WORDS: Sarah Ward
Most college students care about cheap food, hooking up, and drinking games. Julian Carr dabbled in some of these pasttimes, but he also studied computer science, devised a plan to create a clothing company, and became a pro skier.
Knowing that being a pro has a shorter shelf life than most jobs, Carr started Discrete Headwear in 2008.
"I love snow. I love skiing. It is just another manifestation for my love of this sport," says Carr. In the beginning, he made beanies and gave them to all his friends who conveniently were pro skiers and snowboarders. Over time, people and shops asked where they could find his stuff.
"I literally didn't know a thing about running a brand," says Carr. With the ability to learn on the fly, Carr's initial lack of experience within the business brand side of skiing is practically untraceable. Pumping out over 100 different products, including hoodies, T-shirts, hats, and beyond, Discrete is blowing up. As for its 2014 line, Carr says, "This is by far the coolest stuff we've ever created."
Carr's secret to design: coffee and quality techno music. "Bust out the headphones, color pencils, crayons and good luck. Go nuts," he says. Carr designs everything on his own, though nowadays he has a girlfriend (fellow skier Sierra Quitiquit), who is able to provide a feminine filter when it comes to designing for women.
In addition to creating, Carr has learned the art of balance through managing his business and pro skier life. The key he says—awareness, routine, and discipline. "After a good day of shredding I have to get back to my e-mails that night even if all I want to do is just go to bed…if I ignore it for a day it delays everything."
This discipline helped Carr create the Discrete brand. Pulling from simplicity, Discrete's style and design is clean and simple—something Carr thought the ski gear world was lacking when growing up. Principles Carr learned in the computer science class "Discrete Structures" gave inspiration to his business. Discrete structure is almost a separate entity within the mathematical world, incomparable to any other principle. This aspect of Discrete structure is what Discrete Headwear aspires to be, so unique that it is considered incomparable to any other ski clothing company. Keeping with this inspiration, all the product is named after mathematical and computer science terminology.
To boot, Discrete's logo draws from a Vietnamese-legend-based game, which requires algorithms to achieve enlightenment. Carr's history and these philosophies are as he describes, "an unconscious undercurrent of the brand."
This undercurrent lead to the oh-so-popular "reservoir tip"—no we're not talking condoms—in beanies. Carr's original and favorite beanie, the "Doyonator," was originally cuffed. Taking the cuff out Carr made the beanie longer and baggy. "I thought it just looked cool," he says. Apparently other pros thought so too, and, thus, the reservoir tip on beanies was born.
Looking toward the future and an exciting 2014 Carr still pays homage to his friend and business partner Billy Poole: "He passed away right before the first tradeshow in 2008. He will always be a part of Discrete."