Values & Principles
We are starting Ripton & Co. with the mission of producing the best technical denim shorts in the world. The need for this, done stylishly, seems obvious, and if you’re getting fired up on the tech jort concept it’s probably because it resonates with your lifestyle and values as well. We don’t like most bike shorts, and find that they wear out quickly and have boxy / ugly fits in general. As denim mills globally have learned how to produce fabrics with increasing levels of stretch, jeans have found their way into our wardrobe. But as skiers, hikers, mt. bikers, etc, unless we’re skiing, we are generally wearing shorts, and stretch denim shorts are hard to find. They work for jumping on your bike / going to class, and live throughout the active person’s lifestyle. A well-made technical jort takes a classic work-wear product with nostalgia, character, and history, and adapts it to our active lifestyle.
This is a conceptual melding of the old with the new. Like the current melding of carbon fiber technology with a classic object like a bicycle, a completely reimagined experience is created for human-powered recreation. As we bring elements of technical innovation into stylish streetwear, we don’t need to compromise, we don’t need to wear rubbery petroleum products or Lulu sweat pants on a daily basis, we can wear something with Americana spunk that lives up to our daily needs. Just like putting a modern engine in a classic Porsche, or an electric engine in a Westfalia, we celebrate the past and the future seamlessly. We create innovation by remembering where we came from, who we are, and what’s becoming available, without haphazardly throwing out the old for the new.
Furthermore, in the era of Amazon and digital immediacy, we recognize that products which improve, wear in, with age, and build character over time, are increasingly rare, and a value that’s important to promote in a world strained with growth and consumption. And as Covid-19 has consolidated the size and power of massive American conglomerates like never before, supporting small business is something to take seriously.
We also find ourselves in a divisive American where community is eroding and more and more people are feeling lonely and isolated. We’ve found that riding bikes, skiing, camping, etc, have created communities and bonds way stronger than what’s available in our status-quo social landscapes. We cherish the culture created through outdoor (ski and bike) communities and see it as a powerful way to connect, innovate and solve many of our worlds toughest problems.
Those beliefs are as foundational as our pulse, as we aim to connect a disjointed world around us, and promote trust, shared memories, and a cohesion. As Ripton Co. evolves, we are entering a cooperative ecosystem of outdoor brands, creatives, engineers, and innovators, not an adversarial or competitive one.
The amount of support from friends, companies, financiers, and entrepreneurs, has been overwhelming in the 2 weeks we’ve been live with Ripton Co. Yes we need help with everything right now and we see ourselves as more of a collective, born from a culture and an international community working to birth something new, something radical that shifts the paradigm of what’s possible, of how we can reshape our world in a more beautiful, more intentional way.
A few other principals we’d like to outline are the importance of art (creativity / individuality) and music to the Ripton Co. brand. We’ve grown up watching movies about the ‘jocks’ and ‘nerds’ as opposites. This is a bleak reality as you rob the active outdoorsmen of creativity, and rob the creative of social acceptance. We need to infuse the outdoor and cycling industries with as much creativity, art, and music as possible. Just as when we combine the humanities with technology, we get results beyond the sum of their parts, when we combine our outdoor and cycling cultures with artistry and music we build a culture of depth. It’s hard to imagine rockstars cycling in spandex or using boa laces on anything at all. A musician or a painter understands the ephemeral, the fleeting, the hard to describe elements of life that we all feel on a daily basis. Musical films and documentaries capture this soul or rapture for life beautifully whereas media around “sports” are generally driven by Spartan-like conquests and perseverance. Although winning can be a good feeling it’s not why we get on our bikes, skis, or visit factories and mills around the world to produce jorts!!! It has to be a cooperative effort, making a more fun, vibrant, community in the end, or what is the point at starting in the first place?
-Elliot Wilkinson-Ray originally written December 2019.