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Mike's Mash | March 2013

March 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!

Just add water
March 29, 2013

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I suppose Fashion Design would also be in the same context.

According to Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen, he’s using this mentality to develop the first ever Water Dress for women. Why didn’t I think of this before...(photos by Nick Knight)

Water on White.

Water on Black.

Water on Women.

Harder, better, faster, stronger
March 27, 2013

Each year when I go to Coachella, you hear the rumors, but it doesn’t seem to happen.

It’s been eight long years since French electronic pioneers, Daft Punk has done a full length release.

On May 21st, the world will see what they’ve been up to.

The Present is finally here
March 26, 2013

Look what finally arrived on my desk.

The details.

Look closer.

I’m a dude that struggles with TIME.

It’s not that I don’t value it or I can’t seem to manage my day or night. The problem is that it goes by way too quickly.

A little over a year ago, I stumbled upon an invention on Kickstarter by a guy named Scott Thrift. Handmade in Brooklyn, NY with German, engineered annual movement, it takes exactly one year to go through the four seasons and make one full turn.

Each day I check this out, hopefully it will remind me where I am - -The present is here.

ThePresent from m ss ng p eces on Vimeo.

The Beginning
March 22, 2013

“Yesterday” is history. “Today” is what we have and “Tomorrow” is only a possibility. The issue about Yesterday is that heads tend to forget what shaped Today and will influence Tomorrow. I’ll re-quote what my friend, Trent Bush, said in his interview with Seven Years Winter “If you don't remember your roots, (or even worse, don't know them) there is no real context in which to create the future.”

Trent, together with a cast of pioneers in the shred world (Sherman Poppen, Tom Sims, Jake Burton Carpenter, Chuck Barfoot, Terry Kidwell, Terje Haakonsen, Brad Steward, Trevor Graves, Mike Chantry, Tom Hsieh, Todd Richards, etc) presents the full version of WE RIDE-the story of snowboarding, narrated by my ole time skate bud, Jason Lee

March 21, 2013

I’m kinda hungry.

I stopped by the headquarters of Wahoos fish tacos the other day to say hello to my friend and co-founder Ed.

Together with his other brothers, Wing and Mingo their currently celebrating their 25th anniversary in the business!

25 years is a long time and I’m stoked for them and their hard working crew.

Speaking about crews, what’s this over here?

Custom 686 lamps coming soon to a Wahoos near you.

Who is Daewon?
March 20, 2013

I’m a Southbay boy for life and there are a few dudes in the area that go back from around the way that still kill it today.

Gardena local and one of the most genuine and technical riders to ever to have stepped on a skateboard, Mr. Daewon Song.

Check out the latest edit from Matix, filmed by John Fitisemanu and Ryan Dearth presents “Who is Daewon?”

Who Is Daewon Song? from Matix Clothing on Vimeo.

March 19, 2013

According to London’s Cycle Love, one of the the top ten brands to watch in the cycle word is Cadence.

I couldn’t agree more, especially when I find this on my desk today.

I’m set for the Spring.

Thks fella, keep up the good work.

Welcome to the family
March 18, 2013

686 is proud to welcome professional snowboarder and footy stacker Cam Pierce to our international pro team.

Cam will be bringing the 686 Smarty collection of outerwear, the original trademarked 3-in-1 detachable layering system, to life in urban sprawls and off backcountry jumps across the globe this spring as well as collaborating on future outerwear designs.

Cam will also be keeping his hands warm and dry exclusively in 686 gloves and mitts. Keep your eyes peeled for a signature 686 glove design in the future.

“Cam destroys whatever is in his path from urban spots, as seen on the cover of Transworld Snowboarding this season as well as in Forum’s final release “Fuxk It!,” to backcountry jumps and whatever else is in the mix,” explains Patrick McCarthy, 686 Team Manager. “We’re also excited to have Cam repping our new collaborative first layer project with his co-sponsor and our friends, Airhole Facemasks, dropping next fall.”

Cam, who is currently supported by Endeavor Snowboards, Airhole Facemasks and Electric, joins the current 686 crew including Forest Bailey, Phil Jacques, Sammy Luebke, Marco Feitchtner and Sebi Geiger.

"I’m really excited to be a part of a family with such a long history and great reputation," exclaims Cam.

Thanks Cam, we are excited too! Welcome to the family.

March 15, 2013

One last stop before I head back to LA, it's Taipei time to finish up the 686 Winter 1415 design and development collection with the crew. Too many things, not much time.

This pretty much explains my entire day. I’ll spare you the details.

What I will disclose is the highlight of the day-Red bean popsicle sticks.

And Pho, with 686 love.

Quickies – Beijing
March 13, 2013

The first time I went to China was close to 20 years ago.

It was wreaked, the roads were sketchy, my motel was infested with rats and traffic sucked.

Well, a lot has obviously changed, except the traffic.

I’m here to visit the China ISPO trade fair and meet our newly minted 686 China fam.

Just like Germany ISPO, well not really.

The best thing about the show - the security guards roll in style.

Digi Commy Camo.

In Beijing, China, you can have dinner for $5 or $5,000. Tonight, it's priceless because our joint is located in the hidden alleys of Beijing.

Hell yes.

What the...

I’ll just wash it down, Coke style-cheers!

Quickies – Hong Kong
March 12, 2013

24 hours later, another language, another country. Today, it's Hong Kong to visit NB APAC.


Look what’s brewing in the kitchen.


Just dropped, all gone.


Whats this?




We have some great things coming your way soon.

Before I head to my next country, dinner with friends can’t be missed. No, its not Spaghetti.


It’s Tsingtao time.


Some of this.


Some of that.


Cheers to Frankie and fam at Subcrew.

March 11, 2013

My friends think I’m nuts for traveling so much. In actuality, most of my heavy traveling is during our core winter months between Nov-March.

This week, I have meetings in Asia over a weeks’ time, visiting five countries.

First stop-Tokyo, Japan to visit our 686 family, Blue Achieve. Hello fellas.


Looky here.


Droppin, August 2013.


Something bright.


Back in the day, the NB686 Super Nova pack.


Tokyo is filled with wonderful gems from the best shopping to the best...


Wait for it...


One of the reasons I’m here is because we’ve had some issues with the grey market, aka unauthorized transshipment of 686 goods from another country.

This areas is filled with stockists, some authorized and some not.


Authorized 686 Japan dealer.

Not authorized.

We had lots of meetings and plans for the future. Japan is going through some difficult times in general, but for somehow, someway, 686 is continually growing in the healthiest manner.

Hiro (partner of Blue Achieve) and I were saying to one another that if we didn’t meet each other at ASR 20 years ago, both of us would have been out of business-Its crazy how things end up, for the good. Speaking about the good...

I can’t come to Japan without going to this area-Shibuya.

Gotta check in with my homies. Headwear extraordinaire, Mr. Spanky.

And our former 686 employee, Yumiko.

Hat courtesy of 7-Union.

Sushi courtesy of Japan.

Introducing the MJ Collection
March 8, 2013

The Spring 13 Marc Johnson Collection for MATIX is out NOW. Come see why there’s only one MJ here.

The Golden Ticket
March 6, 2013

While in Munich at ISPO, Mark from Tailgate Alaska wanted to talk to me. A few minutes later, he handed me a Golden ticket to his annual Tailgate AK event.

A personal invitation from Mark is a cool thing.

I’ve only been to AK once and its one of those experiences you can only describe if you were there. How does this look?

I don’t know if I can make it, but it does get me a step closer to one hell of an epic time. Can’t wait- -thks Mark.

[Tailgate] AK In Short from Ben Gavelda on Vimeo.

I’m watching you
March 4, 2013

In today’s world, you never know who’s watching you. Since Google is the world standard, why not have them know what you’re doing, when you’re doing it. Good Street View is one example of just this. Gizmodo did a little article on Goggle catching a young couple “getting it on” in one of 686 and Matix’s core stockists in France.

Watch your back (and front)!

The Designers, Designer
March 1, 2013

It’s interesting how your journey in life can take you into different directions, most of it totally unplanned. Back in early 1992, I was going to college and working on the weekends at Bear Mountain in Cali. I had a project for my class to make a business plan on something I was passionate about. For me the decision was easy, Snowboarding put a smile on my face cuz it was FUN. So I decided to follow through with my class project and make a plan on combining my love for shredding with something else I like to tinker with, which was clothing. During the time, there were only a few brands out that I gravitated towards. Wave Rave and Twist were on the top of my list. With no experience in design, I asked a lot of questions and worked around my Los Angeles surroundings and eventually found my path of starting 686. Over twenty years later, it’s all history. The interesting thing about this journey is that I’ve been blessed with meeting some incredible people along the way. One particular person is Trent Bush. For those who don’t know Trent, he’s one of those dudes that have contributed more to the snowboarding world than anyone I know. From his early days at the original WAVE RAVE snowboard shops in the mid 80’s (photo by Fran Richards from Trent Bush)

to founding one of the most prolific snowboard specific outerwear brands of all time, TWIST (with his brother Troy and two other friends) in the mid 90’s, (photo compilation from Trent Bush)

along with TUESDAY (one of the first women specific snow brands) and then moving on to start ANALOG through the Big B, again reconnecting with Troy and MFM to start SECTION to his last foray with NOMIS (with Simon) and TECHNINE (with Ethan and Cole). Damn that’s a looooong resume of iconic brands that Trent either started or was a huge part of. I look to Trent as a friend, more than an industry dude. However in actuality, he’s one of the only dudes I can relate to as someone who’s not only been on similar rocky paths of running a passionate business, but also someone who I deeply respect. Trent’s current path is to follow what puts a smile on his face. His latest projects include opening up the Colorado Snowboard Archive Museum in Vail with David Alden and Kurt Olesek. Trent believes that “if you don't remember your roots, (or even worse don't know them) there is no real context in which to create the future.” I can’t agree more. (photos Trent Bush)

He’s also bringing the custom built board manufacturing process front and center with the boys at Nightmare (photos Nightmare)

And opened a design studio WERXdesign concentrated on outerwear with Michael Fischer in Breck (photos Werxdesign)

In his recent interview with Seven Years Winter, Trent gets personal with his road to the present. According to Trent, “the next big thing in snowboarding is smaller things that mean more.” If you give a damn about Snowboarding, you need to read THIS. If you want to connect with one of the best human beings I know, Trent’s available to help you take the next step. Email him at [email protected]

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