “faster?” “Do I really give a shit that it does?” I’m a pretty casual dude but since I’m a product person I respect how certain items are made for a purpose. My buddy, BD, custom made these Capo outfits and sent me one.

It's dope, it has some style into it, but for some reason I have yet to use it. Nonetheless, thanks man.

Up to No Good
April 12, 2011 

Well not really… after coming back from my first trip to Norway a few months ago, I learned a lot of stuff I didn’t know. From the incredible landmarks to influence of Western cultures to ridiculous high taxes to how famous Daniel Franck is... I really enjoyed my short stay.

When the heads of our Norwegian family (ICON) told me that they had 3 riders living in Tahoe documenting their experiences, I knew the states were in for something crazy. If you want to check how much “fun” Ian, Henrik and Seb are having in North Lake, click below.

Episode #4 from Ian, Henrik & Seb on Vimeo.

390 Miles
April 11, 2011

Over the weekend, I went to SF for some meetings- I tend to forget that the city by the bay is only 390 miles door to door from my pad. Damn, it was a beautiful day.


Up and over.


Opening Day


Tall & Skinny


Cured & Aged


Truffles & Oil


Psychedelic & Blurry


Three is the magic number.


One bite at a time.


Levis Chambry x Opening Ceremony


Water < Less


My outfit for next weekend- the Shant Short.




Out of the Office
April 8, 2011 

After a while, working inside the office feels “restrictive” and “stale.” We like to break things up every once and a while. Since it’s a nice day outside and we’re next to the beach (for now), let's do a bike lunch meeting, aight?! Cruiser, track, road, mountain, I don’t care what you have- let's just go now! However, next time, can you please figure out a better way to do this Cita?





Evolution of a Logo
April 7, 2011 

Logos are a powerful thing. A great one can take you to the next level, a bad one can bring you down quicker than it takes to write this mash. Some keep their's forever while others constantly “update.” Historical North American bus brand, Greyhound has used the update method for almost a century. Check it and let me know what you think.

The Outline


The Sketchy


The Royal Express


The Starvin'-Marvin


The Let's Go Back to Square One


The Americana


The Racer X


The Silver Surfer

Stuff On Your Shirt
April 6, 2011 

Spring 11 T’s are droppin' now. Support your local stockist. If you can’t find one, click here.

The Hand.


The Wear-Ever.


The Iconic V.


The Brainwashed.


The Typo.


The Smoke.


The Dream.


April 5, 2011 

As a creative, ideally you’d like to imagine how your design will eventually be used. In the end, it's really up to the user themselves. Is there really a difference between a Scarf-Bandana-Headband-Handkerchief? Maybe some can show me if they have a new way of making it theirs?

The Original
April 4, 2011 

Coming up skateboarding in the late 80’s to early 90’s, I was always fascinated how skateboard related art paved its way into so many other cultures. From the old Powell graphics to Jim Philips I was forever hooked. As a kid, I also recalled when Gonz used paint pens to draw on his board- a few months later everyone was doing it. Like the fascination of being a rock star, a lot of heads wanted to express their creative nature through art. However only a few were talented enough let alone really, really understood it. If you skated, chances are you owned a deck that a dude named Marc Mckee designed.

I knew of Marc’s iconic graphics back when I was skating, but didn’t get to know him until years later. From his ole BMX days to the Big Brother debauchery to Flame Boy and a grip of other historical skate companies, Marc’s the man with the plan. Besides being able to shred pretty damn good, he’s also one cool and mellow dude. Over the weekend, I stopped by his solo show called Seen/Unknown.




Remember any of these?


Marc told me he did the wallpaper in 6 hours- I don’t believe him.


I think I rode 50% of these decks growing up.


Pencil to paper.




Blind is and will be considered one of my all time favorite skate brands. Why? Because they didn’t give a shit and called everything and anything out. To me Blind and skateboarding in the late 80’s to early 90’s were the same thing- DIY, Nonconformity, Independence, Anti Corporate, whatever goes. Its kinda like how snowboarding was during the mid 90’s.


Do you remember the Rocco “Dear George” ads?… I do. Here’s one example of what Marc and company did with Blind.


Finished product 1.


Finished product 2.


Sketch 1.


Final Product 1-4.


Next time you see Marc, just tell him “thanks.”


The Best New Invention of the Year
April 1, 2011 

Just in! As of today, we’re officially announcing a brand new category in our upcoming winter collection. Drum roll please…

Waterproof Undies! We have completely solved the problems of bedwetting for men and women. Fully taped seams in all the right areas for that extra snug and seal fit. Coming soon! For him.


For her.


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