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Accessories February, 17 2009

Mike23 Way-Fresher Sunglasses Launch | Scott Nelson Interview

First previewed a while ago, the time has finally come – the Mike23 Way-Fresher Sunglasses have been released today. Coming in two colorways and made of premium materials in Japan, Mike23 sets the bar high for their latest product.

The MIKE Way-Freshers are are all hand-crafted for fourty days. Each pair goes through the hands of 100 master craftsmen before final boxing. The lens are Intercast CR39 lenses and are 100% UV resistant. Each pair comes with a lens cloth and a hard case for maximum protection.

The sunglasses can be purchased online here.

Leslie Woods sat down with Scott Nelson from Mike23 to talk about the recent months, the Nike lawsuit, the state of the economy and of course they also touched base on the Way-Fresher sunglasses.

You can read the in-depth interview with Scott Nelson after the jump.

Thinking back to the first time I heard about MIKE, it was when founder and designer, Scott Nelson reached out to me on a very humble email about this brand he had created inspired by his two passions, skateboarding and basketball. Being keen on the brand’s designs and also huge fans of the inspiration behind many of the pieces at the time, we connected and during a trip to New York we became fans of each other’s goals, accomplishments, work-ethics and we became friends.

Three and a half years later, in March of 2008, the brand MIKE was served with not one but three lawsuits from multinational brands including, Nike, Converse (a subsidiary company of the swoosh) and New Era Caps.

In an industry knee deep in parody (see Stussy & Freshjive circa 1990s) and blatant copyright infringement (sneaktip/gourmet/Acapulco gold/etc…) MIKE got the short end of the thread and was forced in-between a rock and the rubber sole of the mighty foot from Beaverton.

Despite the setbacks and legal battles, hope and passion was never lost. Unlike others who may have packed up the lab and headed for the corporate life, Nelson has laid low, never stopping the forward progress, just honing his craft, and his brand.

MIKE the brand previously inspired by all things Michael has returned with new inspiration and vigor, fittingly enough on the same day as MJ’s born day.

Cutting right to the chase, tell us what happened with MIKE in March of 2008?
Whoa….not sure how to say this but, one of my all time favorite brands to this day, that I still support to the fullest, had there legal department contact me with a cease & desist…basically, they had a problem with a few logos I was using, so I got rid of them…..this was awfully bizarre because I had built relationships up with people at this company, as well as several people in the creative departments of this company, who were fans of MIKE…..we were sending each other product and exchanging emails….so, when I received the cease & desist, it truly caught me off guard….there is definitely more to the story here and I wish more could be told but, it is something in the past and I’d like to leave it there and focus on the present and the future….

Fair enough, we’ll let sleeping dogs lie. Would you consider this a sort of comeback for MIKE?
A comeback….whoa…in a sense, I guess you could say that…I was fortunate to be able to take a step back from things and re-evaluate why I do this in the first place….I really wanted to create truly limited (no more than 600 of anything, ever!), must have, season-less pieces….and now, that is exactly what I’m doing….not interested in wholesale…the stores out there in the world have enough brands to deal with and it’s not really my look anyways….keep in mind, that I’ve been designing and selling goods in the Street Wear industry for the past 20 years….I do this because it is who I am and what I truly love to do…..it gives me great satisfaction wen I get emails from people around the world who appreciate what I have done creatively with MIKE…..so moving forward, from time to time, MIKE will be dropping must have season-less bangers…..

Can you tell everyone what you’ve been doing in the past year since finding out you had to completely change the direction of the brand?
The past year was a giant learning experience for me…and a serious lesson to be learned…imagine having all of your endless hours of hard work and determination for the past 3 years of your life, being upheld and stopped by someone…it was unfortunate because I truly believe there is SERIOUS potential for this brand but, it allowed me to also think outside the box for the first time…I’ve really been looking into other types of media to express myself with and footwear is most definitely one of them…at the moment I’m in the midst of tightening up this concept for a footwear brand…samples have been made and now it’s tweaking out things to get it locked…MIKE too has been exploring with samples a bit….and what is being developed is refreshing.

I think that will make a lot of your fans excited to see what’s coming around the corner. Tell us about the WAY-FRESHERs
These sunglasses…well, they are on a take from some flavor from the 80′s. The MIKE Way-Fresher sunglasses are all handmade in Japan of acetate…the crackle pattern I use is silk printed and then laminated between other layers off acetate and the end result is like a snowflake, NO TWO PAIR ARE EVER ALIKE.

The lenses are Intercast CR39 lenses, that offer 100% UV protection and they have a gradient fade [lens]. They’re available in color ways…300 grey with black crackle and 300 gold with black crackle.

I decided to keep the integrity of the brand solid by only doing such a small production run, so that they never get played…nothing is worse than everyone rocking the same thing when you got out.

The new economy is in a very fragile state, what strategies and measures are you taking to ensure that MIKE stands apart and can persevere this recession.

Yeah man…things look bad, are bad and are about to get worse. You have to take a look at what you want to do and decide what is best for the brand and yourself…wholesaling goods is definitely out of the picture [for MIKE]. The goal is to drive people to you…be it your website, or in person…this way people get a better sense of who you are and why you do what you do…I like to meet people who are into what I do…this is what drives me to constantly to create. This is my life and I intend on providing quality products. Just on a more personal, smaller level than before…that way things never get played out and oversaturated.

MIKE has always focused on attention to small details, in both design and concept, you’ve put a great deal of thought into every item and every idea, explain to us the details in this design that go beyond the production.
If you really love what you do and you do it long enough, it will always show through your work. This is the philosophy that I always intend to live by, there is entire thought process that is evaluated over and over, in order to gain the best result. Being a stickler for details is what has allowed me to separate myself from whatever anyone else is doing. I believe the small subtle details in the design of garments or anything at all, is what makes finalizes the piece.

The MIKE Way-Fresher sunglasses have 2 screw hinges on the front and 3 screw hinges on the side for a reason. People are sharp and buyers of MIKE can appreciate the thoughtfulness of why things are done certain ways. The sunglasses are also launching on 2-17 for $217

The progression of Street Wear brands brought out a huge number of accessories, notably glasses, watches, wallets, bags, and a great deal of double label efforts. Mike has always had a strong accessory portfolio of high quality, tasteful, classic accessories without the need for collaboration with other brands. Is there a reason behind that? If so, can you explain why?

I can not speak for other Street Wear brands as to the reason why they do things the way they do but, I’m sure the consumers can figure out why. I mean if you do something with a brand like NORTH FACE, it’s going to be solid but, then is it selling because it was your brand at all?

Many times it’s giant corporate companies that do it with small Street Wear brands to only make themselves look sexy in the corporate world. It does not benefit them financially…and corporations are only in business financially!

Here at MIKE, I always try to figure out ways I can get things manufactured, so I do not have to rely on the strength of someone else’s name…it also allows us to deal with things and learn from the new experience a lot more.

Thanks for taking the time to catch up. Do you have any last words?
Last, I would like to thank everyone out there in the world who has ever supported MIKE….you are all the reason why I do what I do and for the love, I am truly forever gratreful…thank you…

Thanks Scott. Peace homie.
Peace.

Words: Leslie Woods

Photos: Freshness.com

The MIKE Way-Freshers are are all hand-crafted for fourty days. Each pair goes through the hands of 100 master craftsmen before final boxing. The lens are Intercast CR39 lenses and are 100% UV resistant. Each pair comes with a lens cloth and a hard case for maximum protection.

They go on sale Tuesday February 17th for $217 only on www.mike23.com

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