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.

FD / Virtika Outerwear presents “This Friday” from FD Virtika Wear on Vimeo.

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.

Posted In: First Chair

Add a comment

  • Will Freihofer

    Kayaking recently had this discussion as well, when the BDP (Balls Deep Productions) guys put “Pleasure Strokes” online. Pretty tame compared to this. Difference seems to be that they’re not selling anything, so nobody calls them geniuses.

  • Kyle Johnson

    Strange but I love it. What is the song that starts at 4:24???

  • Jared Frasier

    Short term marketing solution…maybe.
    Long term problems promoting his brand after this…definitely.

  • Doug Bishop

    Oh Jared come on… why do you really think that this type of stuff won’t work? Time and time and time again through history people have pushed the envelope, appealed to a youth audience, pissed off boring adults everywhere and succeeded massively. Its not a new tactic, and I’m shocked that we can grow up and forget so quickly what its like to be a teenage male.

  • Roy Tuscany

    Rogge….back to back banger articles with this one….

  • sdf

    This generation’s anti-authority figure? 80% discounts on a warehouse full of inventory is the sign of a strong brand?

    I’m gonna get real gangsta here and call you out, Powder. It’s late in the publishing cycle and you’re trolling for middle school, summer-campin’ rail straddlers. You and your prep school homies can go on shilling for ad revenues, and dropping platitudes about the ‘industry.’ F**k it, dudes, the boys have condo room at Whistler, and it’s going OFF.

    Let’s call this what it is, a tired old marketing gimmick. If it sells last season’s goods, great. But whatever any of us thinks of it, selling gangsta rap culture to a bunch of middle-class white kids is not breaking new ground.

    Maybe his genius (or whatever) is he baited the press and public to parody ourselves, since the connection between gangsta rap and skiing is absurd in itself, and we media consumers just love to get all worked up.

    Maybe headquartering a ski magazine in L.A. has caused you to get a little off track, emphasizing the ‘industry’ over the sport itself.

    Whatever it is, the original gangstas aren’t selling anything. Monifa is so gangsta, she broke the gangstometer:

    • Mike Rogge

      SDF, my name is Mike Rogge and I went to public school. I wasn’t baited into writing this story, nor did I feel it’d boost our web traffic in the “middle school, summer-campin’ rail straddlers.” Instead, I knew there would be enough people on both sides of the coin, people that loved and hated this video, to post it and make a social commentary on what it really is, marketing.

      While we’re on the subject of “tired old marketing gimmicks,” posting a link to your video at the end of the rant is the same thing. Tired. I haven’t done that since I was a middle school, summer-campin’ rail straddler on Thanks for reading my story. I hope you had a good season.

      • sdf

        Mike, my name is Greg, and I thank you for taking the time to write back. I’m on the far side of my mid-thirties, bald, came from a fairly affluent upbringing, did a couple years at a private school, and facing the prospect of being a washed-up ski bum. I have a youtube channel, but let me be clear that I have no stake in the the video to which I linked, and I wouldn’t promote my own, because my videos suck.

        I linked to that video, which markets nothing (no joke, it’s strictly for your enjoyment) because I find it does break new ground in the collision of rap culture and skiing. But that’s just my opinion, and I don’t mind if you don’t want to watch it. I had a feeling I’d get accused of spamming by posting that link.

        Dude, I thought hip hoppers call each other out. If Powder is the authority, can’t I be an anti-authority figure? You got under my skin a bit, Mike, and I take a bit of mischievous pleasure that I apparently got under yours. BUT, Mike, by my own logic above, if he baited you then he baited me too, and we both equally took the bait. Thing is, you’re paid to write, so I’m the bigger sucker here.

        I watched the video, and was entertained by it. I don’t find its content good or bad, and as a marketing tool, it is effective. Whatever I think of it doesn’t matter, because I’m not FD’s target market.

        Your writing makes an interesting point, but I guess it was your declarative voice that inspired me to comment with a declarative voice right back at you. I made an ass of myself to try to illustrate a point: you can’t just go calling someone ‘this generation’s in-your-face anti-authority leader,’ because of some marketing materials, without a little flak in return. The whole gangsta/controversy/shock value thing is soooo 2 Live Crew, -early 90′s, and that tactic ain’t quite newsworthy.

        And the world keeps spinning round. Sensitive types get outraged at some facebook article, FD sells some product, and we all go skiing, because the season ain’t over yet!

  • Derek

    The first video caused a ruckus last year…but it’s accepted now. Nobody cares anymore, This Friday is already forgotten, on the the next one>>>

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