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Mike's Mash | February 2013

February 1, 2013

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!

February 28, 2013

During our recent show at SIA in Denver, we just found out 686 was nominated as booth of the year by Transworld Business.

WHY? Check it HERE and Vote now - Big Ups.

February 27, 2013

I’m back from my European travels and look what I find on my desk.

Soles for Souls.

The good folks at Subcrew in Hong Kong/China sent me a little goodie bag.

The very limited edition Subcrew x Converse Chuck’s.

White is Bright.

Big ups Frankie.

French Kiss
February 26, 2013

Well hello there.

I really like your beads.

Continuing our shop tour with our 686 French agent Vincent, we check out a grip of different 686 stockists from core to outdoor to sport.

AVC is our largest outdoor acct in France.

I cannot believe how many different brands they have here.

More drive bys.

686 goodies.

Big things come in big packages.

Vincent and Pauline make this area happen for 686 for quite some time.

Our 686 showroom is well represented and I’m proud to be part of the fam.

Cheers Vincent.

Parlez-vous français?
Februrary 25, 2013

Speaking English is difficult enough. If anyone has been to France, it's customary to try and speak the language.

How do I say, this place is beautiful? Welcome to where the sea meets the snow.


I’m doing a shop tour with our French agent, Vincent. The first stop is the most expensive ski resort in the world (think ferris wheels meets Russian billionaires), in Corchevel, France.


I need to get my fur boots at Chanel.


In Corchevel, 686 is staple on the other side of the tracks at Endless Winter.


When’s the last time you found a Olds... to a 686 Smarty Satellite jacket?

Prague Modern
February 22, 2013

I’m a fan of clean lines with abstract visions. During my short stay in Prague, Martin took me to the Centre for Contemporary Art, otherwise known as the DOX or what I call it, the floating Red Skull.

Praise the lord.

Sneaker freaker.

The wrong way is the right way.

Martin is in deep space.

Looks who’s watching us.

This is one of my favorite exhibitions. An image with the most important Czech politicians and their personal mobile #’s.

What a coincidence, a working mobile #.

Good night and good luck.

Prague bound and UP
February 21, 2013

I was in Prague about 4 years ago. From what I can remember, my experience didn’t go that well.

In a nutshell, I got very ill from drinking Absinthe. You know that stuff that's outlawed in many parts of the world and makes you hallucinate.

At that time, everything seemed down and out for me. This time around, everything has changed.

I feel great and I’m not getting close to that Absinthe stuff. Hello Prague!

I’m on a shop tour with our Czech distributors, Martin and Petr. It’s always good to shake hands and kiss babies from another country. Let’s go.

One of my favorite times in Prague is when the sun sets. To me, it feels like I’m transported back in time.

It's dinner time and Martin and I are trying to find a place to eat. I think I know where to get the real stuff in LA.

Am I supposed to work out, and then eat?

Pick one.


Yes, authentic Czech cuisine.

I think this is the first time I’ve seen my dinner down the drain.

Na zdraví!

Reclaim @ ISPO
February 20, 2013

Europe-bound and we’re at the final phase of the live 686 Reclaim Project at ISPO in Munich, Germany.

All I can say is that the level of talent with our Reclaim designers is at an all-time high.

We’ve been doing this live project for the past three years and for some reason the designers this year really stepped up.

ISPO is the largest winter tradeshow in the world and the Reclaim project is front and left for 3 days.

Check the live workshop madness.

Don’t bother me...


It's coming together.

What you lookin at?

I got this.

The 11th hour.

Congrats for a job well done!

Reclaim @ SIA
February 19, 2013

During our annual tradeshow in Denver, CO we showcased the ongoing 686 RECLAIM PROJECT.

The project is dedicated to educate heads to do more with less.

We want to show the process of making a garment can be done with minimal impact to the world by reclaiming first quality fabrics and trims into one-of-a-kind garments.

For each Reclaim product someone purchases, we give one away to someone in need.

The Reclaim Project @ SIA brings this concept into a live audience.

We handpicked three aspiring designers to design and manufacture a 686 jacket out of Reclaimed materials, all in 3 days!

Say hello to our Reclaim designers with last year’s contestant and current mentor, Jillian, Becky, Ben and Blair.

The 686 workshop in effect.

Blair’s pondering a thought.

Becky in the process of making radness.

Ben’s too busy making his work come to life.

72 hours later, I’m on stage to announce the winner. Congrats Blair!

February 18, 2013

Decades ago, I remember the first time I saw someone wearing a 686 product we designed, it freaked me out.

I still get stoked when it happens today, but it’s a little different. What I mean by different is when heads that actually use our gear for “other purposes.”

Dave from SIA forwarded this to me last week.

“The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is on the scene of a bank robbery in the Regal Plaza in the Country Side area of Sterling, Virginia. Shortly after 11AM on February 14th an unknown Black male entered the Bank of America and handed the teller a note implying he had a weapon. The note demanded cash and the suspect left the bank with an undisclosed amount of money. Detectives with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office have released a surveillance video still of the suspect. The suspect is described as being 6’ tall with an athletic build. He was wearing a black and grey beanie style hat with the numbers 686 on the front and sunglasses. He was also wearing a heavy black jacket and black shirt at the time of the robbery. He was further described as having a goatee. The suspect left the area in an unknown direction.”

Kinda looks like Lil John… Oh well, at least the dude’s got taste.

POW WOW 2013
February 15, 2013

“Seeing creativity happen all around you from beginning to end and bringing people together through the act of putting paint on surface.”

Make Art accessible - POW WOW 2013 wrap up coming soon.

Check out the good vibes last year.


POW WOW HAWAII 2012: Part I from Pow Wow Hawaii on Vimeo.

Enter the Daewon
February 14, 2013

Besides Dae’s love with water, he always brings it 110%.

Check what I mean with this throwback.


Lights Out @ ISPO
February 13, 2013

A few days after wrapping Lights Out in Denver, CO we headed to Munich, Germany for the European tour at the ISPO tradeshow.

686’s Lights Out presented by Electric, Onboard, ISPO, Skullcandy and Warsteiner went down the Backstage club in Munich.

686 Lights Out is a charity boxing event with industry heads battling each other – all to support F Cancer.


(Photo by Tom Copsey / Onboard Mag) Check the video wrap up courtesy of Onboard


686 Lights Out Boxing night ISPO Recap a Other video by onboard

Lights Out @ SIA
February 12, 2013

686’s 2nd annual Lights Out Charity Boxing Event presented by Electric, just wrapped at the SIA tradeshow in Denver, CO.

Eddie Wall, Kyle Clancy, Steve Klassen and a slew of industry insiders put their skills and pride on the line to benefit SOS Outreach – a youth development nonprofit that builds character and self-esteem in underserved youth through outdoor adventure programs.

The three round bouts were preceded by a proper weigh in hosted by Grenade’s own Danny Kass and Dingo at the 686 booth at SIA tradeshow.

Professional snowboarder vs. professional snowboarder, Media vs. Media, Canada vs. Canada, Artist vs. Blogger and others all stepped up to check their weight and size up their competition before igniting the crowd into a frenzy later that the eve.

Check it out.

686 Lights Out Recap - SIA from 686 Technical Apparel on Vimeo.

February 11, 2013

Inspiration can come anywhere, anytime.

To Rin Tanaka and his 4th annual Inspiration Vintage Fair, it's landed at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, this past weekend.

I’ve been to many flea markets across the globe and through the streets of Tokyo for the past two decades.

I can’t believe this was my first time to Inspiration and stoked to check it out.


Come with me through the aisles.


The King - LVC.


Get 'em.


Fred Fkn Smith.


Since 1947.


Some good finds.


I see mine.


Outerwear to Outwear.


Things that roll.


Things that cut.


Things that cruise.


That’s what you call Vintage - Vintage.


Safety first.


RSD in the house.


The Stopnik’s x Cycle Zombies.


I got mine.

February 8, 2013

With our recent announcement of New Balance Numeric, we’re deep into everything that comes with launching a new brand.

Because I’m a product dude, I’m obsessive with wear-testing our goods to make sure they're in fact, good.

The products won’t arrive in stockists until July, but we’re having our team put 'em through the ringer.

Skateboarding is made to abuse footwear, but I don’t think anyone has ever made them tough enough for fido.

Case in point, our NB#344 Brighton went up against Mr. Doggy and guess who won?


Made Local
February 7, 2013

Transparency brings accountability. Efficiency brings Value. Community brings Connection.

I’m at the Lawrence, MA manufacturing facilities of New Balance. NB is the largest and premier manufacturer of footwear made in the United States.

Come check out what this means to American Made products.

I’m into the Good.


So are they.

Every little detail.

See it, believe it.

Made in ____.

Slowly but surely.

Thank You.

February 6, 2013

Chad (Matix VP of merch and design) and Lee (Mr. Boardistan) have never met before. However both of them have a keen sense of how they dress.

Matix denim, Cuff life and Vans.

OG streetwear
February 5, 2013

Back in the day, streetwear was defined as clothing that was born in the streets.

This meaning left a lot open for many to fill in the blanks.

When I was coming up in the 80’s, skateboarding helped define my language on how I dressed.

Looking back, some of it was way corny but somehow, someway things come full circle.

Only this time, the good folks at Agenda x Seventh Letter do it right.



World Famous.


The one and only.

February 4, 2013

All gone.

Growing up in the South Bay, there are a few things that are ingrained in your blood-Beach life, mellow heads and Pennywise

From the Descendants, Black Flag, Circle Jerks and to PW, the South Bay is where it all started.

Tonight is when it comes back.

The gangs all back – 25 years strong

Bro Hymn

Stupid is what stupid does
February 1, 2013

I love my friends. I also love it when my friends do stupid things and put it on tape so everyone can say how stupid they were.

Andy and Travis are separated brothers at birth. I thought 686 gear would keep them warm from their shoot, but I guess it didn’t do that much.

Watch them do some fun (but stupid) things together.

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