Action Sports and fashion industry veteran and designer Jason Bleick, who hails from executive and design consulting positions at major brands like Quiksilver, Volcom, and Analog and launched his own brand EVER in the late ’90s, has a new project. Bleick’s latest endeavor comes in the form of reviving one of the original surf brands of the 1960s, Hang Ten, by creating a premium collection of apparel for the high-end retail segment. As Creative Director of Hang Ten Gold, the brand’s premium label that launched late last year, Bleick has worked to build the new collection from his own nostalgic feelings of growing up wearing the original Hang Ten apparel in the 70s, he says.
The launch of Hang Ten Gold marks the brand’s renewed focus on the domestic market. Returning to US soil and reaching into the archives of its history, the brand and Bleick will work together to build the new premium label, as well as gear up to launch a diverse range of new categories including licensed bicycles, paddle boards, skateboards, surfboards, eyewear, a children's apparel line, and even sun care over the next 18 months.
We caught up with Bleick to find out more about Hang Ten Gold, which retail partners have aligned with the collection, and what’s to come as the brand enters the next chapter and builds on more than 50 years in the surf market.
Why did you take on these projects? What has you most excited about the brand at this time and working to reposition them in the surf market in the US?
I originally was consulting with Kohl’s department store on the Hang Ten brand. After looking through the archives the product brought back memories from growing up in the ’70s. Every time I mentioned Hang Ten to anyone they always had a big smile and a story to tell. Two years ago, I proposed to the owners that I create Hang Ten Gold for the premium market – Fred Segal, American Rag, Nordstrom, Bloomindales, et cetera. We launched in Fall 2012 with much success. There is so much history with this brand, which excites me and gives me the inspiration I need to create this modern version of Hang Ten.
What’s the goal and strategy behind the new apparel collection, Hang Ten Gold?
The goal and strategy of Hang Ten Gold is to create casual luxury modern surf products for the premium market inspired by the original Hang Ten label of the ’60s and ’70s—this will strengthen the brand name at all levels.
What sets Hang Ten Gold apart from the rest of the brand—does it speak to a different demographic, etc? What position do you see for it in the market at this time?
Hang Ten Gold is made of the best materials—and sold at a premium price at the best retailers. Our target customer is 25 and up. The brand is positioned with Saturdays, James Perse, Vince, Free City, et cetera.
What’s the idea behind expanding into some different categories like bikes, boards, children’s and sun care?
It's a California lifestyle brand that started in action sports and our licensees bring the entire lifestyle brand together. This is all done through licensees—Bleick Studio, Inc. consults/directs all licensee projects.
What are the details behind these projects from a licensing standpoint?
The purpose is to also strengthen the brand by introducing the brand back in several categories. We have original, and authentic creative designs such as surf boards and skateboards being produced.
How have the collections been received by retailers? What are your goals as far as opening new accounts and increasing distribution stateside?
The collections have been received very well—with great sell through. A capsule of exact remakes of the vintage Hang Ten styles are in the works for Fall 2014. We are very patient with distribution—opening only the best retailers in the US market. And planning to open hang ten gold retail stores in 2014.
Anything else you’d like to add about Hang Ten’s new endeavors?
Hang Ten Gold women’s coming soon!