First off, let’s discuss the GLCR line a little bit. How long has it been a part of the 686 line and how did it originally come into existence?
Brent Sandor: The GLCR Collection of technical apparel is going on its third season. Some of the styles were born from the previous Plexus collection, but GLCR came into existence as we reimagined the brand and collections in 2014 and any old styles that we liked were redesigned. Each year, we continue to add new styles and technologies. The collection is inspired by intelligent design and minimalism, putting only the perfect features, fabrics and style lines where they are needed for functionality and omitting all the chatter. GLCR stands for Glacier, as in way out on a glacier or Glacier, Washington, where we are lucky enough to have the McCarthy Cabin, right by Mt. Baker, one of the toughest testing grounds in the world for outerwear.
Pat McCarthy: Living in the Northwest and staying a lot in Glacier when riding Mt. Baker, I began to realize this area is just about the best proving ground in the world to test outerwear. Being more of a backcountry-style Northwest rider, I would always ride the most technical features that 686 came out with year-after-year and give my input with the rest of the team. The GLCR collection has most technical features, and is the most waterproof and breathable gear that exists for us here at 686.
BS: Keeping with the inspiration of minimalism, we removed all the vowels in the word and added just a small red circle for the logo. If 686 is represented by a red square, GLCR is represented by a red circle.
Over the past few seasons, 686 has amplified the streetwear and fashion savvy influence applied to technical pieces, resulting in really sick looking jackets, pants, and accessories. Highly technical gear has not always been the most aesthetic—how do you marry the tech and functional aspects of the GLCR line with the 'look good, feel good' ethos that individuals crave?
PM: I think the most important concept with GLCR is simplicity meets functionality. In the collection there are clean lines and solid color blocking, but also all the features and value you have come to expect from 686. There are other parts in the line where we can get more creative and do more progressive styling, too. When it comes to the GLCR line we want to make sure each piece is tested, tried and true by the team. Find ways to cut down the product to make it the most waterproof, bomber, lightweight it can be, so that the rider feels that he has a technical garnet on but does not look like a backcountry kook.
BS: I think there has always been some form of aesthetics to technical pieces, but maybe not as slick and futuristic as the current technical outerwear trends. We like to look at concept cars, progressive footwear and modern architecture and objects to inspire the designs of GLCR. For us, everything starts from the purpose of the garment. Once we know ‘why’ we are creating each piece then the form is imagined. Every style line, seam and feature in our GLCR garments lends to the form and the function; there isn’t a bunch of decorative ‘stuff’ going on with the garments. In the end, we think this progressive modernistic design is something that the active consumer is gravitating towards as well.
Let’s talk a little about the 686 pro team. The riders are very involved in creation, testing, and affecting the 686 outerwear that they wear and that is sold in shops. Can you provide a little insight into the riders and this process?
PM: We love working with our team closely, together with 686 Founder Michael Akira West, and the designers to make our outerwear as functional as possible. For example, combining Forest Bailey’s creativity with the design team, we can make cutting edge apparel that also has a team-driven aesthetic that is ahead of the trends we already see. Utilizing riders like Sammy Luebke and Matt Belzile who are out daily hammering on there gear as hard as possible makes us feel that ‘if it works for them, it will work for the consumer.’
BS: We take the constant feedback from the team, explorers and off the grid livers like Sean and Mollie Busby and others and add it into every new cycle of designs. It’s truly a joy to work with some of the most talented mountain men and women in the world on product and I think the results are showing.
PM: The GLCR project will build on this existing process and give a new voice to the development of our outerwear program.