(Pull Quote: “We were tired of having to turn toward high-end denim companies that have nothing to do with skating in order to get the quality or look we want.”-Angel Cabada)
What kind of focus groups did KR3W clothing test its name on before setting it in stone? None. “We just thought it looked cool,” explains KR3W Cofounder Angel Cabada about his new clothing venture’s creative spelling techniques.
KR3W is a new Costa Mesa, California-based clothing company that caters to the discerning taste of skaters. The fall apparel lineup features pants, jackets, fleece, hats, tees, and a number of accessories. On October 1, KR3W announced the first release in its signature series of clothing, the Andrew Reynolds jeans. The jeans have Reynolds’ signature screen-printed on the inside of the pocket and is made from preshrunk, black stretch denim. The second release in the signature series, the Greco pants, is expected to be coming down the line shortly.
The other brain behind the establishment of KR3W clothing is rising professional skater, Evan Hernandez. Cabada explains Hernandez’s role in founding KR3W: “He wanted to be involved, and he wanted to work toward partnership. I couldn’t deny the kid, the kid is amazing! E.H. is the future of skateboarding.” There is a business synergy between an upcoming pro in Hernandez and established skateboard-clothing connoisseur in Cabada-who still owns a stake in TSA clothing.
This synergy was exemplified in the creation of the KR3W team. Just two weeks after Cabada and Hernandez decided to make their fantasy of founding a clothing company together a reality, the whole team was onboard. KR3W has a diverse lineup of teamriders, featuring Andrew Reynolds, Erik Ellington, Tom Penny, Anthony Mosley, Evan Hernandez, Trainwreck, Jim Greco, and Greg Myers. According to Cabada, KR3W gives its riders “creative control on their own gear. They pretty much tell us what they want, and we try to make it as exact as possible. We run different cuts from the Tom Penny baggy feel to the Andrew Reynolds fitted look.”
The team has no problem showing support for the company due to their influence over their signature products. Cabada rationalizes this philosophy, stating, “There’s no reason to make gear they’re not going to support.” Skateboarding is fueled by creativity and personality, and KR3W is offering its riders the ability to express themselves through their signature series of clothing.
According to Cabada, the KR3W team has played an important role in the early success of the company. “We do demos, we’re doing RV tours, and the team rocks the gear with no questions,” he says. From September 23 through 31, team members Tom Penny, Erik Ellington, Trainwreck, and Evan Hernandez embarked from St. George, Utah on an eight-day RV tour ending in Lakewood, California. KR3W believes the best way for a team to showcase their talents and their sponsors’ digs is to take it to the street, guerrilla-style. “We just want to be in business for a long time and take care of our people and give to the sport as much as possible,” explains Cabada.
In a highly diversified skateboarding marketplace, KR3W is trying to innovate and create products that are both functional and fashionable-the two make-or-break traits skaters seek in their clothing. “KR3W premium denim is definitely different. I see lots of skaters wearing Diesel, Seven, and so on. What have those brands done for skateboarding lately? Basically, we were tired of having to turn toward high-end denim companies that have nothing to do with skating in order to get the quality or look we want. Our solution was to go the extra mile by sourcing the same top-quality denim, washes, and manufacturing where the high-end companies do, refusing to cut corners along the way.”
Laurie Pevey, owner of Tekgnar skate shop in Austin, Texas, has been carrying KR3W clothing since it was first offered: “We try and stay ahead of the curve, trry to carry stuff before it gets trendy. We like to set the trends.” She explained that when she started carrying KR3W clothing it was simply T-shirts and hats, but when its denim started rolling in, she was sold: “We looked at the goods and felt that they were quality. The fit is nice in the denim.” According to Pevey, name recognition with KR3W clothing is building steam, and many skaters are coming into her shop and asking for it.
KR3W products are available to consumers at online retailers such as CCS, Active Mailorder, SkatePark of Tampa, and many local skate shops. The clothes are distributed in the U.S. by One Distribution, in Canada by Timebomb, and by Sonik in Japan. Products are manufactured in China, Korea, Italy, and the U.S.
KR3W has all the chips lined up to be a profitable company, but when asked if they have plans to diversify from simply making clothing to expanding into other skate-related markets, Cabada replied, “Only time will tell.”