Finisterre Interview

Now that the artic times are over, I can drop this little interview with Ernie, from the amazing brand Finisterre, that kindly sent me a gorgeous M-65 inspired water proof jacket. It’s perfect for travelling, as it’s light, and neither too warm or too cold.

1- Whats the spirit of Finisterre – what’s the original story behind it ?

In terms of spirit – Fiisterre is a platform for those who work here, as well as for those we work with, it’s here to express, protect and push ideas.  In terms of our product – it was founded to push innovation and technical product, putting the environment at the heart of every decision we make.

Finisterre was created by Tom Kay, he’s been a man of the sea his whole life, he didn’t care for the way businesses were doing things and he set out to change it – one garment at a time.  We’ve since then, won Observer Ethical Awards, RSPCA Business Awards, ISPO green design awards and are quickly becoming one of the most progressive brands in the Europe – winning a Brand New award in 2007 at ISPO (an award which compared over 160 brands across 22 countries in the EU).

From there, Tom Kay got a designer on board – an idealist with a naturalist background, I came on board in 2006 – marketer with action sports experience and we’ve slowly grown it from there.

We now have product on Sherpas, climbing Mt Everest every year, on some of the greatest big wave surfers in the world, BBC camera crews, Independent film makers, cycle around the world record holders, vegetable growers, people who smile, people with soul.

2 – What about the name itself ? I mean people here are quite amused by the name because it’is also the name of a French region

It use to be part of the shipping forecast.  As a boy, Tom Kay would listen to it on his radio and imagine the boats out to sea, literally in the lap of the gods.  This level of commitment, pitting oneself against nature inspired him, he got older, got smarter and grew a company that would constantly roll the dice, challenge convention – pit itself against touch decisions.

3-  Now speaking of the jacket it self, what’s the link to that specific military classic garment

Classic design has always lent itself naturally to Finisterre, take classic cars for example – in order for a car to be deemed a classic, it has to reach 20 years, if it can reach 20 years, then it’s being re-used and if it’s being re-used, it’s better for the environment.  We wanted to create a jacket that had some of the great features of a military jacket – big stash pockets and versatile cuts and then, sprinkle a bit of Finisterre originality – with a shortened zip for cycling, a fabric that is hard wearing/highly breathablewater resistant and wind proof.

4 – What’s your involvement with bike polo or urban sports ?

We’ve been approached by many low key guys involved in the cycling scene.  They come to us for our merino base layers, some come to us because we’re new and others come to us for our ethics.  We were involved in James Bowthorpe’s record breaking cycle around the world and it’s one of those areas that I think our brand and fabrics, lend themselves naturally to.

With bike polo, we like the scene, we like it’s exclusivity and to see it first hand, to see the camaraderie, reminded me of surfing when it wasn’t so exploited.  Back when you were stoked to see someone involved, share stories with etc.

5 – Do you think that practicing such a tricky sport as bike polo is a direct way to import adrenaline activities into our living periphery

If you are asking whether I think bike polo can make it into the mainstream, I would say yes.  The real question, is how it gets there and even more important – the timeline.  Such exclusive sports need time to breathe, they need all the ‘right’ people to hold them first, to spread the idea verbally and this takes time.  The best ideas, sports, things etc are those that are diffused over a period of time.  If the wrong hands get a hold of it, if becomes a fad, if it has the right hands feeding it, it grows sustainably.


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