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Mike's Mash | December 2012

December 1, 2012

Mike's Mash Up
Michael Akira West is the Owner and Creative Director of 686 Technical Apparel, MATIX Clothing and New Balance Numeric. The following are some of his experiences inside and out of the industry across the globe.
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The 20th annual Black & White Holiday Gig
December 21, 2012

Running a small business takes a lot of everything.

It’s never easy, but always rewarding especially when you can do it with your family and friends.

Each year, we throw one big bash during the holidays to say THANK YOU to everyone who’s supported us.

This year’s annual Black & White Holiday Gig is kinda special since it’s our 20th.

In typical 686 style, we bring the circus to town with world class DJ’s, the infamous photo booth, caricatures, open bar and good ole times.

Peligroso and PBR joined in as we raided DTLA at the Watermark Towers for a night to remember (or to forget).

DJ Barbie is happy to be here.

Matt’s jammin his joints.

Freddie in the house.

Lets take a sneak peak in to the photo booth and see what's going on.

Matix head of design and merch, Chad and his wifey are taking care of biz.

What the hell?

Around the corner, I hear there are some more shenanigans going on.

This is the only place you’ll ever find a different group of heads all in one photo.

The Matix crew says thumbs up.

Brent is our new Director or Marketing and Duke is an OG 686 lifer, although I have no idea what’s going on here.

I hear ya.

Cody is our staff accountant, but tonight he’s a painter and ready for anything.

See you next year. Happy Holidays from the 686 familia.

12 Dae’s of Christmas
December 20, 2012

Check out Matix legend, Daewon doing it for Brick.

The Gathering, Part 2
December 19, 2012

After a few days in DTLA for the North American sales meeting, we’ve jumped across the country and landed at our International sales meeting in the alps of France

This is what our car looks like in the morning.

This is what it looks like in front of our hotel.

Our International sales meeting, aka the Gathering, is located about 1 hour outside Geneva, Switzerland in the alps of France called Las Clusaz.

This place is amazing.

Interestingly enough, we have to go inside and take care of biz. Follow me.

It’s going to be a long day so we better get crack’n. View from the back

We have a lot of great things coming up, trust me. I’ll give you one hint. We’re about to change the way you think about knits, one ugly sweater at a time.

During the meeting our Western Germany agent, Aygun and our UK team, the Lane brothers showed me some photos of what some of their retailers did for “686 Day.” How about some 686 cupcakes?

Sugar or Salt.

Pizzanista has nothing on this.

I am a sweet .


686 day should be everyday.

We’re passing the torch to the Euro crew and having them customize their own 686 icon T.

Sasha is one of our longtime Swiss agents.

He reps our stuff in the daytime and at night he’s a closet B Boy.

Looking at his design, I think he should keep his day job.


Southern French agent, Loic is proud of his masterpiece.


The Turkish crew needs some help.


Marco is a Pro Ho.


Chacuterie, 686 style.


Austria Bound
December 18, 2012

While we're on root to the International Sales meeting in France, check out the 686 global team hit the Alps of Austria for some white stuff.

Get some!

686 Team Trip : EP 2 from 686 Technical Apparel on Vimeo.

The Gathering, part 1
December 17, 2012

Once a year we bring our reps and agents around the world and prep them for the upcoming winter season, aka sales meetings or what we call them, the gathering.

This year, we're splitting it up into two gatherings: One for North America and the other for the rest of the globe.

I wanted to bring our NA gathering full circle to the roots of where 686 were born, Downtown LA (DTLA).

Since the Lakers aren't doing so hot, we're going to start things off correct with bringing our entourage of about 45 deep to cheer the Clippers at the Staples Center.

I told my crew that we're so special, we had to take the elevators way up to the top.

So Cal special agent, James doesn't believe me

Senior Art Director, George is getting dizzy from being up so high, the photo is hazy

Our Japanese distributors decided to crash the NA party with Plain Sane founder, Mike Maceda

This is how we do it

Rise and Shine, we have work to take care of. Sorry I can't show you the details of what went on.

Well, maybe just a little... Micah looks a little too happy with his brand new Dickes x 686 bib

Sales meetings are where we present the upcoming collection as well as prepare them with our new marketing and sales plans.

However, outside of all the biz, we want to make sure they leave with a "stoke" before they disembark on the long road ahead.

Each meeting we test our team to see how creative they can be with designing their very own 686 t shirt.

Some of them amaze me, while others have no chance in hell to get out.

You can judge for yourself. Chris P from East models what the Japanese version

I don't think this one will ever go to market

Nor Cal ripper, Jay G bringing business casual back

Lab City ala Mr. Covalla

The Japanese always do it a little different

Raul doing his best Movember impression

I knew I would find the Marketing team working hard

Why does every meeting end like this?

New Balance Numeric
December 12, 2012


Introducing New Balance Numeric (NB#).

More details to come, but I wanted to personally let you know what will soon change the way we look at skateboarding footwear.

Check for the official Press Release.

The Farm
December 7, 2012

Snowboarding legends are much different today than yesteryear.

Don't know much about it?

Check out one of finest in the shred world, Shawn Farmer (possibly something to come at Lights Out at Denver?).

Matix Essentials
December 5, 2012

Surf's Up.

Keep Warm with the MATIX Nabakov.

#'s don't lie
December 4, 2012

15 years ago 686 sponsored one the first video games in snowboarding for the first Sony Playstation, called Coolboarders.

Soon after that, Sony started a division called 989 studios which not only released the Coolboarders franchise, but also Twisted Metal, Jet Moto and Syphon Filter.

The connection between the #'s of my little small company and this huge juggernaut was all too similar.

It wasn't necessarily the name, but the logo that resembled the logo of 686 at that time.

What did I do next?

Being very naïve, but very confident that there was trademark infringement, I sued Sony.

Words cannot express how much I went through trying to get this done.

Little did I know that the 800 lb guerilla has an arsenal of legal counsel (and deep pockets) to counter my claims from my one man legal team.

About 11 months later and lots of time and $ invested, we actually won.

Today 989 is no longer, but 686 is.

I spoke too soon.

Check out what our Dirty South rep, Harrison sent me.

989 energy drink?

Hmm...Same typeface with something under the 8, turned upside down.

Here we go again.

Accept only the original (and NO we don't make energy drinks).

Innovate or die
December 3, 2012

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower" - Steve Jobs

This is the core of what 686 is about.

Our friends at Endeavor also live and die by this philosophy so much that they started their own R & D Testing facility smack dab under their headquarters.


Archetype Snowboard Lab by Endeavor Snowboards from Endeavor Snowboard Design on Vimeo.