The streetwear moon of planet Burton, Analog faces a number of challenges as it strives to push performance-driven streetwear forward. As if standing on its own two feet as a brand while also exploiting the credibility the company inherently maintains through its ties with Burton wasnâ€™t enough of a balancing act, Analog must also prove itself a viable competitor in the swiftly shifting streetwear industry.
In other words, Analog is tasked with staying four steps ahead of not one, but two packs â€“ the aforementioned streetwear culture as well as the other innumerable board-riding / active sports brands that measure their success against Burtonâ€™s. Format recently had the opportunity to speak with Joey Jorgensen, the design director of Analog. Join us as he reveals some of the secrets to his brandâ€™s success.
â€œThe biggest advantages come from Burtonâ€™s commitment to build quality/innovative product and the support, investment, and talent that is in place to make great ideas execute in terms of great productâ€
Format: An analog (or analogue) is sometimes defined as an organism with similar functions to other organisms that come from completely distinct evolutionary backgrounds. Do you see Analog as an â€˜analogâ€™ of Burton, or is it a completely distinct beast?
Joey Jorgensen: The word Analog defines us much more by what is represented in the context of Analog vs. Digital, or â€œless is moreâ€ from a design aesthetic as it applies to technology and pop culture, than it does in the context of analogy or the function of being an analog entity. The brand has evolved to a place where we have become very relevant in three sports, and are building a solid year round apparel business surrounding these athletes and lifestyles. There are definitely more and more places where we live as a distinct brand doing a very distinct thing, that many others of our size struggle to or simply cannot achieve. Of course, there are always going to be roots and similarities with Burton where our snow segment is concerned, but the brands are absolutely not interchangeable.
Format: Any brand formed under the Burton umbrella begins its existence at a unique position in the industry. What are some of the most significant advantages and, on the other hand, challenges of being an offshoot of the Burton name?
Jorgensen: The biggest advantages come from Burtonâ€™s commitment to build quality/innovative product and the support, investment, and talent that is in place to make great ideas execute in terms of great product. We are continually working on our multi-season / year round business systems. Some systems have been designed with only the winter season in mind, but so much progress has, and is being made here that it has become more about perfecting solutions.
Format: How much accuracy is there to the claim that suggests that Analog is the closest thing to a streetwear brand in the Burton empire?
Jorgensen: 100% accurate. Analog is a streetwear brand, plain and simple. Go to www.analogclothing.com and see for yourself.
Format: Collaboration is a phenomenon that Analog seems to have kept away from since its inception. Is there any reason why the brand keeps its creative process strictly in-house?
Jorgensen: Not entirely a true statement. We have kept away from collaboration in terms of the ever more common and somewhat tired concept of â€œthis guy x that guy,â€ wanting to make sure that the right opportunities came around and had some longevity to them. Itâ€™s not just a â€œwhatâ€™s hot today?â€ kind of thing. There has been more collaboration internally between our riders (from surf, skate, and snow) than probably any other company out there, except for Burton proper. That is one of the key concepts that we embrace / promote from our Burton roots. Product is, and should be, built when athletes are involved. The creative process has included a ton of behind the scenes collaboration and outside resources , but our focus is to build our brand and our product.
We are just starting to look at places where bringing collaboration into the external / public eye makes sense in a brand building strategy. For example, we have just released a signature denim line, which includes signature styled jeans for Arto Sarri, Stefan Janoski, Dillan Reider, and Omar Salazar all designed here in L.A. by EVER denim designer Jason Bleick. We have also just launched a special release recurring t-shirt collection branded â€œPLAâ€ or â€œPermanent Light Archiveâ€ that will be a revolving release, showcasing photography of influential athletes and photographers. The upcoming installment includes work from Tobin Yelland, Arto Sarri, Mark Oblow, the Distrikt Collective, and others.
Format: How does Analog differentiate itself from lines/brands, especially Gravis, within the Burton umbrella? Do you ever find Analog at odds with Gravis, which seems to fulfill a similar niche in the action sports market?
Jorgensen: Gravis makes shoes and we make apparel and outerwear, so cross over to fill a similar niche isnâ€™t really an issue. Having other brands, with other designers, working on other categories under the Burton umbrella is only really beneficial at the end of the day. More people with more perspectives get involved in a causal way and that is super healthy. There are times when categories cross over, but the brands are very clear on their goals and objectives, so we simply focus on maximizing opportunities to benefit from each other.
Format: The technical and military influence is perennially apparent in Analogâ€™s collections. Will these motifs continue to be fundamental to Analogâ€™s design, or can we expect to see some radical divergence from these themes in the future?
Jorgensen: Technical and military will always be important to us. They are some of the core components of our brand and design aesthetic that will always have a life here. They are also elements that can be interpreted and evolve with culture, current events, and consumers. They can change, be mixed with other ideas, and be constantly made fresh.
Format: Accessories are a notoriously difficult market to tap for brands that target youth culture, simply because they are trickier to produce with the same level of detail as a t-shirt or hoodie. Often, independent â€˜lifestyleâ€™ brands will seemingly push accessories as promotional gifts or afterthoughts. That said, Analog boasts a very expansive accessory line. Please discuss the breadth of the accessory collection, and why it is so comprehensive.
Jorgensen: Accessories can be tricky for sure. Just like everyone else we learn each season what works for us and what doesnâ€™t, and will address the size of our offering accordingly. Could get bigger, could get smaller.
Format: How much more room for innovation is there in board shorts? Can you divulge some advancements Analog is making in that field?
Jorgensen: There is always room to make anything better, and better is all in the eye of the end user. So the key with advancing something like a pair of board shorts lies in working with people who use them the most, and gleaning the key points of those minds to create new ideas and features. Not going to give anything else away here.
Format: An interesting phenomenon is how action-sports oriented brands like Analog have recently begun collaborating and working with musical artists. Where is the philosophical intersection between creating a bag for, say, a pro surfer, and an all-star DJ?
Jorgensen: If a brand is like a family, and the real ones are, then music is a natural extension of lifestyles that those family members live. Really anything or anyone that the brand family adopts merits having their ideas heard and ultimately implemented in product if they are good and realistic.
Format: Is there a product that you hope Analog will start developing that the brand hasnâ€™t yet approached?
Jorgensen: We have some ideas and projects that weâ€™re throwing around, but nothing thatâ€™s going to get discussed until the time is right.
Format: In the spirit of innovation, what action sports do you hope Analog will be supporting and enhancing in the next one hundred years?
Jorgensen: Weâ€™ll know â€˜em when we see â€˜em.
More Info: http://www.analogclothing.com/