Thursday, October 8, 2009
What follows is a Q&A session with Super Street Bike Magazine and Icon's design director Kurt Walter:
Q: Your designs kicked off an industry wide trend for motorcycle apparel. Did you ever think it would be so widely accepted or did you think it would be disregarded by the community?
A: I felt like the motorcycle apparel at the time (late 90's) just didn't address people like me. I didn't care about racing and I had no desire to look like the Geico caveman. I know that Geico commercial is a joke but it kind of sums up the motorcycle apparel industry mentality, even to this day. Icon was built around the gear that I wanted to wear, something that would survive a crash, but had a contemporary style and fit. I know it's a selfish statement, but Icon gear was made for me, whether the market chose to accept it or reject it never really mattered.
Q: How do you feel when you see your designs being copied by other designers?
A: I have a fair amount of disgust when I see the poor attempts at copying Icon product or image. It's one thing to be influenced by another product or brand, that's a natural part of design, but to just blatantly knock off another brand is low.
Q: Where do you draw your influences from?
A: I am definitely a product of Midwest American culture and that shapes everything I do. My specific influences include science fiction movies, misplaced rebellion, late 80's Honda styling, and grossly over graphiced race vehicles. I think if you blend all those influences in a pot and add a good dose of "America" on top you have a recipe for Icon...or disaster. It's hard to tell until you cook it.
Q: How far can you push the limits before "the man" puts a stop to your designs?
A: I'd like to verbally bash "the man" and say that he keeps Icon down, but the reality is "the man" has been pretty accommodating to us. Icon has had a few issues in the past for which I've had to answer, but in the end things got worked out. We will continue to push our product, ads, and videos. Invariably that will cause some problems with certain thinner skin people. Oh well.
Q: What is the craziest design that never made it to production?
A: The infamous Aluminized TiMax Dragon Jacket. This was a TiMax jacket that was constructed from a material of woven aluminum fibers. It was definitely one of the most bizarre looking fabrics I've ever worked with. In the end the factory built one and refused to build anymore because of the cost involved.