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Mike's Mash | October 2011

October 31, 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 Scary Farm
October 31, 2011

Each year during the heart of our busy winter season, it seems like we’re about to “pop” with too much crap going on. It's great being busy, but I think this year seemed crazier than ever. Since it's Halloween, what better time to take the 686 familia to the world famous Knott’s Scary Farm. Big ups to Scion for the hookups.


Rules, rules, rules.


This dude has issues.


686 TM general Pat McCarthy, in his blue puffy, is casually trying to avoid little miss sunshine gone bad


Kristin heads our marketing efforts, but I don’t think she’s into gettin’ spooked.


If you have 686 gear, chances are that Adam and his warehouse posse hand-picked it themselves and shipped it to a stockist near you, however, this time AG and I are getting too close on the log ride to hell!


I think we’re just about done with the Scary thing. Night cap = funnel cakes x powdered sugar.

Addicted by Pat McCarthy
October 28, 2011 

686 team general and Northwest kingpin, Pat McCarthy is the latest casualty to be severely Addicted. The Intervention team was on site to capture his ongoing problems. Let’s see what happens.

Addiction Series: Patrick McCarthy from 686 Technical Apparel on Vimeo.

If you’d like to help Pat kick his habit, check out his latest pro model colorway on the Duke jacket.

Men's Reserved Duke Jacket from 686 Technical Apparel on Vimeo.

October 27, 2011 

It's October and we’ve shipped a majority of our goods to stockists around the globe. We’ve also finished designing our 20th anniversary collection for next year. I can’t tell you much yet, but in preparation of our double decade, I’m bringing it back and showcasing a historical timeline of what the hell went on throughout the years. Case in point, here’s a little snippet of 1996. Remember these mags?


Plow was our local brewed Shred mag that supported specialty retailers. Free ninety free by GT and Rich Galligan.


Holy Shit is right. This image changed the world of snowboarding and Blunt mag was also one of the game changers in an awesome way. The Big Brother posse and Blunt familia deserve its own mash, so stay tuned.


Check out one of our early ads in Blunt. Damn, what was I thinking…


As far as I know, it’s the only time in shred history that multiple mags did cover shots of the same hit, care of Ingemar Backman in Riksgransen, Sweden. Stick mag was rad and spawned from Bikini mag ala Marvin Scott Jarrett (Nylon Mag fame).


I think I’ll save my other embarrassing images until later. However I’ll leave you with an ad I shot and designed back in '96 with now shred photog legend, Blotto. Funny and crazy at the same time, huh?

What Does This All Mean?
October 26, 2011 

Rough around the edges.


Work in process.

Stuff Your Smarty
October 25, 2011 

Last week, we held a contest on how creatively some of you fans can “Stuff your Smarty,” that is, our Smarty Pants. Safe to say, some of them were pretty interesting. Check 'em out. Kids these days…


Anatomy of the Smarty.


Hey that’s my boo bear.


Fire, fire!


This one takes the cake. Congrats to Phil Fischer and little Fischer on winning.

Next Stop- Mars
October 24, 2011 

With the recent release of Apple’s new circular campus concept, uber design firm, Foster + Partners unveiled their latest and greatest in New Mexico this past week. Dubbed the very first space terminal for the human race, it's something I can only dream of one day doing. To make it more interesting, my homie, Eric was on hand to capture it first-hand. (photos by Eric Bond)

Design by F + P.

I think this beats the road to LAX on Sepulveda.

The 120,000 sqft building is dug into the New Mexico backdrop and features floor to ceiling full glaze views of the launching pad.

I forgot to mention that the reason Eric was invited to the inaugural event was because Sir Richard Branson asked him to do some “work” on his Virgin Galactic empire. Eric co-owns Spin Imaging, the premier branding company in Long Beach, and this is just one example of the type of quality projects they do.

If you need something done quick, at a reasonable price with the best quality, give Eric or Ruben a call. Btw, if this wrap can last on a space shuttle, it can last on your car.

I think Mr. Branson also agrees.

Poppin bottles, Branson’s way.

The Blues
October 21, 2011 

686 global faction rider, Marco Feichtner, boosting in the backcountry wearing his signature Hydra Jacket in Blue and Acid.


Be like Marco and make his Hydra yours.


See more of our super waterproof/breathable and lightweight Plexus Hydra Jacket here.


Men's Plexus Hydra Jacket from 686 Technical Apparel on Vimeo.

You Are Here
October 20, 2011 

In my mind, the scarcest resource we all have the lack of is time. We all use it in different ways, but it's something that can’t be bought or sold and unfortunately we realize how valuable it is when it’s too late. How many times have you said to yourself, “where has all the time gone?” or “I can’t believe it’s been a year since such and such.” When I was growing up and going to school, I used to dread how long it would take until the clock struck 2:48pm. Nowadays shit goes by way too fast. If I fast forward my life and if I’m fortunate enough to reflect on the past, I’m sure the most important things to me wouldn’t involve work or the physical things I possess- it would revolve around family, friends and simple things in life.

Cool Hunting alumn and independent filmmaker, Scott Thrift also shares this feeling and has taken action to bring a method in which we try and reflect on today. His answer was to make a clock that reminds us to be in the state of "now". If you know where Scott and I are coming from, you can donate and remind yourself that you are "here".

The Present from m ss ng p eces on Vimeo.

The Process
October 19, 2011 

Being in the trenches of what I love to do for so long, I tend to forget that a lot of heads really have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. Some of that is probably a good thing, but I’ve always tried to bring forth examples of what it takes to run a business, as well as all the cool things that inspire us. It's never one person, but always a team effort regardless of how big or small you are. What makes it special is how you’re able to bring the concept to reality. One prime example is our manufacturing process in technical apparel. I remember about 10 years ago, one of our reps honestly thought the way we make our jackets was through a machine. A machine in which you insert the fabrics and all the materials and miraculously a jacket would come out the other end. As everyone else started to laugh there asses off, I thought to myself that possibly a lot of others may have similar questions. Really, if you don’t know, then you only can assume.

During a recent production trip, I decided that we should make it as simple as possible to show the world an example of the complex manufacturing process of 686. So here it is, “The Process.” Check it out.

The Process from 686 Technical Apparel on Vimeo.

The Blue Ribbon
October 18, 2011 

I received this text from my friend last week that I should be expecting a “package.” I thought to myself, cool, but with all the other crazy things going around me, I quickly fell into the rest of my busy day. Then about a few hours later, I received this link from our marketing coordinator and thought it was rad how two of my favorite brands came together to create something cool for the shops kids. About an hour later, this “package” arrived on my desk and then all of the following seemed to piece together.


Open me.




Courtesy of Steve from PBR- you sure act fast.


I’m seeing double.


The Ribbon.


“Tried-Tested-True” Martino and George make it happen at Union.


Now I’m ready for the season.


I wonder if these Ltd Pabst Pro-Keds will work?


Seamless integration, I think not.


Get 'em if you can find 'em- Limited to 200 worldwide. Thanks fellas for the love.

Put it on ICE
October 17, 2011 

It’s in here somewhere.


ICE is typically a “bad” word from where I come from, however we decided to make “good” out of it and made a few nostalgic pieces just in time for fall. As our fellow Canadians would say, The ICE Toque.


The ICE Hood.


The ICE T. (No pun intended.)

Flying the Friendly Skies
October 14, 2011 

Courtesy of 686 team manager, Pat McCarthy.

Coming Soon?
October 13, 2011 

From the ground up.

Home Sweet Home
October 12, 2011 

Since we’re quickly approaching our double decade next year, I felt like it was long overdue to stop by our original stomping grounds in downtown LA. The Brewery is one of the largest Artist-Live-Loft colonies in the US and I started the biz in this loft space back in November 1992. Twice a year, they open up their doors to the general public so I stopped by to reminisce down the ole road on Moulton Ave. Follow me, it’s this way.


Wow, they have maps now?


WTF- What # is that?


No, it's not what you think. The name 686 didn’t come from my first address. It came from somewhere else… However this is my actual first office space I occupied 19 years ago.


It looks almost the same, minus the white walls and artwork. It’s still good, but when 686 started, I only occupied a 10’ x 20’ area in the back. A few years later, we grew into the overall space.


Actually we grew out of the space and this was our packing and shipping area. Now you know why I have a thing for containers.


The lady there is actually the person who took it after me. I think she’s a little bitter that she had to clean up my mess after I left. She still says she receives old mail address to me?! Either way, its time to move on and see the rest of the place. Walk down memory road and see what else is up. Damn rats.


I’m melting.


They grow like crazy.


I remember.


Victoria is a local artist there and she told me that everything she does comes from the heart.


This one came from her womb. According to Victoria, her baby daughter inspired this piece.


What you think?


See a theme here?


Family time.


Start 'em young.


Real time, courtesy of the Seventh Letter.


I think I can fly.


Welcome to the Church.


What’s all the commotion?


Uh, ok.




Well sometimes…


Too many places to see, I think I need a better way to get around. Maybe I’ll take this long thing.


Or better yet?


Behind the curtain.


Room with a view.


Home Sweet Home.

Simply Steve
October 11, 2011

Stuff Those Pants
October 10, 2011 

With the recent dumps in the Western US, winter’s definitely here. To get things running, we’re throwing a contest. The shitty thing is that it ends today. The good thing is that you’ll get a chance to win our most popular pant-The Smarty Cargo Pant.

Since the Smarty Cargo has tons of pockets and hidden features, all you have to do is show us how you use them. Stuff 'em your own way (that is the pockets). Simple enough- take a pic and email it to [email protected].

Ready and Waiting
October 7, 2011 

Dropp’n now at 686.

Stack & Carry
October 6, 2011 

If you’ve been following my Mash for a minute, you’ll probably already know I’m fascinated by alternative methods of Reclaiming something old for something new. Shipping containers are one example and I’ve personally had my fair share of experimentation. So anytime I get the chance to see others doing it, I’m stoked.

The city of Copenhagen, Denmark embraced the opportunity to push their urban renewal to the next level during the North Harbour Exhibition. A joint collaboration from the city with design group, Arcgency/MAPT, they made it happen using a cradle-to-cradle framework. Check it out. (photos by Lars Engelgaar)






Denver’s Finest
October 5, 2011 

Since I’m in Denver for the SIA Board of Directors meeting, it's also a good time to connect with some heads. 686 faction sales agent, Dave Graves, has been holding the fort in the Rockies region for a solid decade now. Interestingly enough, he does it all on his vintage 10-speed turned single speed bike. I still don’t know how you’re able to haul the entire rainbow set of 686 gear on this little thing. I guess you’re a strong man.


Old meets new.


Dude, you gotta get a stronger light than this little thing.


The city of Denver has its share of crazies, but most of the time the homeless just need a little something to get them on their feet. Good Samaritan and Rome Syndicate general, Sully, doing his good deed of the night.


It's fascinating what people will do on the streets at night in Denver. Is Vans general, Mr. Bevens, peddling his limited Sk8-Hi’s for a quick fix?


Well not exactly, but I’ll take 'em anyways. How about you?


Next time you’re in the mile high city, watch out for this place.


As the hipster shred hangout, the Shag conjures up lots of crazies itself, including ex 686 team dude, Gary Wyman.


Cheers, on my way to crazy land.

The Board
October 4, 2011 

Decisions, decisions-the fate of the entire Snow Industry comes down to this decision! Well not really….

At the semi-annual SIA Board of Directors meetings in Denver, we have a lot of great things coming your way. Stay tuned!

Hot Dawgs x Hand Rails = 10 G’s
October 3, 2011 

The 8th annual Hot Dawgs and Hand Rails went down at my local stomping grounds last weekend. Bear Mountain was infiltrated with a group of kids and 130 tons of ice which turned into snow for the event.

The cool thing is that 686 faction rider, Ryan Paul killed it at HDHR to get 1st place! He’s now the proud owner of 10 G’s and goes down as one of Bear’s finest. Big ups Ryan!

Ryan Paul $10,000 winner of HDHR at Bear Mountain 2011 from Top Hat Productions on Vimeo.

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