Tech Heads bring you every week or so the head of one of the hidden masters of snowboarding, wether it’s a designer, creative director, developers, product boss or R&D geek. This time we go to see our friends at Da Kine to have a little chat with Bruce Barbour and Mike Madlener, respectively outerwear project leader and US marketing manager. Those two are behind the birth of Da Kine outerwear last year, and carry already a pretty strong team of riders: to just name those on the outerwear program: Elias Elhardt, Shayne Pospisil, Jason Robinson, Forrest Burki, Kelly Underwood, Kasia Rusin and Sami Luhtanen. It was then time to present a first picture after about twelve months of activity in the outerwear world.
Can you present the whole Da Kine outerwear department and how does it work between the US and Europe?
The Da Kine Technical Outerwear program is based in Irvine California. We have a strong team of designers and developers working on this project. We collaborate closely with our offices in Hossegor and Hood River for input and ideas. We really value the feedback and the constant communication keeps the project Global and not just relevant in one region.
What would be a timeline of your regular day?
We arrive at the office at 4:00 am and work like crazy until midnight and never have breaks and don’t eat…just kidding! We get to the office and work on our projects and review and communicate like any other Da Kine division. We make sure we’re in touch with our two head offices and spend time speaking with the sales departments, team managers and athletes. The athletes have been very helpful developing the technical features of the garments as well as the aesthetics…they are all business when it comes to function!
How would you define Da Kine in term of image and products?
We’re a technical company dedicated to our sports and our athletes. We are all about innovation, function and performance. That’s the thread that runs through every product we make. We’re all dedicated to it because we’re all users of our own products and we all love our sports. We eat, sleep, and dream how to make better product and it’s very satisfying when we’re able to bring something new and improved to the market…but only for a minute because then we begin thinking of the next improvement we could make!
The first outerwear line was technical and functional, and at the same time very simple design wise, which was obviously a statement in approaching the outerwear business. Can you explain this choice?
We listen to our athletes and we know that simple styling can very often be the most practical and functional when combined with technical features and hi-performance fabrics. A simple concept but one that really works and is often overlooked.
Is it the same approach working on bags and gloves, rather than outerwear?
I would say so. As a Company we’re dedicated to function over trend and product that works takes on a fashion statement of it’s own, so I guess that would be our style.
What kind of feedback did you have both from team riders and customers?
The line is being very well received and that has been exciting for us and inspires us to work even harder to maintain our own high standard of Technical Outerwear.
Can you tell us a few hints about what’s cooking for the next line of products?
The next line you see from us will continue to build on rider feedback adding in some layering pieces designed to integrate with the outerwear shells. We’re also launching a new “Contour” fit for both jackets and pants that is a more streamlined version of our “Standard” fit.
Check the latest edit of Sami Luhtanen rocking the Da Kine outerwear:
And check the previous Tech Heads right here.