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Mike's Mash | July 2013

July 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!

Eye Surprise
July 31, 2013

Having something arrive on my desk never gets old.

Goodies from the Dragon Master.

Big ups to Will and Tobia at Dragon.

Curb Crusin'
July 30, 2013

If you check out the mash up, y’all probably know how much Skateboarding has helped shape my life and have to do with all the brands I’m involved in. In my mind, I can still do everything I remember I did back in the 80’s. However, in reality today, I can barely Ollie up a curb but still get stoked to just cruise around. My old friend from the glory skate days, Jason sent me something that brought it all back to current day. There was an actual skate video that was filmed around my local hood back in 1987 called CURB CRUSIN'. Although I was out that day, my close skate homies did make it. Looking back at this type of stuff is obviously hilarious, but more importantly reminds me that whatever you end up doing; make sure you remain true to what makes you happy.

Here’s the premise of the entire movie of 1987’s Curb Crusin'; “Action-packed footage as the scooter dudes get chased by the local skateboard punks through the alleys and streets of Hermosa Beach, California. Features exciting mini-scooter demonstrations.”

The Art of Collaboration
July 29, 2013

The old expression that there is no “I” in “TEAM” applies to everything we do at 686. Close to about 15 years ago, we were credited for doing the first collaborations within our industry. We didn’t do it because everyone else was or Sales was telling us to. We simply did it because it felt right and we wanted to showcase a story that there are like-minded people and brands that shared the same ethos as 686. We started off by wanting to work with our artist friends, which we launched the Artist Collaboration Effort (ACE). From there we started to work with brands and this evolved into the TIMES Collection.

Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to collaborate with incredible people and brands but at the same time not lose focus on who 686 is. As we transition to the next double decade, the plan is to FOCUS on 686 but if we collaborate, it has to be something different than what’s been done before. I’ll give you a sneak peak of something that is in the works and very unique in its own right. It may look like a bunch of stuff on a table, but to us it's a lot more than that

The 686 design team is here collaborating with people who are actually changing the world (one third world country at a time, one global cause at a time, one song at a time)

No, it has nothing to do with Black Blockheads

It has something to do with making greatness that’s conceived as a team and shared to the ones who need it the most.

July 26, 2013

Where am I off to next?

Oh yeah, Amsterdam

If you ever come to the Netherlands, Amsterdam is a must. Although you can pretty much do everything in a day, you gotta check this place out

The best mode of transportation in Amsterdam is this little thing

I’m ready!

686 agents for the Netherlands and Belgium, Patrick and Joris know what I like

Gelato is an international language

One of these days, I’m going to open my own gelato shop and start the world’s first ice cream blog-one of these days…


About 5 minutes into my gelato feast, something didn’t feel right. My stomach was churning and my mouth felt like I was eating soft frozen butter. I couldn’t believe it… The gelato was a dud and all my excitement is going down the drain

What else in Amsterdam will cheer us up? How about some cheese and clogs

Or maybe some coffee

I wonder why the coffee looks green


Too bad I don’t drink coffee or like veggies

When the night turns, they have special sales that go on

I think I’m about done for the night. You know its time to go back home when the lights turn red

July 24, 2013

A short hop and a skip plane ride away, I land in Frankfurt, Germany.

Mainly known for the bustling bank business, I can’t seem to knock how crazy beautiful it is outside. Summer time in Europe when it's not overwhelmingly hot and humid is incredible. See what I mean.

Locks of love.

Lock it down and throw it away”

Specialty core stockists are going through a transformation as the customer changes, however Railslide is one of the originals.

Matix originals.

Do you think they drink the juice?

Roshe run!

Through the eyes of a skateboarder.

Cheers to the German, Italian and French Matix family meeting with me in Frankfurt.

July 24, 2013

Yes it’s considered one of the “P.I.G.S.” but if you come to Barcelona, it's sometimes difficult to actually see the economic turmoil happening in the bustling city by the sea.

I’m meeting with our super agents from 686 and Matix but I couldn’t seem to concentrate while it looked like this outside.

Yes, this is Barcelona on a weekday.

Eye candy galore.

Sagrada Familia.

Time for grinds, Spanish style-A La Brasa.


or that.

Siesta time.

July 23, 2013

I’m on a European tour checking out retailers and meeting with our counterparts from 686, Matix and New Balance Numeric. The first stop of my leg is London and the best way to get around is the Underground.

World Famous.

Gotta get one for the road.

Who needs a mobile when you have this.

Home is where the heart is. The city, the city of Compton.

Besides meeting up with my posse and discussing our plans for world domination, I snuck off to check out some of my favorite stockists starting with Slam City Skates

No, it's not Vietnam, it's Maharishi.

The King of Camo-DPM.

The original Comme des Garcons

The big daddy since 1875, Liberty London.

For over twenty years, shipping containers has been an inspiration for me. The symbolic nature of geometric industrial archiving and the practical repurposing are very fascinating. Our new Westlife HQ is partly made from the same containers we transport our goods to and from the factories. A few years ago Roger Wade, the founder of the OG streetwear brand Boxfresh founded Boxpark -A new mobile community that’s living, eating and shopping, all which is made from repurposed shipping containers.

Come take a walk into my dreams.

I couldn’t agree more.

These dudes
July 22, 2013

I’m on the road for the next week and look who I run into on the island of Grenada. Sir Dingo on the left and Sir injured Danny on the back right.

Did I mention that DK was injured?

I guess this is the secret sauce to make it feel better.

Special Delivery
July 19, 2013

Newsflash! A special delivery has arrived.

The first issue of the Hypebeast Paper didn’t arrive via bike messenger or a flying stork. It doesn’t matter since Mr. Koston is on the cover.

Eric Koston is nearly the same age as me, but he’s still pushing hard with global endorsements and the Berrics ruling skateboard media. I’m stoked to see a fellow Laker fan do it his way.

This issue is all about Skate and the personalities in this world. One notable figure is Rip Zinger. Check Rip Ripping it everywhere.

Street Smart or Smart Street?

If you don’t skate, you will not understand.

The Local Garden
July 17, 2013

One of these days, I’m going to turn the local park pool next to my pad into something like this. Well maybe not, but I can dream...

Wavegarden 2.0 - June 2013 from wavegarden on Vimeo.

July 15, 2013

I’m a sucker for things arriving at my doorstep. As a kid I still recall the first time I placed an order in Thrasher magazine for a T shirt and stickers. When “the box” arrived it was like Santa magically delivered this just to me. Although I don’t wait for Santa anymore, its nice to get the same feeling as a young grom.

Looky here.

Open carefully.

Either someone sent something to the wrong Mike or someone does like me.

Let’s break it all down.


IVI  for Agenda

Agenda turns 10 years young and it started with an idea to do it better than the rest. Aaron and his crew at Agenda show have done it and steadily brought down the walls of the big fellas (ASR, Magic, Surf Expo) and now the leaders in the action sports and street industries as the leading B2B show format in different coasts. Knowing Aaron, he’s already won the battle overseas as well. Hitting the consumer arena is not too far away - go get 'em.

The key to opening the rest of the world is about to get unlocked-Congrats Agenda Fam!

July 12, 2013

Living in Southern California is about living outside. With the exception of crappy traffic, we have no reason but to do things outside our dwelling. California modern architecture exemplifies this through Dwell Homes latest offering in Venice. I checked this place out last week and was in awe of the simplicity and cleanliness of the project. The entire house was built around the existing pine tree in the front.

Outside, the house opens into various courtyards, patios, gardens, all of which act as part of the indoor outdoor use. Most striking is the cladding used which is ebony stained Red Cedar. It almost looks like it had been evenly burnt on each side to create this effect.

Local architect Sebastian Mariscal designed the house and you don’t get to truly understand the cubical layout until you see it from a far.

Geek out with me on the 1st and 2nd floor layout.

First Floor Plan: Street frontage at right, Rear alley at left

1 - Garage (rear alley)
2 - Storage
3 - Laundry
4 - Rec Room
5 - Bedroom Courtyard
6 - Bathroom Courtyard
7 - Master Bathroom
8 - Master Wardrobe
9 - Toilet
10 - Master Bedroom
11 - Fireplace
12 - Main Courtyard
13 - Outdoor Pavilion
14 - Outdoor Grill
15 - Living
16 - Dining
17 - Kitchen
18 - Den
19 - Pine Needle Courtyard
20 - Oak Tree Courtyard
21 - Main Entry
22 - Entry Vestibule
23 - Powder Room

Second Floor Plan: Street frontage at right, Rear alley at left

1 - Rooftop Garden
2 - Media
3 - Guest Bedroom
4 - Bathroom
5 - Deck

July 10, 2013

We came, We saw, We conquered.

The 2013 Matix Ironman is a wrap. Check out the good times that went down this past week.

Matix presents 2013 Hermosa Beach Ironman from Matix Clothing on Vimeo.

The Best is yet to come
February 8, 2013

I like to keep things moving. To me, the size of a brand or company shouldn’t determine the level of motivation or dream you may have. I’ve been the underdog for years and it hasn’t stopped the wacky ideas that we’ve churned out. Some of these ideas have gone to be huge winners for us. From my experience, the best ideas are actually the ones that got made.

Today we had some important guests roll by the Westlife neighborhood. Long time surfer and British music executive, Rob Wells and soon to be mega star Jacqueline Becker stopped my office to have a pow wow. Rob’s the President of one of UMG’s business. In case you don’t know, UMG or Universal Music Group is by far the largest Music Company in the world, with iconic artists such as the Rolling Stones, U2, Kanye, Paul McCartney, Dre, etc and sub labels such as Def Jam, Capital, EMI, Interscope, etc . We’ve been talking for a while and I’m stoked to say that there’s some crazy shit coming in the near future.

Hint Hint.

Who is...
July 3, 2013

Good morning everyone. Matix is proud to present another visual treat from San Jose’s finest, Zack Wallin-enjoy.

Matix presents Who Is Zack Wallin? from Matix Clothing on Vimeo.

686 x Marc Jacobs x Kidult
July 2, 2013

Last week, something terrible occurred in Paris, France. What was meant as a joke turned into something much larger than we expected. Blame it on Marc, blame it on Kidult and blame it on $$$686$$$.

I am Ironman
July 1, 2013

No, it's not this type of Ironman.

Nor this one.

And even not even this one.

July 4th is around the corner and MATIX is proud to bring:

The “Unofficial Rules”

The Hermosa Ironman is a rite of passage celebrating the Life, Liberty and the American Way. Run a Mile, Paddle a Mile, Drink a 6-pack and watch what happens next.

It’s corny, it's kooky and it's all in good fun. Check the madness 686 did a few years back.

2010 Hermosa Beach Ironman from Phillip Rogna on Vimeo.

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