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Mike's Mash | September 2011

September 30, 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!

Addicted #3
September 30, 2011 

Being addicted to something can be a good thing. However for 686 global shred, Forest Bailey its definitely a bad one. See Forest letting it all hang out in our Addiction ad campaign, #3 of 10, Substance.

The Addiction Series: Forest Bailey from 686 Technical Apparel on Vimeo.

Fight the Fight
September 29, 2011 

Cancer is no joke. With Jake recently going public about his current battle with testicular cancer, it's a deadly disease everyone can relate to. From my friends to my family, I’ve learned it first-hand.

The good thing is that with the right notice, a lot of it can be avoided. The shitty thing is that most people don’t bother to look for it until it's too late. Since y’all know I’m into creative ways to bring the message front and center, I recently stumbled across a few in regards to Breast Cancer. Outside skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer to women affecting 1 out of 8 women.

I think the more creative the ways to get the point across, the better.







Cover Shot (Again)

September 28, 2011 

Big ups to 686 Euro Am, Alex Fischer for landing the cover of 7th Sky mag in Switzerland. It's Alex’s 3rd cover shot within the year. Congrats man!

Proceed with Caution
September 27, 2011 

With the winter season coming up, I’m milking the last few days of summer. How about a little hike that starts from here.


Damn- Is there something I should be concerned about?


This is a magical place.


Look around.


Lava flow.


Watch it.


Don’t say I didn’t tell you.

Westlife 4 Life
September 26, 2011


Just Cuz
September 23, 2011 



Rear view.



Food for Thought
September 22, 2011 

In preparation for our big office move towards the end of this year, I’m on the lookout for some local food joints. Our new HQ is located in the Southside of LA in a city called Gardena. It's about 15 minutes from my pad and another 15 minutes to DTLA, so it's a dream come true for me in terms of the commute. Gardena is known to have the best Japanese restaurants in the nation, however, when it comes to Italian, I don’t think it's even on the radar, that is, until now. Literally 3 minutes from our new compound in the industrial side of Gardena (or as the city calls it “Unincorporated LA”) there’s this one incredibly cool joint called Eatalian Café. I’m not so into the name, but I am into their pizza. From the outside, it looks like a nondescript warehouse, but inside it’s a manufacturing haven for all things Italian food. Pasta’s made from scratch about 20 feet from me, 5 minutes ago.

The formula.

The golden goose. Thin to win. Don’t believe me, ask Yelp.

Yes I am.

Everything is homemade including their gelato!!!

I owe it to my good friend, Jeri at Toyota for showing me the place. I’m so excited that I’m gonna eat everything in here, starting with your mint chip.

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It's a...
September 21, 2011 

Color is a powerful thing. When used correctly, it's probably the most effective method in drawing some sort of emotional response from the brain. Here’s a little breakdown.

Red– Overwhelming at times and creates drama
Yellow- Brightness, happiness and raises spirits
Green- Think of nature, life, freshness and relaxation
Blue– Serene, mellow, recovery
Purple– Inspiring, refreshing, new

UK based animator Liam Brazier brings color to new heights with his geometric treatments to some of our childhood heros. What’s even cooler is that he doesn’t do it in illustrator using vectors. Guess how he does it?

I’m Addicted
September 20, 2011 

With the release of our new website, we’re also debuting our “Addiction” ad campaign for this season in print and video.

Anyone seen the TV show Intervention? Addiction Series #1 of 8: “Perfection” by Mr. Louie Vito

Addiction Series: Louie Vito from 686 Technical Apparel on Vimeo.

Peddle Faster
September 19, 2011 

The great thing about skateboarding is that besides your set up, it doesn't cost anything to do it. Since my knees are jacked and I can't really do the things I used to, the next best all season thing to me is biking. The biggest show in the bike industry went down a few days ago in Vegas. Come on in.


As I walked into the show, guess who's busy working away, showing people where to find their next career path?


Chad and Chelsea from Malakye ready for the big show!


Nice article boss man.


SRAM is the premier bike component company in the industry. It's good to see that the big boys are putting some creativity into the mix.


A ball of...


On your mark, get set...


Looking mean.


Most shows I go to, I'm too busy to look at product, however, since Interbike is an open format and I'm all about seeing what's next on my list to get. This brings it way back.


All in one.


Straight ahead.




Don't ask.


They sure are pushing this Phantom thing.


Air Max what?!


Mix Master what?!!


It's interesting as you walk around the show, you can tell which brands speak to which customer set. Besides digging what the Chrome guys are doing, you have to check out what Mission Workshop is up to.


Yes it is.


Support American.


Now for some special announcements. Coming soon.


Royal and Acid.


Dustin and company making things happen one sticker at a time. Stay tuned for something incredible. Viva la revolucion!

Sept 16, 2011

Our brand new revamped website is now Live!!!

The full 2011-2012 Fall/Winter Collection, daily blog, tons of videos, our new Addiction ad campaign, shop profiles, Free Fridays and everything else in the middle. Be a part of the 686 family on Facebook and be an insider on all cool things we have coming up.

The Library
Sept 15, 2011 

If you ever come to NY, I highly recommend the Library. One of the largest selections of mind stimulating materials.


I’m a true fan of Far East literature.


Vintage Japanese periodicals are my favorite.

Art of Flight
Sept 14, 2011 

Last week, I took a 24 hour whirlwind trip to the NYC and tried to squeeze in way too many things. Red eye out, land in the morning, meetings, shopping, meetings, some good eats and one hell of a banger night at the world premiere of the Art of Flight. Hello rainy and foggy New York!


What the hell is everyone staring and waving at?


Fast fashion taking over the world one New Yorker at a time.


One stitch at a time.


If the sneaker fits…


Can’t wait.


Red Bull Media House and Brain Farm presents:


The golden ticket.


I think the Art of Flight will go down as the most spendy, most cinematic, most gnarly, most inspiring snow flick ever. With over 3,000 heads attending this premier alone, shit was bananas (not to mention the line to the bathroom).


The entire production team and rider set was representing.


One word, Travis Rice.

Sept 13, 2011 

With the worldwide Nike Mag release being held in LA this past week, there's a lot of creative heads in town. I didn't make it to Kaws opening at Honer Fraser, but I did check out Jose Parla's latest work called "Character Gestures," at Al Moran and Aaron Bondaroff's, OHWOW gallery on La Cienaga. Welcome.


The scene.


And now for the show.









From the bottom up.


Since Luis and Eugene were in town, I had to show them how we do it in LA, late night. Get some.


Luis getting some.


On the other hand, I think Eugene has an issue. He's never had a Torta and I don't know how he did it.


One bite a time, homie.

It’s About Time!
September 12, 2011 

I've always been a collector. From stamps to baseball cards to comic books to vinyl figures to contemporary street art, I've enjoyed the meticulous process of searching and preserving. Collecting sneakers was different, it was an obsession. I think growing up skateboarding had something to do with it as I was fascinated by all the pros customizing their shoes with paint pens back in the day. I got out of it about 5 years ago as my tastes matured to other interests. However, I still get all jittery when something special happens as I'm still infatuated with incredible storytelling.

This past week was a milestone in the sneaker world as Nike recently released the long awaiting Air Mag. You know the infamous futuristic shoe that Marty McFly wore in 1988's Back to the Future II. For most of y'all, its probably nothing special, but for collectors, sneaker heads, the streetwear community and fans alike, this is history in the making. What makes it more special is that Nike is releasing it 4 years earlier than the 2015 timeline the movie predicts. Michael J. Fox has been battling Parkinson's disease for nearly as long as the movie back in the day. Nike and Fox agreed that its imperative to do something now so they're producing only 1,500 of the Mags on ebay, with all proceeds going to Fox's Charity to help fight the deadly disease. Over the weekend the first mag was sold for $37,500! If you do the math of an average of say $20,000 x 1,500, that is $30,000,000. Not to mention Google is matching it, so $30,000,000 x 2 = a lot of good stuff on its way to help fight the disease.

Check out a pic of the original drawing.


And the original prototype.


Mr. Fox on set in 1988.


The Mag today.


Before the Mag was released, a select few from around the world were invited to sit in and listen to Mark Parker (CEO of Nike) and Tinker Hatfield (Creator of the Mag and every other legendary sneaklers from Nike) at the backlot in Universal Studios. My good friends from Hypebeast were one of them along with a few others. (btw my homie, Bobby did a great post on this secret process- check it out.) We met up for some other functions over the weekend and he showed me what went down. Yes, I agree.


Inside the golden box is a this little apple audio device.


Ok I will, but I can't tell you what I heard.


Okay, it has something to do with this.


It's 1988 all over again.


Yes, I know.


I think this is the closest I'll get to the Mag.


Don't believe me, then check the video below.

The Hunt or the Hunted
September 9, 2011 

If you know what 686 is about, you’ll probably understand that we don’t like to be put in a box. It's easy to categorize us into what we do, however, when it comes to creating something entirely new, it's always a tough one for heads to catch on. During my early days, it used to frustrate me that people “didn’t get it." However, it was me that needed to better balance the idea of the conceptual vs. the factual, but this never stops me from going all out crazy with some soon to be interesting projects.

Speaking about “interesting,” what do you think about Rohan Chhabra’s transforming Hunting Jacket.

Road Less Traveled
September 8, 2011

“Are we almost there?” asked Mr. West.

“Yes we are,” replied Mr. Thomas.


The East-West Route
September 7, 2011 

Doesn’t make sense? It will soon.

Master Merchandiser
September 6, 2011 

The definition of a Merchandiser is someone who’s involved in a process of buying and selling goods. It’s a broad sense of getting business done, however, in the creative world, I like to look at Merchandising as an skilled art form that could be the difference of making or breaking a brand. I’ve learned over the years that it takes a considerable amount of experience and vision to accomplish something that doesn’t necessarily exist yet. I recall a story of Steve Jobs wanting Apple to be like Sony. He was inspired by the integrity, workmanship and incredible visionary talents of Akio Morita (Founder of Sony). Jobs was mesmerized by Akio’s idea of the Walkman. During those days, portable audio music was just a silly idea. Jobs had similar visions of how he could create a space in music where all things would revolve around. Sounded crazy back then, but my point is that if you can understand a magic formula of how your customer is going to react and purchase your product in its the simplest form, there’s a good chance, you’ll do well.

In the apparel world, there’s only a few icons I consider Master Merchandisers and Mickey Drexler (CEO of J. Crew) is one of them. Charlie Rose interviewed him a few years ago, but everything he says is still relevant today.

Made to Order
September 2, 2011 

We’re deep into the heart of shipping our goods to stockists from around the globe. Our global network of warehouses are all jamming at the same time. Although our offices are in construction, our warehouse isn’t and its locked and loaded to get stuff in and out quick. We make products to order so if you haven’t placed one yet, chances are we’ll be out before snow’s on the ground.

One of many aisles for miles.


I think I know my way around here.


Ok, I’m at the Indigo D section.


Putting it on Wax.


Always Authentic. You break it, you buy it.


Can you get me that at the top left, please.


Season 3.


Coming out Hot!


The Art of Moving Forward
September 1, 2011 

Progress is something I’ve dedicated my career to. Heads who are close to me always know I have to keep moving forward. One of my goals was to build a business in which it would help move products in a different direction. One of my others was to build a place where it could house all the intricacies of what I like to do. More or less a compound of great people who share similar goals.

Last year, I found an old truck warehouse close to my pad in LA and figured this was the place to make it all happen. Unfortunately I ran into some roadblocks with the city and new changes in the permit process. Fast forward about a year later and we’re finally moving along. Framings are almost done and now it's sheeting time!




From above.


Glue 'em then Nail 'em.


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