Our Story


We believe that life should be lived without limits and that your choice of technical apparel should reflect this. All 686 products are created with the goal of pushing current boundaries of design, construction and interaction. Each piece is uniquely crafted to provide more than you expect and push your experience beyond what you thought possible.

 

Our Story

Since 686 founder, Michael Akira West, first stepped on a skateboard as a youth in the early eighties, he immediately had a new addiction and inspiration. The freedom that skateboarding provided birthed a lifelong quest for freedom of expression through all forms of mediums. Throughout the following years, Mike transitioned from skateboarding to snowboarding, working and riding in Big Bear, CA and continually gathering and exploring new ideas including unique apparel based around the southern California snowboard scene. 

On November 13, 1992 Mike officially launched Jib Enterprises, a small collection of snowboard specific outerwear and accessories. What began as a class project during his time at the University of Southern California was now a reality. In 1995 Jib Enterprises became 686 Enterprises as Mike began to travel to larger mountains and encountered a scene and riding conditions vastly different from and far larger than the jib scene of his local resort, Big Bear. 1995 also saw the birth of the 686 SMARTY 3-in-1 Cargo Pant. The SMARTY 3-in-1 purposeful proposition later spawned other intelligent products such as the Toolbelt and Thermagraph Insulation System that are still in the collection currently. 

The name “686” has its roots in numerics. There have been a lot of rumors about the meaning of 686, but 686 stems from personal dates and numbers in Mike's life that all merged together at the perfect time. However personal as it started, the number has now become synonymous with providing innovative, forward thinking outerwear and technical apparel inspired by the outdoors and mountain culture.

686 Technical Apparel continues to be independently owned and operated since 1992.

GLCR Project

The GLCR Project is a standing open call for explorers and testers for 686 GLCR products. Our constant striving to provide technical advancements create the most effective, comfortable and durable products possible has led us to one conclusion, “We Need You.”

686 is bringing a new approach to product development.  We are committed to creating our most technical products through you, the person who is constantly living the adventure. As a GLCR Advocate you will have the opportunity test our GLCR products on your toughest adventures, longest trips and in the harshest elements. Your feedback and ideas will help shape the future of GLCR and 686.

686 is in search of GLCR Advocates to test our products, go on trips and have a large impact on what we create in the future. If this interests you apply at 686.com/glcrproject.

The Compton Surf Club

The Principle is simple, teach new skills, build self-esteem and keep at risk youth off the streets of our local Compton neighborhoods through boardsports and art.

When 686 moved to the Compton, CA neighborhood we were looking at ways to embrace and simultaneously expose the youth to the things that inspired us to build our lifestyles and brands – surfing, skateboarding, art, snowboarding and mountain culture.

The unique challenge of turning down a mountain, standing up on a wave, or riding atop a skateboard under your own balance and power while your best friends are right there cheering you on is an experience unique to board sports and our culture. Having conquered something new that their friends have never tried provides club members a platform to stand up on and be proud.

For this project we have chosen to work with Roy W. Roberts, II Watts/Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club. A portion of proceeds from every Compton Surf or Snow Club item will help support our ongoing volunteer efforts with the Club. View the current collection.

686 Presents The Compton Snowboard Club at Bear Mountain from 686 Technical Apparel on Vimeo.