Was there a hole in the market that you saw not being met that spawned this plan?
I just wanted to build something from the ground up that represented a Midwestern point of view mixed with years of culture and participation. The concepts were formed in the ’97/98 season while I was working at Fobia. We had a really crazy good team, and at that time I felt it was something that could’ve been supported by the shops and team. I was drawing inspiration from Fobia and Alien Workshop—two strong Midwestern companies with names that were built by action versus pre-definition.
Here’s a sneak peek at Interior Plain Project’s first line. All Photos: Cameron Strand:
You said you’re planning to make seasonal collections. What’s the concept behind that? What else do you plan to make and how will they tie in with the decks?
The concept is to build collections of goods that change year to year. Snowboards will be the foundation of each collection, while the other products will likely change. I’m sure some apparel will always exist in the collections, but maybe not. The art, built off of the Collection’s title, will influence the boards, tees, fleece—whatever is made for that specific collection.
My hope is to collaborate with others to build some items such as bindings, backpacks, accessories—really anything that fits the collections. I’m in the process of communicating with some potential partners for the next collection now. It would be really awesome to collaborate with some of these designers and companies. Which items I’ll include just depends on whether or not a certain item works to help tell that collection’s story.
I’m not looking to be a manufacturer of piles of products and categories. The Interior Plain Project is smaller than that; I’d much rather reach out to folks I respect and see if it makes any sense to work together on something that can exist outside of their normal range. We want the Collection to be a vehicle for interesting goods that reach out though a singular concept. I guess you might call it a capsule collection, but I find that slightly limiting.
Producing an expected range of goods year after year isn’t a model I’m interested in. I’m sparked on design, art, style, and inspirations, and I think it’s always changing, so why can’t a line change more often as well?
This year’s collection is dark with a evil taste, but next year’s will really show as a entirely different inspiration. I think that’s when the concept will be more realized.
What will the first line consist of and when does it drop?
This season’s collection, titled “Dark Meadows,” is two board models—the Honalee 156 and the Harrow 147/152. There’s the Sickel, Silo, and Key Tees; the Sickel Crew, Splatter Pullover, and Key Zip-Up Fleece. There are three headwear pieces- the Silo Fold, Silo Skully, and Key Snapback. Really tight runs and three items in each category makes it manageable, tight, and sellable. It’s dropping now and boards will ship early October.
Will you still be repping, or are you hanging it up with Rome? How about your other brands iPath, Neff, Ashbury, Holden, and Remind?
I handed Rome SDS over to my seasoned sub-rep Rich Whinnie. It was time to allow a fresh face to bring a new perspective. That was tough, but I knew I wouldn’t follow through on The Interior Plain Project if I was still deep in Rome SDS.
I recently had a change in footwear, moving on to help my friend Travis Matsdorf and his team at Praxis Footwear. I also added Poler to the mix and it’s really exciting to work with them. Neff headwear is rocking and we just supported a bunch of shops with a really fun tour. Holden Outerwear is evolving and I couldn’t be more excited for the growth into streetwear. Ashbury and Howl are on board; we’re all on the same pages- might be some stuff in the works. Remind Insoles is my boy John Makens who was a team rider for me at Fobia. He’s like family—that’s for life. I’m building this brand with the idea of repping it as well. It’s a small enough collection to just be added into the mix.
You’ve been showing retailers already, right? What’s their response been?
I’ve been talking with retailers for a while, teasing images here and there. It was conceived in ’97/98 so it’s an idea I’ve been putting out there for some time. I think some of the guys thought maybe I’d never pull it, but a lot of them have committed to the idea and orders are coming in. If the shops weren’t interested I wouldn’t be working to create it. By the time this is out I’ll have products on at least 10 shop floors. Many thanks for their support.
Tell us about your roll-out plan.
Dropping the teaser and press release was first. Now we’re in the midst of introducing the Pilots, web launch soon after, and then the Dark Meadows short will be a more in-depth edit with snowboarding in support of the collection.
Goods are shipping now to retailers and we have some retailer-based plans for mid-winter in support of the next collection. The riders [Matthew Boudreaux, Jack Thonvold, and Joe Mertes] will be filming for parts, and we hope to tour some resorts as a crew this winter. We are also in the planning stages of a trip to Backyard Austria in Zillertal valley in Tirol in early March to film and ride in the Alps.
You said you’re planning to operate “outside an expected business model.” What will that look like?
I don’t know that it looks like anything. I mean, I want to be creative in the process, the products, and the way they’re supported. I’ll be implementing what I believe are strong ideas to help support the retailers and their end margins, including strategies to help the stores support the line year after year. My plan is to develop shop partnerships from the onset and continue to protect their valuable investment.
Where are you making your gear?
I looked and spoke with a number of manufacturers. Not everyone liked either the idea or the smaller runs I was interested in producing. I found a perfect partner in Canada who I’m really excited to be working with. They’ve been helpful and have years of experience, and I’m happy to have goods produced in North America. Screened wearables and labeling is all done in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
It sounds like you’ll be focusing exclusively on the Midwest at the outset?
That’s the plan for now. It’s where we are, if other shops outside the Midwest have any interes,t we’re willing to explore from there. I’ve had some contact with some shops in Canada. I plan to wait until next season though to potentially build out distribution in other countries. Dark Meadows is a small collection, sales are happening and goods are dwindling.
Why does the world need another shred brand?
I hope to build something that’s more than just another shred brand. Snowboarding doesn’t need or owe me anything. No Promises.
Shouts out for getting this rolling?
The initial word mark was done by Todd Bratrud years ago, Thanks Todd. I also have such a strong group of supporting artists, riders, and family. They’ve all been critical to making this season happen. Mike, Joe, Eric, Jake, Carrie, Adelle, Tucker, Brad, Boody, Jack, Tnut, Emmet, Craig, Wolfe, Kop, Bill, Juhyo, Cameron, Terry, Matt, Andy, Dean- the list could go on, but literally all these people have contributed in some way and all are involved.
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