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Mike's Mash | October 2012

October 1, 2012

Mike's Mash Up
Michael Akira West is the Owner and Creative Director of 686 Technical Apparel and MATIX Clothing. The following are some of his experiences inside and out of the industry across the globe. *Add Comments at Bottom of Page!

Hello Tokyo
October 31, 2012

Our lead Matix designer, Allan and I took a quick jump to Asia to check out the happenings.

Everything in my world begins with food.

The magic #'s.


In the land of the rising sun, the simplest things are organized and has their place.

Tokyo is world famous for having the best stockists in the world.

Too many to mention, so I'll show you a few hits and maybe you can guess where I'm at.

When you come to Tokyo, make sure you get the original.

All while Allan gets his.

October 30, 2012

Introducing the Plexus Storm Thermagraph® Jacket

Plexus Storm Thermagraph Jacket from 686 Technical Apparel on Vimeo.

The idea is to have the proper tools when you're in the outdoors.

When it comes to Insulation, we wanted to use this same idea and only insulate areas of the product that need it.

The benefits of this is to heat up and cool faster in the appropriate conditions, while minimizing weight and bulk.

The end result is our new THERMAGRAPH strategic insulating system.

Check it.

Now check the Plexus Storm Thermagraph Jacket in Blue Houndstooth.

Plexus Storm Thermagraph Jacket in Gunmetal Houndstooth.

Forever Print
October 29, 2012

I'm a weird one.

Throughout the digital age, I've tried to minimize my carbon footprint by doing more with less.

One example is the filing of images into a digital format.

If you come to my office, I don't like clutter or paperwork everywhere.

I like to have it filed away in digital format so I can access it anywhere, anytime.

On the other hand, I'm a purveyor of classic products and love the touch and feel of what it's been through.

This is something that could never replace into a cloud.

When it comes to magazines and books, I feel the same.

My homies at Hypebeast recently sent me their Revival issue and I couldn't agree more that print is here to stay.


From Kevin.

Some favorites.

One of my top 5 designers.

From NYC to New Amsterdam, Mr. Mcnairy.

Open wide.

Living Legend.

Have a great weekend
October 26, 2012


Special Delivery
October 25, 2012

Light as a feather – Classy and clean.

That's the way I like it.

Big ups Mr. Hahn.

SUBCREW in the house
October 24, 2012

Whenever I travel overseas, I often meet heads that I connect with on different levels.

Most of it is related to venturing out on your own and eventually finding what makes you tick.

I'm grateful if I have the opportunity to be a part of their journey, which most of the times, they eventually become part of mine.

My friend Jahan from Singapore was in town for a week.

He rolled down with his homies from Hong Kong and China-the one and only SUBCREW.

Hey fellas.

From Beijing.

To around the world.

You've heard of the triple threat in Hollywood-someone who can act, sing and dance.

Hollywood has nothing on my friend Jahan.

I don't think I've ever met someone who's multi-talented in the street-fashion-art game as much as J.

From graffiti to computer animation to sneaker design to street art to sculpting, Jahan literally does it all and does it all very well.

Let me see what you got J.

Check out one of his past exhibitions.

Devilock says nighty night.

"My Friend, Van Wastell"
October 23, 2012

On September 5, 2008, the skateboard community lost one of their own.

Van Wastell was taken away too soon.

Classic Clips is about to release a tribute called "My Friend, Van Wastell".

Make sure you check it out.

Desk Jockey
October 22, 2012

Before I started the biz, all I dreamed about was getting out of town to go shred.

Now, it seems like I sit behind the desk more than anything else.

It's Quality over Quantity these days, but we wanted to show you how it really feels like.

686 team general, Pat McCarthy shows us his true desk jockey self.

DESK JOCKEY from 686 Technical Apparel on Vimeo.

October 12, 2012

The Man, the Myth, the Marc (photos Paul Park).

Those damn pigeons
October 11, 2012

Throwback Thursdays - Did you know Pigeons can be very violent if agitated?

Believe the hype.

Rainbow Bright
October 10, 2012

Since 1922.

Coming soon.

The colors of...

Dickies x 686.

Right on
October 9, 2012

Transworld Magazine goes back with 686 nearly 20 years and Matix almost 15 years.

I remember the first time I paid a visit back in the day at their old O-Side digs.

I thought it I hit the center of the universe in skate and snow.

TW has since moved on into much larger and sophisticated ops, but still has the sense of quirkiness that Louis Balma brought way back like mini bungalows within a small town.

Covers all too familiar.

Wall candy.

La familia throughout the years.

One rad dude - Never forget.

Oh, how about their skate park in the back.

You look so happy to see me, Nick.

Right on.

It's all over again
October 8, 2012

What was wrong is now right.

What was nowhere is now everywhere.

What was all gone is now ALL OVER.

The French connection is stronger than ever.

Maison Kitsuné and Pernod Absithe made mad love together and look what their offspring's look like.

October 5, 2012

Topping off my short stay in the East, I did a few retailer drive-by's with our long standing 686 super rep, Harrison.

First stop is Alpine in Sterling, VA.

As you enter into the store, this is the first thing you see.


The store has a nice open layout with softgoods ruling the selection.

We're the #1 softgoods brand here with a wide selection of Men's.





Top shelf.


I think Harrison found something that brings back my skate days.




Alpine has been one of our key retailers in VA for the past 13 years.

I can't believe it's my first time here.

Chris is the owner operator and him and his crew do a damn good job in making sure the 686 flag is flown.

Big ups.


Next stop is Ski Chalet.


Up in the front, tons of outerwear garb ready for the storm.


Harrison introduced me to a lot of cool cats in the store, all of which were big supporters of 686.

When we asked how our new stuff was doing, they showed us our section which was mostly sold out.

Good things to hear before snow even hits the ground.


Next up, we head down to Frederick, MD to see the boys at PITCREW.


Pitcrew has been around since 1994 and as you can see, is legit to the skateboarding community.

Say hello to one of the hardest working dudes in the industry -- Tim.


Malcom and his partner, Tim were OG snow reps back in the early 90's repping Joyride and Plain Sane.

They moved on to do the whole DC shoe thing and then came full circle to Pitcrew.

We share similar upbringings as these dudes are stacking quite a heritage of skate decks.

From today to...


…Yester year.


Are you kidding me?

Original SMA Natas decks.

I rode all of these from 86 to 88.



Fred Smith to Jason Lee!

If I only kept my decks…


Their collection spills into the stockroom.


Oh yeah, we also have some of these things in the back as well.


Kemper was my thing back in the day.


Check out what Malcom dug up. Pitcrew low backs.


Used and abused.


Malcom and Tim can give Dennis from Salty Peaks a run for his $ as contendors on the vintage skate and snow scene.

Big up fellas.

Support guys that give a damn.

Support your local retailer.

Late again
October 4, 2012

I think you know by now I'm late with just about everything that's tech related.

I do it the ole fashion way, but this thing is pretty rad.

I got 5 on it.


All men are created equal
October 3, 2012

Really puts things in perspective when you're here.

I'm in awe.


USA 4 life.

The Art of "_______"
October 2, 2012

Meetings, meetings, meetings.

I'm not gonna bore you with all the details of what we have in store for the winter industry.

Just let it snow and it will be all good.

Instead, come take a short tour with me to other museums of the world famous Smithsonian.

One of the best.

This is where my inspirations come from.

The American Originals.

Let it flow.

Upstairs, don't miss this.

All of the Lights.

Aloha bruda.

So many amazing things to see here including the Art of Video Games.




From the beginning.

My very first one, the 2600.

Throughout the years.

Sensory overload.

Gotta head back to the hotel, but ran into an old friend I haven't seen for years.

Long time no see.

I know it's been a while, but aren't you glad to see me?

Up up and Away
October 1, 2012

Cali is where I'm from and LA is where I call home.

The interesting thing is that my mom and pops call the East Coast their's.

My dad is from a small town called Centreville in Maryland.

My mom lives in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

Besides holidays, I don't get a chance to head to the East that much that is until now.

I sit on the board of directors for the governing snow show, Snowsports Industries Americas (SIA) and we're out here having our bi-annual meeting.

SIA hosted a private mixer at this little place on the side of the road.

Oh snap, are you kidding me?

Thanks for the reminder.

I guess I am at the right place.

I'm blown away.

I'm actually here checking it all with a beer in my hand.

Every kid, and even a grown ass man would freak out here.

So much history to soak up with incredible air and space machines that span the past 100 years.

Check it.

Oh, that's just the world's fastest jet propelled aircraft, the SR-71 Blackbird.

What's that ahead?

Check out this thing-a-ma-jig.

Ironically, I saw the last Discovery land in LA a few days ago.

Check out the side panels.

Almost looks like pantone tiles.

One big life preserver.

Around the corner, it's just the Concord hanging out, go figure.

Or how about the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the Enola Gay.

Accessories, accessories.

The Jetsons.

Supa dupa fly.