Once in a Lifetime (Collective)

With the Spring ’10 drop ready to hit the site in just minutes, we’re stoked to rep Lifetime Collective heavy this week. Featuring some of the illest denims in the marketplace, innovative jacket cuts as well as thought-provoking and crazy collaborative tee, we have a lot to go through and it’s gonna be a blast. Stay tuned to get a close look at the latest madness throughout the week and read below for the Lifetime story.

The Road Less Traveled

It was in the spirit of the “do it yourself” work ethic from influences ranging from the arts, music, skateboarding, snowboarding, world issues and culture that truly brought good friends Reid Stewart and Trevor Fleming to form a company. It was from this DIY mentality and creative necessity to use clothing as their medium of self-expression that in 2002, Lifetime was born.

From the beginning they never had qualified backgrounds in the clothing business nor did they have the money and know how to really make it in an industry known for its competitiveness and cut throat mentalities. This was real life. Any notions of Kansas and far off paradises were swiftly ended. These were the early days, which made for tall mountains to climb and vast valleys to cross. Although daunting, the two wouldn’t let these hurdles of money and industry expectations get in their way. Starting something that was more than just a clothing company, but a community was their vision, and they were bound to fulfill that dream. Do you think Joe Strummer thought it would take a qualified guitarist to start a band?

The two came out of the early snowboarding and skateboarding scenes in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s, a place in time where these two disciplines were vital to their future direction and life endeavors. It taught them to become individuals and express their selves through other means rather than the uniform standards. It let them look at the world from a different angle under a different light. Realities of the world were becoming more evident, which created a deep sense and feeling of wanting to make change to live a life of substance. Art and music were embraced as huge influences on not only themselves but also the direction of what Lifetime was about to become. Creativity was the focus and the motivation was the fire.

The first project was a series of t-shirts made with original artwork, taking from the spirit of early skateboard graphics and using them on tee shirts as a the platform for communication. From there they felt anything was possible. It kindled the fire to move forward and not look back. The only natural step from there was to start calling on friends both new and old to help them along the way. Without friends what do you have? And it was with this help from their friends and family to truly create a small but growing community, which was then coined “the collective.” They designed from Trev’s stepfathers place and shipped from the basement. Sales for the first year were small, but it really didn’t matter. Money wasn’t everything.

As time rolled on they started to become a little wiser to the game with helpful advice and direction from their friends and family. They both gained an understanding of what if took to make and manufacture a full collection more than just tee shirts. They traveled, created opportunity to make new friends and they realized how great their existing one’s had been. These were also the tough times. It was a part of the journey where they experienced growing pains, hardship and dealt with what it was like to be involved in a business and its struggles. This was no longer a two-man show although that’s all they really had. They made mistakes and a lot of them but for what it was worth the two learned a hell of a lot during those days. They learned about what we liked and didn’t like about each other and what it took to form a team. Years later after looking back on it all the early years were the ones where they learned everything. Or so they thought. Life.

In 2005, after having designed and produced five collections, expanded the sales force, showed the line at trade shows, gained momentum in stores and among the community, they started to grow internally. With maturity and the realization that this was no longer a fun project Trevor and Reid hired their first employee. Nick Brown was the new general manager and partner in building the foundations necessary for future development. Hiring Nick allowed the two to work on their strengths; which consisted of design, art, marketing, networking and direction for the company. Nick came from a similar background and had some great experience in how a company should work. It didn’t take long for them to all gel and really make Lifetime the way they envisioned it. The three are now in the midst of continuing in a forward manner where new and exciting opportunities live. From growing international sales, creating stronger collections, building relationships and providing more awareness of the Lifetime name in the market. They hope these words reach a listening ear and lend a hand to those of you inspired to create as others have done for them.

Thanks for reading. Create something.

The Lifetime Collective


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