On The Scene: Incase Hosts Techlife Retrospective at Known Gallery

The first issue of Incase’s upcoming biannual publication The Leaf will cover the history of their collaborative efforts. 

On Friday August 7, the world famous brand Incase hosted a pop-up shop at the popular Known Gallery located in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles. The evening also celebrated Incase’s new life style publication The Leaf. The Incase pop-up shop featured 18 years of product, showcasing the brand from its conception to their current stance as a global provider for all purpose professional gear.

A diverse crowd of creatives, artists, and athletes were spotted at the party. The entire gallery had a vibrant range of collaborative pieces that displayed the breadth of the Incase product line. Everything from backpacks to phone cases to carry cases and even shoes were highlighted for attendees’ viewing pleasure.We spotted pieces from such brands as Obey, DQM (David Quality Meats), Supreme, fashion provocateur Colette and even the Ace Hotel.

The Knockturnal was able to catch up with Incase CEO Tony Held and VP of Brand & Creative Moses Aipa to get the inside scoop on Incase’s first publication The Leaf and the event.


Tony Held

What was the inspirations behind the pop up and why LA?

First off, the company is located here, we were originally founded in San Francisco in 1997. The inspiration behind the pop up is, it’s essentially a retrospective of every collaboration that we’ve done over the years. So it’s everything that we’ve done from a product perspective and we’ll leverage the space to launch our Kelly Slater signature collection midway through the month as well as the launch of our first by biannual publication of Leaf. Which the first issue covers the complete first history of our collaborative efforts.

With The Leaf, what are some of the lifestyle elements that you guys were looking to implement in the publication? 

Essentially the company is segmented across three different lifestyles, cultural silos we call them Actions, Sound, and Vision. We think about those cultural silos and look at the lifestyle where those are engaged in and where the Mac is at the center of that lifestyle. If we think about action, we can think about anything that’s action oriented, doesn’t necessarily need to be action sports, it could be someone who mountain bikes or stick and ball sports etc. Sound is going to be everything from a student musician up to a beat making producer or someone is actually in an indie band or a recording artist. Vision is going to be everything from an entrepreneur to a graphic artist, visual artist, interior designer, photographer and we look at those cool cultural silos and we look at the Mac at the center of it and we start to build products around that to actually help them enhance and support their lifestyles and what they do.

We often get pulled into that accessory world but really it is much more than that. We do a lot of primary products, so for example if we think about photographers that will fall under vision. And then from there accessories are going to be the insulator supporting power, connectivity, iPhone, iPad, camera straps, lens covers, those are the things that support the hero stories or the anchors and then it does that again through each one of those clusters.

The people who support the brand are bmx-ers, pro skateboarders, photographers — the creators if you will. How do they influence the brand?

It starts at the center with artists and influencers sometimes. I hate to use these terms but we all got to use them. It starts at the middle of that and again let’s look at those cultural silos. Example: John Mayer’s products are down there so we’ve been building guitar products for him since 2004. That’s a testament to the authenticity of the brand in that someone is going to want their first signature guitar to be shipped in an Incase. So we will work with him as an influencer artist to actually understand what he does, how he travels, how he takes his products and start the draft off of that and maybe bring that into your in-line products same thing can be said for Marie Coppola and what we do up here with the photographer and drive that through from a brand perspective it’s going to be everybody from Supreme to Fragment to DQM. It’s about us leveraging us as a design company that’s at the center of what we do. We’re a very design driven company and that’s obviously said about building bags and protective portable solutions and then working with someone like that to really understand more about their world and what they do and build something that is going to help them have a better experience through our good design work.

Also just looking forward are there any brands out there that are just killing it? They may be new brands or something that people may not be familiar with?

We’re trying to work with a lot of local companies. Parabellum is one. We have a great relationship with Mike and Jason. We’re actually doing a collaboration together right now around the Apple Watch. I think they’re doing a very compelling story. That’s the backbone of the US manufacturing that they’re doing in the American bison which is a whole heritage story that people or are unfamiliar with so I’ve known those guys for years and always love what they do. The timing was right to actually do a collaboration with them we’ve got a piece that we’re doing together, then we got a piece that we’re doing three ways with Colette and we’re also working on a bag again with Barney’s. Exciting times, they’re one of the brands that we’re really enjoying right now. Guys that we’re not working with but respect locally include Kill Spencer someone that we know we and we think that they’re doing some great things I’m a bag lover so I don’t just have my products, I’m actually always actively seeking out and buying things. Acronym is another brand that we’re in love with: the details, the materials, the thought that goes into it. With Visvim … you’re going to love the material story and the details that go into it. For us it’s always trying to find those types of companies that are doing that special thing, Dispatch San Francisco is another brand that we love, camera accessories, we think that they’re doing great stuff.

Speak about where readers can get your collaborative pieces?

Collaborative pieces have typically been available on a limited basis, so it was always centered on a launch or endemic lifestyle channels places like Union who carries products, boutiques more in this direction. The vast majority of our bags and sleeves and accessories are available through Apple worldwide we’ve been working with Apple. We pre-date physical retail stores. We’ve been working with Apple before there was a store, we pre-date iPod, we pre-date iPhone, we pre-date iPad, so an amazing opportunity there and then you can find us through more endemic and specialty stores.

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