Breaking Down “This Friday”
Hip-hop, guns, and selling outerwear, thoughts on FD Wear's latest edit
Ed’s Note: This video is not safe for work or children under 18.
A trust funder, a wangsta, and a joke. One could call David Lesh all of these things, correct or not. About the only thing you can’t call David Lesh is stupid. You can’t ignore him, as evidenced by the shit-storm created over his last two edits released under the FD Wear name. He remains the only brand to have stories on every major ski media website at the same time and subscribes to the “no press is bad press” mantra. While other outerwear companies attempt to sell their gear on merits like three-layer, next level breathable technology, Lesh moves his product on an image of gangsta rap, objectifying women, and crazy hood rat antics. The amount of space in his warehouse demonstrates there is a market for it.
Hip-hop culture has permeated other markets. Jay-Z has sit-down meetings with the President, Lil Jon owns a vineyard, and Nelly makes workout videos. Even Ice Cube, star of the original Friday films Lesh’s edits borrow their name from, does Disney movies. Perhaps the reason this edit will cause a ruckus is skiing feels it can’t change. It can’t allow for something like this to be accepted. Or maybe, it’s because we can’t envision a skiing youth full of baggy outerwear wearing kids that listen to hip-hop and gesture trigger fingers with their gloves. But, that notion isn’t true.
Tanner Hall’s presence near the top of skiing over the last 10 years refutes that argument. Henrik Harlaut thanked Tupac and Biggie (and Sarah Burke and C.R. Johnson) after winning the Winter X Big Air. Haters gonna hate, but no one is hating on the culture.
No, this isn’t about hip-hop. This Friday is as much a parody of FD Wear as it is a promotional edit. Much in the way Vin Diesel didn’t actually steal and race Honda Civics, Lesh and friends didn’t blow up a plane carrying two women, or steal an SUV from the Breck parking lot. Though he might live his life a quarter mile at a time, Lesh is acting and skiing, which makes for something different, diverse, and funny. The appearance of former Winter X Big Air gold medalist Alex Schlopy, Marc Frank Montoya, J.F. Houle, and Hall, show they’re in on the joke.
It appears Lesh has an affinity for firearms, and may find less than happy folks in nearby Aurora. New legislation in Colorado will probably make it difficult to increase his artillery. The timing is off; with President Obama and Congress fighting back and forth over how much right we as a nation have to bare arms. In marketing and media, timing is everything. But maybe the local news will pick it up and the company will move more balaclavas. Coincidentally enough, on a chairlift this winter, Lesh admitted he doesn’t own firearms and supports stricter gun control in general. Like I said, acting.
Ignore him you cannot. He is this generation’s in-your-face anti-authority leader, even if it is mostly a facade. At POWDER’s annual Thread The Needle outerwear event at Solitude, Utah, which Lesh attended, I didn’t see a Paul Wall-grilled, gun-toting thug. He treated everyone respectfully, including his girlfriend, and I thoroughly enjoyed skiing with him. When skiing with editors, I saw a well-spoken man promoting his goods in the same vein as the Flylows and Patagonias of the event. The branding is different, but the message was the same: buy my product.
Ultimately this video will do exactly what it was intended to do, which is get people talking about a relatively new brand at a time when people aren’t necessarily thinking about outerwear. The TGR and Newschoolers forums will be at odds. TGR will say it sucks and is horrible. Newschoolers, for the most part, will love it. Some will even head over to the FD Wear Store and make a purchase with a discount between 40 and 80 percent off. And that’s exactly what makes David Lesh a genius. As we all know, a warehouse full of inventory has less room for guns and chocolate milk parties.
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