Words by Kevin Duffel, portrait by Mike Blabac
By now you’ve probably seen Chris Cole donned in tee shirts with the letters OMIT scrawled atop a crosshair logo, and frustratingly pondered to yourself what the hell it might mean. Could Omit be his new fake band that’s meant to fill the void the demise of Hotwax left in his heart? Possibly some favorite shirt he picked up at the thrift store? Nope.
Omit, the new clothing company featuring apparel designed and inspired by Chris Cole and his love for classic Americana, is well on its way. Read the following newsHIT interview with Chris for some insight on the development of a brand you’ll definitely be seeing more of soon.
How did the idea for Omit come about, and why did you decide to start your own clothing company?
Well, the idea kind of stemmed from trying to design things for sponsors I had, and just really being into clothing and having a passion for drawing up stuff that I like. It’s quite simple as far as that goes. I’m making things that I want to wear, and no one company was making all of the things that I wanted to wear [laughs]. I didn’t want to subscribe to some company that wasn’t exactly what I wanted when I can go out and take my ideas and make my own thing. It seems like something that is a lot of hard work, but it’s worthwhile work. That’s really important to me–just doing something that’s worth something, rather than a paycheck. That’s really what made me decide to do my own thing, rather than just ride for another company.
Are you pretty much in charge of the whole creative and design side of things?
Yeah. The overall look and feel of the company is up to me, and also who’s on the team, what trips we do–almost like a team management position, just because I’m in the van so much. And then the small details and look and feel of the company as a whole.
“I didn’t want to subscribe to some company that wasn’t exactly what I wanted when I can go out and take my ideas and make my own thing.”
Where did the name come from?
I just like the name. I like the way it looks and the way it sounds. I didn’t necessarily care too much about its meaning. It was the first name on our list, and we had a list of like 200 names. Every time we narrowed it down, that name “Omit” stayed in. And as much as you make the name mean something with your company, it doesn’t matter, really. I mean, it matters to us–we have to live with this thing, it’s like our child, and we’re not going to just give it some shit name…
Where do you draw inspiration from for Omit? Is there anything specific that influences you that you want to bring to the clothing?
Well, our clothing company has a distinct feel in that it’s American iconography. That’s the stuff that has really inspired me a lot, whether it’s the wild west or native Americans, or old world maps, or steelwork, or the Depression. All that stuff is really impacting to me, so I like to put it into our graphics. We also draw inspiration from that for things like the seams they used to use on the jeans back then.
Cole’s been wearing Omit shirts everywhere lately, including Street League Kansas City.
So does that mean you guys are working on a full clothing line–like jeans, jackets, and everything?
Yeah, it’s a full clothing line. It will have everything: beanies, hats, jackets, cut and sew shirts, long-sleeve shirts, accessories, jeans, pants, cords.
How hard is it to make an impact being a small start-up company in a sea of so many large clothing companies? Any major challenges?
It’s a huge challenge, actually. The bigger companies have a bigger budget and design team. They have more means to make things happen. And another worry is, with the bigger companies that are massive like that, if you have a really good idea and put it out and it’s on a smaller scale, they can actually take your idea, do it, put their name on it, and pump it out majorly. But I feel that with our mindset, work ethic, and our vision, we’ll stand out with our own thing. We’re just trying to make really good clothing.
“Our clothing company has a distinct feel in that it’s American iconography.”
I’m sure people are going to wonder how being in charge of a company is going to affect your skating. Do you feel like your life has become a full-on balancing act nowadays?
It’s very hard to juggle everything. Luckily, my family helps so much and I have an amazing team of people around me who can really help execute my plans on many different levels. We have an amazing team at Omit, but I also have an amazing team at home, and an amazing team of friends. My skating gets done when I have time because of my amazing team and my amazing friends who are down to skate when I am, and they’re down to film and shoot photos when I can.
How much does all of this make you respect someone like Jamie Thomas?
So much. It’s something that was really obvious right when I started out. As I got more and more busy, I started realizing all those busy people that were in my life, and how busy they were, and how they still made time for these things, and how hard that must have been. Jamie’s a perfect example of that. He’s got so many things going on, but he also has three children and a wife, and a skate career. I feel like that’s a lot. Like more than most humans can deal with.
What’s in store for Omit? Any video projects or anything major in the works?
We’re gonna go on tour and try to get a bunch of video footage. Once we have what we want, we’ll probably culminate it for some tour videos and stuff like that.
Well to go on tour you obviously need a team. Do you have one lined up already?
We do, but they’ll have introducing ads and stuff, so I’ll keep it fresh until then.
More on Omit here.