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Mikes Mash | December 2011

December 16, 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!

Designers Wanted Dec. 20, 2011

Having lived through the entire design-development-merchandising-production process first hand, it was easy to recognize that things could be done differently. In 1996, we were one of the first ones to produce fleece out of recycled plastic bottles. Soon after, we discovered hemp, bamboo and other environmentally friendly means to produce our technically enhanced garments. It was unheard of back then as our world was made up of synthetic fabrics. I tried to look at it from the customer and rider perspective as well. The problem was that the final product looked just like all the other products. Without the hangtag or massive education on what it took to make this eco-friendly jacket, you couldn’t see the difference. In addition, why the hell do you have to go through a longer and toxic process of making a plastic bottle into polyester that doesn’t look any different?! Maybe it’s just me, but I believe that the true meaning of being eco and socially responsible is to minimize the entire process. There’s over 25 million tons of textile related waste produced each year in the States alone, so why not use existing scrap fabrics and leftover trims that would otherwise be thrown away?

The RECLAIM project was born from the ideas of 1996 and is on a mission to change the way you think (and look) at technical winter apparel.

The RECLAIM Project: 2011 Process from 686 Technical Apparel on Vimeo.


Oh I almost forgot, we’re looking for up and coming designers to be part of our RECLAIM design contest which will be held in Denver, Colorado January 26th-29th and Munich, Germany January 28th-February 1st. This is NOT a draw on paper type of gig. You have to know how to CUT and SEW. If you're good enough, we’ll fly you out, and take care of your lodging, while you compete against a few others who think they're better designers than you are. Enter HERE

December 19, 2011
Made and Crafted

Its about Good People-Great Ideas-Product Excellence. In my mind that’s the foundation for a great collaboration. 686 is built upon the long term knowledge in technical apparel and products that keep you warm and dry. Snowboarding is our roots, but we have a lot of inspirations well outside what happens in the mountains. Since my knees are whacked, my track bike has replaced my skateboard and when the good folks at Cadence wanted to produce a legit waterproof/breathable cycling kit for the streets, I was down 100% to help out. Dustin is the founder and lead designer for Cadence. Together we make things happen

Tech Packs and…

Bill of materials lead to…

…THIS! Introducing the Cadence x 686 waterproof/breathable (20k/15k) 3ply shell

And technical pant

Every aspect of the pant was built from the user perspective, including the cordura butt panels




We made a few limited hoodies and t’s

All of the above is available HERE. Jacket, for a limited time only. If you really want to see how it came together, check out the VIDEO HERE

Good Design-Bad Concept
Dec. 16, 2011

I’ve said that great design always follows a great concept. The two have to be married together from start to finish in order to achieve synergistic results. When Korean based Yongsan Dream Hub recently presented their latest work-live projects, they received a little more than they planned. Dutch design firm, MVRDV conjured up set of “twin towers” which were intertwined with each other via a “pixelated cloud.” I don’t think anyone wants to be reminded what happened on September 11, 2001. Back to the drawing boards…




Captain’s Chair
Dec. 15, 2011

Young Entrepreneur publication, Brass magazine recently featured 686 faction member, Elliott Neese on the cover of their latest issue. Elliott is the youngest captain in the Bering Sea Crab fleet and star of Discovery Channels Deadliest Catch. Neese has definitely earned his way to the top and deserves everything coming his way and then some. You can check out some behind the scenes shots here. Congrats E

Face masks you idiot
Dec. 14, 2011

If you’ve ever ridden in foul weather winter conditions, you know how important it is to have a face mask that won’t fall down, freeze up or look crappy. I think the boys at Airhole have figured out how to do it right.

Since Max Jenke and company sent some goodies my way-My kit is now complete. Big ups fellas.


Their packaging is on point a la John Jackson


Face masks you IDIOT


19th Annual Black & White Holiday Gig
December 13, 2011

Annually for the past 19 years , we’ve hosted our annual Black & White Holiday Gig. And each year it’s a different experience. Its more than a get together for our 686 fam, it’s a great time to say THANK YOU for everyone that has supported us over the past 19 years. From riders, agents, distributors, suppliers, employees, shops, friends, fam, and more importantly, we raised some coin for our Philanthropic arm, the Match One Foundation, so stay tuned for more info on our next venture.

There’s too many stories and photos to share so I’ll give you a few previews and maybe you can fill in the blanks. Matt and company up to no good in the infamous photo booth


Funny man Pat Parnell and Fuel’s Camille getting scared of something


We’re #1


Heads left their mark


Those Russians…


Kinda reminds you of all the silly things you use to write in the high school bathroom


If you want to see more of the debauchery, check out Blink of and I , Smugmug or Sterling

United Nations
Dec. 12, 2011

This past week, we had our annual global winter sales meeting. It's basically where we bring all our worldwide 686 agents and distributors together in preparation for the next winter season. No, it's not for the 2011-12 season, it's for the 2012-13 winter season.

I know, it's barely winter now, but we’re meeting for all the incredible things coming out a year from now. What's even crazier is that we started to design the 2012-13 collection well over a year ago. I’ll try not to bore you with the details, not to mention I can’t show you everything, but it was a good ole time. The view from the back


I’m really stoked on our Women's collection for 2012-13. Here’s some looks I'm not supposed to show you yet


This jacket will blow doors next year. We’re really into the Boxy Solid look here


Sell, Sell, Sell


We had a packed house of about 100 strong agents, distributors, employees and team riders. Marco flew from Austria to make some quick high fives


Young French shred, Antoine saying what’s up


Forest knows


It’s also a great time to give big ups to the ones in the front line. Norway’s, ICON Distribution was awarded Distributor of the year.


Scotty reps the Midwest hard. He was our Global rep of the year. Hold still, will you!


Each year we do something stupid and fun to break down the long days of selling and marketing our team the new line. This year, we had all the 686 family customize bright Acid Green T’s for someone else. Check out what Patrick from Sweden is conjuring up for some unlucky dude


No comment


After 12 hours of sitting in a room, heads start to get restless. At the same time, stupidity ensues as shown by Rockies charger, Dave Graves


Russian love


Oinky oink


Don’t mess with Kristin


It was all downhill from there

December 5, 2011

1 Fly


2 Meet


3 Touch


4 Manufacture


5 Chill

686 x Vestal ZR-3 Chronograph Time Gauge
December 2, 2011 

As mentioned earlier, each aspect of our build with Scion Racing has a story within a story. When we thought of the interior details, we wanted to bring credibility in the product. We didn't have to look far and connected with two homies from around the way, Vestal watches and Roland Sands Designs.

Vestal made a custom 686 ZR-3 Chronograph and Roland personally encased it in aircraft grade black stainless steel with a bullet diamond glass face.


On the wrist and in the car. #1 of #25, coming soon.

Run Japan Run
December 1, 2011 

Our 686 extended family in Japan sent over some photos of themselves after completing their first marathon. Blue Achieve Crew in effect.


686 Japan Team Captain Junichi and company flying the flag.


686 Japan General, Hiro-san, stoked he finished the grueling 26.2 mile run. Congrats! (Now go to the mountains and shred.)

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