Brand Proflies: Filament with Tim Gavin
Skateboarding icon and man behind Filament Brand, Tim Gavin connected with us to talk Filament, the state of skateboard footwear and his favorite shoes of the past. It feels impossible to talk with you and not mention Tim and Henry’s Pack of Lies. The shoes that you are skating in your part are similar to some of what Filament is making now, over 20 years later. After creating your pro model with DVS, then seeing it get the slimmed down vulc treatment, what do you think is the reason that skateboard shoes have cycled back to being so minimal? A few reasons, one mainly. I feel when the economy took a turn for the worst back in the late 2000's, the recession drove the price point down to a market trend (Vulcanized styles that were very minimal in fashion) that became relevant. Prior to this, technical and pricier shoes were of the trend. I felt like economic conditions really played a factor on why the minimalism exists today. However, me personally, I always enjoyed skateboarding in shoes that had a fashionable aesthetic but were very conducive to board feel. Filament began with a collection of only cupsole models, in a time when vulcanized shoes reigned supreme. Can you share the strategy behind the initial line? Well, it was a decision we made out of the gate as a new brand basically saying to ourselves, there is just simply too much vulcanized product out there. Now we have embraced that we have our own approach to everything from Cup, Vulc, EVA etc. We will always put our Filament Brand touch on all of our product. But I know for a fact, that our footwear is constructed and tested diligently to produce the best performance. That was a lot of our focus and will continue to be, how it wears. What is the primary difference between the approach with Filament versus that of other brands you’ve helped create such as Matix, Lakai and DVS? Different market different consumer. Filament Brand is a footwear brand rooted in skateboarding inspired by creative expression. We embrace the consumer as we see him or her today and hope that they will see the vision of Filament in our product. DVS product got really lame and that was my disconnect with the brand. I didn't agree with where the fat product was headed and I thought certain people were dictating the direction of the brand that didn't see the long term value in it. Lakai is a core skate brand with very similar styles, Filament looks to evolve into a footwear brand that involves every day life on and off the board. In another interview you mention skateboard shoe companies in the ‘00s resting on their laurels and opening the door to corporate shoe giants. What is Filament doing differently in a market dominated by big athletic shoe brands? Again, I can't look at what the corporate brands are doing. But what I have been noticing is the kids becoming aware of the negative effect it is starting to have on our industry. It is obvious the corporate giants have money, but with that much money and no regard for the well being of the industry (Core Retailers) they will buy up the athletes and use the core retailer to get to their ultimate destination without leaving any concern for the damage that was created. Is there anything different about the footwear design process now, versus during your first pro shoe with DVS? Yes, to be honest and open price is a major factor as a new brand. Listen, I can try and create product that we love on a daily basis but if there isnt a customer or market for it in the beginning we will never grow. This company is established for long term success and we do not want to chase brands or other performing models from competitors which seemingly a lot of other brands do..... You’ve seen the meteoric rise of companies you were a part of with Girl Matix, DVS and Lakai. Do you find that there is a strategy that works best with skateboarders? Keep it genuine and honest and support the core environment around you. Filament has a collection of Ambassadors to represent the brand. What room does this give you that is different from having a typical skate team? Again, the brand is inspired by creative expression. Skateboarding, Music and Art are some of the common fibers that we feel come together to create the brand, Filament. I'm at a different place in my life today than I was with my previous brands so, I respect and admire certain things that inspired the brand. Can you name some of your favorite skateboarding and non-skate shoes from throughout the years? Airwalk Enigma I loved back in the 80's. I used to love to cut Half Cabs into a lower silhouette and duct tape the top portion of where I cut it down. What is your personal favorite shoe in the Filament lineup at the moment? The Grafton that comes out in SP16 February. What is the most important detail that people should know about Filament and the collection? The quality for the price is a very important factor to consider with our footwear. A lot of people don't realize this but we all know business is all about making money, for us, we are sacrificing a lot today to appease the customer with high quality shoes with a lower price subsequently making less today as a brand. Consumers just see price but they don't realize the cost of the shoe. We do know that the corporate brands that sale in our space today are over pricing their shoes for the same quality and with the volume their cost of good is half of ours. So, one thing about our collection aside from our design aesthetic is quality for the price. What can we look forward to from Filament in ‘16 and beyond? We are doing a skateboard video with The Berrics and we plan to do some promotion with some of our key riders like Moose who will have his first signature model shoe and will be Filament Brands 1st signature model shoe. Were also looking to do some collaboration with some key individuals that have success outside of skateboarding that are huge influences of the brand. Thanks! Shop Filament Brand online by clicking through here or try on a pair in our El Cajon, Bonita and Solana Beach locations.