Name: Colin O’Connor
Location: OC and LA depending on the day
Occupation: Sr. Designer
Background: Going on 10 years in the action sports industry, started as an intern, became a merchandiser, then made it into design….
Lets take a look at Colin’s workspace.
AWKP: Usually the most common and first mention on someone’s workspace is the Iphone. With the ongoing battle between Blackberry vs. Iphone, what can you say to convince the avid Blackberry user to convert to the Apple Iphone?
CO: Ha-ha well my girlfriend has a blackberry (and I used to as well), and aside from seriously lagging on being able to take/store photos, I feel like a blackberry is a still just a phone, where a iphone is a mini computer in your pocket. Everything I do on my home computer I can basically do on my phone, and once they get a solid app/program for you to be able to draw/sketch in vector with the iphone, it’s game over for sure.
AWKP: Being that your bread and butter is accessories, it is no surprise that a Porter Organizer is on your desk. What makes this brand so appealing to justify its high price tag?
CO: Ha I’m not 100% it justifies the high price tag, but I am a fan of Porter. The quality of the organizer is top shelf for sure, and the fact that it is made in Japan obviously makes it more expensive, but I think the Yoshida Company is working with a pretty sweet profit margin. I bought it while we were in Japan, and have to say, 90% of the reason why I bought it was the “hype” that Porter has and about 10% for the actual design. I know for a fact I could get the same kind of organizer at like a Muji or something for way less, but being into design (accessories in particular) I felt like I had to have something from Porter in my collection, and thought the organizer would be a good piece.
AWKP: In reference to the Dodger baseball, are you a fan of the sport? And do you feel that baseball has lost its appeal to the new generation?
CO: I am a fan of baseball and a huge fan of the Dodgers in particular. I personally am really bummed out about what is going on with the Dodgers right now (look up the McCourt family) and hope the MLB organization can get everything straightened out, because I do feel that baseball has lost a lot of young fans and that sucks.
AWKP: For as long as we’ve known you, your always going on ‘inspiration trips all around the world. What specific city is your favorite and why?
CO: I would have to say that Tokyo would have to be my number one spot in the entire world hands down. Everything about that place is crazy and inspiring. People in Japan really care about quality products, so the attention to detail in all aspects of consumerism is awe-inspiring. The people there really commit to trends/looks, and while that doesn’t always translate into great or inspiring fashion, it def makes for something interesting to look at.
However in saying all that about Japan being my number one spot, I would have to say that Hong Kong is a very close second as far as being my favorite spot. I have been going to HK for years and it is not only a beautiful city, but it is always changing, and every time I go back there is something new to see and do. Out of all the countries in the world that I have been to, I could actually see myself living there. The food is amazing, the people are amazing, and once again, everywhere you look there is something to be inspired by.
AWKP: Can you tell us a story/experience about how you got that BAR FACE Coaster while in Japan?
CO: We were all in Tokyo on a design trip while at DC and our boss then told us about a cool little bar he liked to go to while in Tokyo. So we walked from our hotel in the heart of Shibuya through all these little crazy alleyways and finally came to this little ass building. Inside on the 3rd floor is one of the coolest bars I have ever been to throughout the world. The place is the size of a small one-bedroom apartment, and the guy that owns it is also the bar tender. He has done up the whole place with a “mod” theme and plays some of the illest northern soul music. The whole intimate vibe based on the size, plus the owners commitment/love of the “mod” culture makes for one of the best places to escape the craziness of Tokyo.
AWKP: We had to mention the “Fart Fan’ in this interview. Is it really a fan for farts?
CO: Ha-ha it can be… No it get’s hot up in our office, so Yam’s put me onto the little desktop fans. Thing runs pretty much 24/7 and is one of the most key items on my desktop. I dunno why I call it the fart fan, but maybe one of these days after I run a crazy lunch with the crew here I will try to use it to send a fart Yam’s way.
AWKP: Are you really eating those apples or were you a really awesome teacher in a past life?
CO: Ha-ha no they put out free food/fruit here at the office so I like to load up. Plus from what I understand, that whole apple a day thing they say is true, so I’m trying to stay on it.
AWKP: As a specialized accessory designer, what would you say is your favorite style/piece that you enjoy doing the most?
CO: I would have to say hats for sure. I have over 200 hats in my personal collection, and rock a hat everyday so it’s not only my favorite, but also it’s something I’m truly passionate about. A close second however though would be backpacks. These used to be my least favorite thing to work on, but while at LRG I got to go out to Vietnam a few times and work at a bag factory with the pattern makers and sample room, and that completely changed my outlook/opinion about designing bags. They are super time consuming to do, but there is something fun about designing something that is 3 dimensional, as opposed to the flat drawings you do while designing apparel.
AWKP: What would be your ultimate collaboration you would love to work on?
CO: That is a interesting question for sure, I think I would have to go a non “product” route on this one and say that working on curating an art show or something along those lines would be something that I would be into. Coming up with a theme and working with my favorite artists to bring it to life seems like it would be a lot of fun, and something that I could be truly passionate about. There are several brands out there that I would be into working with for sure, but I feel like the whole “collab” thing has gotten a bit old.
AWKP: We know that you are big collector of OG skate/streetwear brand Supreme. What is it about this brand that makes you such a huge collector?
CO: I’m a fan of the cleanliness and consistency that Supreme brings season after season. They have stuck with the same “look” as far back as I have been collecting the brand, and the artists/brands they team up with each season are always top notch.
AWKP: What is your favorite piece you own from Supreme?
CO: I would have to say my Kermit the frog collab toy they did. Not only does it remind me of a fun ass trip to NY, but also I feel that it is the perfect example of the level of collab that they throw down.
AWKP: Its pretty safe to say that Supreme has been a huge influence on you. Where else do you look for towards inspiration?
CO: I am personally heavily inspired by travel and what I see when I am all over the world. From cars, to buildings, to beaches, to cities, all that shit inspires me. As far as people are concerned I am inspired by people that are not only talented, but have a work ethic to match. A couple notable ones would have to be Marc Jacobs and Paul Smith. I love that they can/do pull inspiration from what could seem to be something totally random and turn it into a collection that people literally fiend for. I think anyone interested in fashion needs to see the movie “Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton”, that movie will not only inspire you, but make you realize as hard as you think your working now, you can/should work harder.
AWKP: We know that you were at one time working for L-R-G. Jonas being one of the most influential figures in streetwear history has paved the way for many young designers such as yourself and many of your peers. What would you say made him and his brand such an iconic figure?
CO: I think Jonas was one of the most creative and important figures in streetwear/young men’s fashion that we will ever see in our lifetime. Every interview I ever saw/read with him I was always inspired by how he called it like it was, and was super humble about what he had created. When I went to work for LRG I worked really closely with him and was constantly amazed at how cool he was and how he treated everyone exactly the same. It did not matter who you were, he would listen to ideas from everyone and he was all about taking care people that worked/supported the brand. He literally was a genius, and the ideas that he would come up with randomly are the type of ideas that major companies pay marketing companies millions of dollars to come up with.
I think he looked at the world differently then most people do, and was able to flip that different view into a look/vibe that people were in to. He put together an amazing design team and together they literally changed the game, while paving the road for other guys/brands to come up. If you have not read his last interview with Hypebeast, you need to. The dude was a fucking genius.
AWKP: Any last words or shoutouts
CO: Wear something because you like it, not because you think that what you should be wearing. Everyone is walking around now looking like a lumberjack/dock worker and shit is looking way too cookie cutter. Break the mold, who gives a fuck if the “cool guys” aren’t backing it, if you like it, rock it.
Follow me on twitter! twitter.com/colinoconnor1 Shout out to Yams yams1.com, Charlie stay-classy.com, my girlfriend Emily thebrasshalo.com, Conrad “Rick”, my buddies at TWISS twiss.com, Vicki R., my Chug Ruby, and all the people along the way that have inspired/helped me get to the place I am today. You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with, and I’m blessed to be surround by the best!!!
AWKP: We leave you with a glimpse at part of Colin’s hat collection. This is an AWKP exclusive. Some of these are 1 of 1 and you won’t find these color ways anywhere.