Style is definitely becoming more of a component in the X Games — both on and off the hill — in what they do and what they wear. Premiering this year was, not one, but two fashion shows — both at the Wheeler Opera House.
One runway show was devoted to mostly on-hill garb, while the latter was geared to après, in-town wear. Colors were mostly muted, with pastels prevailing along with basic beiges, greys, and browns with a few reds for punctuation. Familiar brands like Burton, Oakley, North Face and local brand High Society represented, but there was a newcomer, with a material called Repreve, introduced in 2006.
Actually, the hot commodity that everyone wanted and wore at the X Games, if they were lucky enough to score one, was the soft and cozy Repreve beanie that was given away by Unify, a company out of North Carolina that utilizes recycled materials in fabric. Hundreds of neon green heads lit up the crowd on any given day or night, including my own, as we donned their signature hat, which is made from six recycled plastic bottles!
Elena Hight, medal-winning snowboarder, teamed up recently with Unify, designing a line of clothing for Volcom, which launched last year.
“The environment plays such an important role in winter sports and we can help make a difference by recycling and choosing products made with Repreve,” says Elena. “Not many people know that Repreve is a recycled ingredient that makes so many of the clothes we buy eco-friendly. ... It’s really cool to know that the bottles we recycle at the X Games could actually end up in my clothes.”
You can find Repreve in many brands like North Face, Patagonia and Polartec. It is also used in car seats for the Ford Focus Electric and the Fusion. In 2012, United States production of Repreve reclaimed more than 410 million recycled plastic bottles with global production able to reclaim more than 629 million bottles. One company can make a difference.
Hight also made an appearance at the B4BC (Boarding for Breast Cancer) fundraiser event at the Caribou Club. The non-profit foundation focuses on youth education and awareness about breast cancer, the importance of early detection and the value of an active lifestyle. We all enjoyed a terrific performance by indie bluegrass band HoneyHoney, made up of a male drummer/guitarist and a female vocalist/fiddler, who were a perfect match for the intimate surroundings of the Caribou.
A photo booth was set up taking pictures of the guests in a series of impromptu poses, which actually felt like a real photo shoot. Jeff Sanford, who has a great eye, was the photographer from Neverspring Media. Silent auction items including art, jewelry, autographed gear and products were provided from B4BC’s partners The North Face, Nixon, GoPro and Volcom. I liked Volcom’s philosophy. With every piece sold, the company donates $1 to help B4BC achieve their mission. “Wear it. Create awareness. Help save lives.” It’s my pleasure to wear it.
If you saw some dudes wearing some outrageous hair fashion, chances are they were styled by master barber Steve Vilot of Sim’s Barber Shop, from Pittsfield and Great Barrington, Mass. Having been a camp counselor in that area many years ago, I can tell you that it’s not exactly a mecca of avant-garde style, hairstyles or otherwise. But things may have changed with the appearance of this “barber to the stars” who has created hair-art on the likes of NHL’s Boston Bruins. As I spoke to barber Brian O’Rourke, Vilot was giving haircuts to members of Pearl Jam and the Dave Matthews Band who were in attendance at the Games. The funky makeshift “Uncle Jack’s Parlor” barber shop at Buttermilk was open to the public at the games to emblazon your favorite sports team logo or anything else you might request on your head.
“It gives a good flavor to the show,” according to O’Rourke. The edgy, painted styles I saw on some guys certainly turned my head. Why should women have all the fun?
Last, but not least, my favorite question of the X Games: What would Shaun White wear on the ultimate night of competition, when he would win, as usual, in Snowboard SuperPipe? We should just start calling it the Shaun White Invitational, I thought, after watching him fly higher than anyone else with a record-setting amplitude of 24 feet on his second run. It earned him a winning score of 98, bettering his two runners-up, Ayumu Hirano, 14, of Japan, and Markus Malin, 25, of Finland.
At the post-race press conference, White was wearing a simple black denim-like jacket with large gold grommets embellishing the chest and all around the hip. He told me he found it in a vintage shop in New York City. It provided a perfect backdrop for the big gold medal he wore proudly around his neck. Nice planning, Shaun.
When I asked White why he cut his signature long, curly, red hair, he simply responded, “It was time.”
He actually donated 10 inches of his “Flying Tomato” coif to Locks of Love, a charity devoted to providing wigs to cancer patients going through chemotherapy. Maybe he flew just a little bit higher this year because of his lighter, more streamlined ‘do.
I also liked Malin’s whimsical faux tuxedo front on the pullover under his simple brown jacket, to which White responded with playful envy, saying that he should be wearing it. Perhaps, next time, we will see the six-time X Games and two-time Olympic champion sporting his own version of proper formal wear for his very elegantly-executed evening event.
And kudos to our own Ramona Bruland, the new on-air host for ESPN’s broadcast of the XGames. She looked and sounded great in her colorful purple jacket and hot pink beanie. Being an avid snowboarder and outdoors sportsy type herself, she gave credibility to her commentary. We’ll see her next time in Tignes, France at the European X Games.
You can see more photos of the X Games participants on Giovanna’s blog, fashionistainaspen.com. Your comments are welcome.