Stab Magazine | It's FORMER's First Birthday!
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It’s FORMER’s First Birthday!

A year in review: another excuse to watch Dane Reynolds’ ‘Chapter 11’ and a look at Former’s latest capsule, ‘804 Yale’. 

news // Feb 24, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

“I don’t ever wanna let some dude sitting in an office, crunching numbers, dictate my self worth” – Dane Reynolds in Chapter 11.

Today, Dane is dictating his own terms under his and his close friend’s brand, FORMER.

On the 1st of November, 2015, Dane peeled off the Quiksilver sticker which had adorned his nose for the entirety of his career; leaving behind a lucrative contract, at a time when Dane’s career was slowing and his family was beginning to prosper.

One year later, November 2016, Dane released his transparent magnum opus, Chapter 11 – in our eyes the best surf memoir ever made—addressing the anxieties of contest surfing, consistent pressures to perform at his best (whether self-imposed or not), and, of course, some of the best surfing you’ve ever fucking laid your eyes on.

Ideas about starting their own brand were first raised when Dane, Craig, Austyn and the departed Dylan Rieder, met on the Team Average trip for Monster Children in 2012; “but it wasn’t really so simple with being sponsored and whatever” Dane pointed out.

Upon Chapter 11’s release, rumours of Dane and Craig starting a brand had been circulating for a number of months, and early working titles such as ‘Destroyer’ were released publicly (by us) and consequently relinquished. Later on, obscure and subversive Instagram posts began to appear, littered with nonsense phrases such as “Luxury 29.99” 

Chapter 11 was the first real look at the thought processes running through Dane’s brain in relation to his time at Quiksilver, which inevitably led to his departure, allowing the previously planted seed of starting a brand to flourish into FORMER. 

On the 24th of February, 2017, one year ago today, this seed saw the light of day, Former launched its first range at Former.xxx.

A range of tees and other garments were launched, ones which weren’t dialled with a particular aesthetic or target demographic in mind, rather a range of designs developed by “just throw[ing] everybody’s likes and dislikes out there and tried to meet in the middle.” says Dane.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/224092189

In this first 12 months, Dane, Craig, Austyn and Warren have released two major collections, each in conjunction with an individual pop-up store and video edit, ‘Luxury 29.99’ in Surry Hills, Sydney and ‘Premium Violence’ in Echo Park, Los Angeles. 

More recently, this past week the boys have released a smaller capsule entitled ‘804 Yale’, in line with the opening of FORMER’s Chinatown LA, store. “We will be doing more of these smaller capsules before our next big range, which will feature an Austyn Gillette skate part” Warren said about the capsule.  

Luxury 29.99 brought with it seven-plus-minutes of Craig’s idiosyncratic tucked knee sliding.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/205003564

Whilst Premium Violence was paired with a video short for the ages – Dane Reynolds eponymously titled, “Premium Violence” – it won SURFER’s best short in 2017 and re-won the hearts of any Dane Reynolds doubters. Just when we thought nothing would ever replace “Sampler” as the go-to edit to generate stoke.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/232404251

Beyond capsules and clips, in their first year, FORMER have also signed Oscar Langbourne, a young Australian prodigy – not dissimilar to Craig with a young but dialled style. As well as a skater, who shares a last name with Craig, Jake Anderson.

It isn’t all just mystique social media marketing and epochal films though; Dane, Craig, Austyn and Warren have worked tirelessly in the past year to promote FORMER across multiple platforms in order to achieve their ideological goals. Designing collections, organising production logistics and scheduling locations for each pop-up store – sourcing a suitable location for these stores is no easy feat either. 

Technically, FORMER is a business, but in reality, it’s less of a money-making scheme and more of an artistic outlet; an outlet which also provides those interested, with garments designed and produced by the surfers and skaters they’re most inspired by.

At the same time they’ve – somewhat – managed to bridge the gap between surfers and skaters, as Dane said,  “surfers want to be skateboarders and skaters want to surf, but think surfers are kooky”.

“Signings, the brands, it’s just fake and it’s silly. All the surf companies are just ripping each other off and trying to make their shit stretchier and brighter, and it’s just eggy,” said Dane last year. And perhaps FORMER is what is needed to remove the current trends in surf biz. 

Whether their ranges satisfy your aesthetic eyes or not, you can’t help but respect Dane, Craig and Austyn who have left behind coin-laden sponsorship contracts – seven figures in Dane’s case – to pursue a project their minds and hearts were behind.

“What’s important, is it money, legacy, glory? For me I just want to live with integrity, back myself and do shit that I’m proud of” – Dane in Chapter 11. And Former is one of those things Dane, as well as Craig, Austyn and Warren should be proud of.

This week, Former’s newest range ‘804 Yale’ dropped online and in the new Former store. ‘804 Yale’ is centred around photos from the neighbourhood and each shirt was hand-printed in the FORMER garage. If you’re in need of a new kit, you can feast your eyes upon ‘804 Yale’ and their earlier capsuls here or visit the new store at 804 Yale Street Los Angeles CA 90012.  

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