By Ryan Dunfee
Shane McFalls, the Traveling Circus' filmer since Day 1, and Erik Olson, regular Meatheads Films and TC talent, have opened a new dawn in the frontier of ski brands with the recent announcement of their brand, the Yoke Collection. The two former college roommates have used their sizable collection of doodles and weird fashion instincts to create a line for the non-Reggae, non-tall-T-draping masses of skiers who would otherwise have to go to a Dr. Suess gift shop to get anything so random to wear on their heads or torso. As it says on their website, "Yoke is all about the stupid, silly, and awesome." We all sat down recently to get the story behind the weird.
Powder.com: What is the Yoke team’s greatest ambition—colonizing Mars or colonizing Quebexico with decent English-speaking people?
Erik Olson: Colonizing Mars, of course. We have considered donating up to 75% of our profits to the research and development of carbon nano tubes. This technology will be used to build the all important space elevators. They’re our only hope for a sustainable bridge to the final frontier.
Shane McFalls: Goals are for losers and nerds.
Does Yoke eat mustard or ketchup?
Erik: Hotdogs get mustard and hamburgers get ketchup.
Shane: Neither, meat is murder.
Where did the name come from?
Erik: I believe we were brainstorming names and added yoke to the list one night. A few days later we decided to go with it. The idea that Yoke would in fact be a yoke for the two of us also made sense. Two heads working together, plowing against the dense soils of the ski industry—something like that. I should note, yoke is different than yolk, if anyone was confused.
Shane: It’s an acronym for Your Own Killer Elephant.
Who did all the designs?
Erik: Shane does all the art and design work. Pretty much everything you see on the site started as a sketch. My art contribution is purely conceptual at the moment.
How much of the style influence comes from Erik versus you? How would you describe Erik’s style versus yours?
Shane: I don’t think it's that different, other than reeling-in some ideas that were a bit too out there for a first line. If it was only me doing this it would probably be way more half-assed and less thought-out.
What size of a run are you doing at first, and where will skiers thirsting [note: almost wrote “thrusting” there] for eccentric in-industry product find the Collection?
Erik: This first year we kept our product line fairly modest in size and focused on one thing, headwear. We wanted our line to be cohesive but we don’t want to define ourselves as a headwear company. We definitely plan on expanding with both functional and casual products in the future. Our current collection features three beanies, and a balaclava, all of which are made in the USA. Two snapback caps, and a T-shirt. All of our products will be sold exclusively on www.yokecollection.com.
Shane: This first winter is keeping it really simple. I am already thinking about a small early spring release that could be really cool. I read somewhere that you are supposed to “design for yourself,” which is pretty much what we are doing.
Will you keep Yoke truly weird by literally selling grilled cheese sandwiches half-eaten by a pro from your team?
Erik: We are going to keep that a mystery for now.
Shane: The f-ing board of health keeps coming down on us. We need to get our food handlers permits figured out.
How aggressively will you self-promote during the TC episodes this year?
Shane: On a scale of one to shameless, shamelessly. Not really though. Fingers-crossed, there will be plentiful Yoke edits leading up to a web mini-movie, with a different style than TC.
What is the most tangential idea you’ve had for the brand so far?
Erik: I would say we’ve stayed pretty well on track. Once we get an idea for a product we go through a series of design drafts. There certainly have been crazy designs that we just can’t do, at least not yet. We have to constantly remind ourselves that this is the ski industry and we aren’t some garage rock, skate punk, art band. Hopefully, if people are receptive to what we are doing, we can incorporate some of our ideas that have been put on the shelf.
Where have you been getting most of your hipster wardrobe up until this point?
Shane: I buy one pair of pants per year. Pretty hyped to get my 2012’s next month.
How many kids have asked to be on the team as of launch date?
Erik: You have to pass an intense hazing ritual to even be considered. Good luck.
Shane: We only accept VHS sponsor-me tapes.
Justify your team roster selection, to a man.
Shane: Everyone on the team is in my imaginary garage band “Killer Pizza” and we will be doing the original soundtrack to the Yoke movie. Live.
We will also assume Erik Olson is company spokesperson?
Erik: I am the man behind the curtain.
You could really bump up your sales by offering a free doodle with every purchase in the first month. Thoughts?
Erik: We take on every order personally and you can expect a bit of our personality on your paper invoice.
Shane: I’ll be putting Andy Parry’s home phone number on random orders.
When can we expect a matching tall-T jacket and pant combo with bright blocked colors in a seizure-inducing pattern? And, will there be a pocket on the back you can’t reach?
Erik: No comment.
Shane: Already prototyping a Rastafarian-themed “cat in the hat”-style tall beanie with cell-phone pocket three feet above your head.
You seem to have taken it upon yourselves to rename all the colors in the rainbow for your own musings. So, go ahead and rename all the colors in the Yoklandian rainbow.
Shane: Yoklandian is analog. We work in the future, where colors are named before they exist.
How many cheeseburgers will it take to get to the bottom of the Yoke?
Shane: Zero. I already said meat is murder.
What is Yoke’s favorite TV show?
Shane: TV sucks. Talk radio is the new new.
And most importantly, what’s the response been on the Newschoolers message boards so far?
Erik: Too early to tell.
Shane: My Mom is super excited about it.
The Yoke Collection's initial line is currently available for your holiday shopping sprees at www.yokecollection.com. We will be reviewing the half-eaten grilled cheese model as soon as possible. That is all… from the future of ski fashion.