Mike's Mash | December 2013
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 across the globe. *Add Comments at Bottom of Page!
December 31, 2013
Not so seriously.
December 26, 2013
From the Westlife Family.
White Elephant's in the room
December 24, 2013
Each year about this time, the design team organizes a White Elephant Holiday gift exchange at the office. Add some food, spiked egg nog, bad Christmas music and we have something special.
I’m a Belieber.
Matix Sales Director, Daran Godfrey has something.
Bungee weight cords, Arrrrg.
686 Art Director, George Covalla seems stoked on his knife and fork set.
Matix key accounts Manager, Geneva got the one she wanted-the Furkini.
Ellen (686 design) is so happen about her little surprise.
Ashly and her Minion are happy together.
Matix founder and president, BD just won big?
December 22, 2013
We just celebrated our 21st annual Black & White Holiday Gig at our newly minted headquarters in Los Angeles. 400 of our closest friends, family and supporters stop by to say hello. Yes, it does snow in LA.
Front and center, our master foyer.
We had a Casino theme going and our friends from around the industry were gracious enough to send some gifts to be won.
Win or lose em?
Got the magic ticket?
When we started our Holiday party in 1992, I wanted to put a theme to it but at the same time make it simple enough for people to buy into. Black and/or White were the answer. Because we have a “diverse” group of heads in the Westlife family, we left the dress code up to people to interpret. Although most people wear black and dress up, but there’s always a few who do it their way...
Simi Valley x Long Beach x South Bay X DTLA.
The 686 marketing team.
Matt and company making things happen.
As we moved on into the night, things started to get foggy.
Thank you for all the love and support over the past 21 years.
No place like home
December 19, 2013
There’s no place like home - There’s no place like home.
Interpreted by British designer, Dominic Wilcox.
December 18, 2013
Yes, it's very close to Xmas.
Blazin the Blazar by Beacon.
What Do You Think Of The Blazar?
December 17, 2013
As a creative, you tend to think big but with experience and wisdom, you settle somewhere in the middle. Its not a cop out, is rather a compromise. I’m all about pushing the boundaries of design but I don’t know we’re ready for this yet (at least in this visual format). Dutch designer, Pauline van Dongen has collaborated with Solar energy maker to take one step further in wearable solar fashion.
Bam, boom, charge.
According to Pauline, “the coat incorporates 48 rigid solar cells while the dress 72 flexible solar cells. Each of them, if worn in the full sun for an hour, can store enough energy to allow a typical smartphone to be 50% charged.” Hmm, I think for now, I’ll use my Mophie Juice Pack to charge my phone in 30 minutes.
December 16, 2013
As a kid, I remember tinkering with random things. My mom told me that I was curious how sound was coming out of a small black box (radio), I took apart the box to try and find who the little man was. I guess tinkering and asking questions soon led me to my path in life. My friend, Roland was much more than a tinkerer and today he’s built this into a full scale empire. Roland and his Roland Sands Designs (RSD) group build custom bikes like no other. Recently he hosted an open house at his headquarters in Long Beach.
One of his many pieces in the mix.
I sneaked into Roland’s office upstairs and look what I found on his custom made steel desk.
The future is near.
I got mine.
I love skiers
December 13, 2013
B# x Orchard x Arto
December 12, 2013
Happy Birthday Arto
Made in Detroit
December 11, 2013
I love great storytelling. The type of story, industry, product or service doesn’t matter to me as long as it’s well done. One of the best one’s as of lately is Detroit based Shinola. Originally started by the founder of Fossil, they’ve dedicated their mantra to Made in Detroit products with purpose. Watches are their core and their latest release is the Brakeman. The 46mm was inspired by the early locomotive workers whose job was to assist the braking the conductor of the train. “Shinola Detroit-built Argonite 715 quartz movement, hand-assembled from over 50 Swiss-made components.”
December 10, 2013
I received a text from Aaron (Agenda, Network Agency, Known Gallery, Seventh Letter) that he’s having his gallery opening over the weekend. 150+ artists, the Seventh Letter was enough for me to stop by. This is how it looked like on Fairfax.
The Seventh Letter presents.
Yes, it was packed.
The design of the gallery was dope. Modern meets the hood all rolled into one. In the middle of the gallery all the merchandise was neatly organized as a living, breathing workstation.
Of the trade.
The happiest place.
My man, Slick.
Congrats to the Aaron, Casey and Seventh Letter posse.
December 9, 2013
The holidays are my favorite times of the year. Besides the obvious biz reasons, it gives heads a reason to go outside. What better way to head to the outdoors than support your local mountain. Mountain High, Spyder Boards and 686 did just that and hosted the annual Snowfest that went down over the weekend in Hermosa Beach. Yes, in Hermosa at the beach. The good ole white stuff does drop in Cali.
Diggers and Subway?
The 686 marketing crew was in full effect (and so was the line).
What's going on here.
Roll 'em and win 'em.
Our head of marketing, Brent was the main 686 flag flyer.
The Matix workshop was also rollin. Check out Daran, Miguel and the posse flying the flag.
The course from the bottom.
To the top.
Shed the gnar.
I’m gonna check out the top.
December 6, 2013
Gone are the days when you have to actually go to the store and buy something. I’m not talking about getting it online, I’m talking about making it at home. Back in May, I mashed.
about the world’s first 3D printed gun (yes a gun that shoots and kills). Consumer friendly 3D printer mfg, Makerbot is now available at Microsoft stores. Soon, you’ll be able to “Print up” whatever you need. Well not just yet, however there’s innovators out there that are leading the pack when it comes to 3D printing. Having the privilege of working with New Balance on several projects, I was able to look behind the curtain and see all the cool things coming up. Check one recent story by the Boston Globe on what the flying NB is up to.
Since I’m a garment dude at heart, I geek out on the possibilities of doing this in my world. Some heads in the fashion industry have already taken the first step. Famed architect, Francis Bitoni and fashion designer Michael Schmidt worked with Dita Von Teese to produce 2,500 3D parts linked together one by one. This concept will fast forward quickly and I’m determined to be there in front of the pack.
December 5, 2013
Unidentified brown objects keep appearing at my office.
It’s barely December but feels like Xmas all day long here.
Sol and Google (I mean Motorola) got in bed and produced this little magical joint called the Deck.
and check out Master Tracks Big ups Brian C. @ Sol.
The Hundreds x 10
December 4, 2013
About a week ago, my friend Bobby Kim (aka Bobby Hundreds) sent me an invite about this little thing they’re putting on. You see, the Hundreds are celebrating their 10th anniversary and what better way to celebrate than invite their friends to the happiest place on earth - Disneyland!
Bobby’s passions go further than owning and operating a streetwear brand. His breath spans across the social-art-design realm more than most people I know. His young, mischievous and storytelling traits are very clear, hence the Lost Boys collaboration with Disney they did back in 2008. Having worked with Disney around the same time, I can personally tell you that it’s a true feat to do some of the stuff the Hundreds did with them. (Plain and simple, the folks at Disney can be a tad difficult to work with…) That’s another story but the point is that its cool that Bobby and Ben were able to tell their story with Disney and bring it to their loyal fans whom supported them along the way. There deal with their fans is that if you purchase anything in the store Black Friday, you get a ticket to the magical kingdom last night. And Yes, it’s a private party closed down to the public. BK sent this little thing so come take a ride with me.
The happiest place on earth lights up the midnight sky.
Shine bright like a...
Mickey and Minnie were in full affect with their fans.
Buzz Light Year!
Guess where I’m going?
3D glasses included.
Of Mice and Men’s, Austin Carlile accompanying us on the Star Tours.
Good ole times with good ole blurry faces.
Congrats Bobby and Ben on a job well done.
The Kit Builder
December 3, 2013
As a creative, I like to think that a person makes the clothing or his/her own style. However in reality a lot of people don’t know where to start when it comes to their set up. At 686, we try and make it as simple as possible and developed the KIT BUILDER. What does the Kit Builder do? Its an easy “pick and choose” option that allows you to see how a jacket and pant looks like before you get it. Pick a riders kit or build your own - Enjoy!
The Crystal Ball
December 2, 2013
Being in the winter business is like being a farmer-You are only as good as the things you cannot control. In this case it’s the damn weather. Although I’ve been doing the snow dance for the past two decades, I still haven’t mastered the art. If anyone can tell me the secret, I’m all ears. According to the private weather forecasting firm, CustomWeather “the weather for the upcoming 2013-2014 ski season is looking favorable.” They claim that with the absence of El Nino, ski resorts can expect normal temps and snowfall in the East, good snow in the Rockies but below avg whitestuff in the Pac NW. They even go as far as predict where riders can find the best snow in which resorts. As always, I’ll believe it when I see it.
Top 10 Western Ski Resorts for Snowfall 2013-2014
• Kirkwood, CA
• Homewood, CA
• The Canyons, UT
• Breckenridge, CO
• Bear Valley, CA
• Alta, UT
• Wolf Creek, CO
• Telluride, CO
• Mammoth Mountain, CA
• Vail, CO
Top 10 Eastern Ski Resorts for Snowfall 2013-2014
• Stowe, VT
• Attitash, NH
• Sunday River, ME
• Stratton, VT
• Whiteface, NY
• Sugarloaf, ME
• Loon Mountain, NH
• Jay Peak, VT
• Gore Mountain, VT
• Sugarbush, NY
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