Oakley’s performance eyeware turned 30! And to celebrate and launch the beginning of even more fun in the next era of their company they threw a #DisruptiveByDesign party last night. In the goodie bags? These special edition Disruptive By Design Oakley Eyeshades. These are part of their Heritage Collection which “salutes the evolution of a revolution by bringing back vintage rarities for a limited time.” In the collection are Eyeshades, Razor Blades, and Frog Skins. And while these resemble the classic Eyeshades, they have been updated with an improved nose pad, and come with both curved and straight ear stems… and details like the 2014 inside the frame, and ‘Disruptive by Design’ etched into the bottom of the lens! The special Microclear bag for storage/cleaning has a special sketch of the original design on them, and the packaging and bag have fun retro Oakley logos. They also look pretty amazing on NOTpuppy, Bucky! Check out all the details on the next page…
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It is always amazing to see some of my favorite things come together… in this case, The Macallan and Oakley have teamed up to created quite the limited edition: The Flask. And to be clear, the specialty of this set isn’t just the flask itself, but also the special elixir contained with it - The Macallan’s first-ever, single cask All American Oak Scotch Whisky, described as: “Its lemon citrus and spicy wood flavors make their bold introduction, then are tempered by rich, creamy notes, ultimately smoothing into a sophisticatedly balanced heady, sweet finish.” And only 550 limited editions of gift sets of The Flask with the accompanying 22yr single cask All American Sherry Oak Scotch Macallan will be available. (You can also buy the Flask alone here though!)
As for The Flask itself, Oakley did quite a job! The inner flask is laser welded, food grade steel wrapped in carbon fiber composite that is treated to an intensive passivation and electro-polishing procedure then clad in black anodized 5-axis machined aerospace grade aluminum. The bottom is rubberized for non-skip gripping. The cap is double sprung for ergo sipping. There’s even a small rectangular air vent on the side of the machined aluminum funnel for ventilation… and it screws precisely into the mouthpiece so you don’t lose a drop.
Take a peek at the stunning collaboration on the next page - as well as a video of them having fun testing the flask (drifting into it, yanking it, filling it from a hellicopter, dropping it, and generally having far too much fun with some stunning cars)!
Oakley does lots of customs - from sunglasses and googles, cases, watches, and even backpacks! One of the latest customizations are their classic frogskin sunglasses - I love how subtly you can customize them with a tiny etching on the lens (like where you normally see polarized or a brand name). Oakley offered me a pair to try out their customizer so here’s a peek at the NOTCOT Oakley Custom Frogskins - I went with a polished clear frame, black iridium polarized lens, and NOTCOT etched in the lens… so easy and pretty fast, take a peek at the details on the next page!
Oakley Airwave Goggles with built in Heads Up Display are launching on Halloween! And we had the pleasure of trying them out when we were in SF… i kid you not, the heads up display is gorgeous! Watching full color video in the little prism screen to the bottom right of your periphery was better than you’d expect. And i’m sure in due time, you stop finding yourself tilting your head down and to the right, as if you’d get a better view of it as i did… especially when you have stunning slopes filled with powder visible through the rest of your goggles!
As for what you can control and see in the Heads Up Display - there is everything from GPS/Navigation (routes for a lot of the best slopes around the globe are pre-programmed in), Buddy tracking (you can even find your friends who don’t have goggles, so long as they have the app), Music controls, Speed, Jump Analytics, and more! Of course, via bluetooth you can also pair it with your smartphone and view incoming calls and texts and access your playlists… all controlled by glove friendly wrist remote. The HUD itself comes from Recon Instruments, using “innovative prism technology to display information perceived by the wearer to be the size of a 14-inch screen that is five feet away, so refocusing the eye is not necessary.” And it really is surprisingly good in person. The accompanying app will be available on both Android and iOS, and no worries, even when your phone isn’t connected (or the battery dies) the goggles have built in GPS, Accelerometer, etc so all your data is stored locally until you connect to your phone.
For the best explanation of how it all works - take a look at the video on the next page! And for now, i’ll just keep dreaming about when Oakley takes this further and integrates the fun HUD into more products for every day life!
p.s. It’s worth noting that there’s a HUD SDK available - so if you can dream it, you can make it happen!
The latest from London-based editor, Justine Aw.
This morning, we got a sneak peek at ‘Designed to Win’, the new exhibition that opens to the public tomorrow at London’s Design Museum. The exhibition celebrates design in sport, created in association with Oakley focusing on the the relationship between design and performance and function, looking at how new materials, fashions and technologies have transformed sporting equipment. The exhibition wasn’t quite finished yet and you can see the finishing touches going up in our photos, but it should all be up and running for the big launch tomorrow! More photos on the next page.
CES was a lot more relaxed this year when Friday night i hid out with Oakley’s 3D Optics Team and Macallan in a suite party and so many amazing friends popped by too… also the perfect way to get a relaxed, fun view of their new 3D glasses while sipping some delicious Macallan 25 (omg, so good) and also play with their ice balls… and the vegas views from up in the Aria were a gorgeous sparkling backdrop! And in between, i couldn’t help taking a bunch of silly pictures you’ll have to peek at on the next page!
Oh! And i learned a lot about the 3D glasses world too… i’ll admit at first i couldn’t understand why i needed some if i didn’t have a 3D tv, but imaging going to someone’s house who does have one (and not enough glasses for everyone) or bringing your own that are more comfortable, better optics (and definitely look better) than the ones in theaters? Also, who knows where those others have been??? Whether i’m ready to have a pair handy in my purse at all times remains to be seen… and imagine a sports bar looking like this? But i’m definitely warming up to the idea of having my own for when those 3D situations do pop up! Anyhow, back to the pics! See more pics of the view, the glasses, the Macallan, and more on the next page!
Ok, in addition to my so called “packaging fetish” ~ i have a fascination with marker renderings. Yes, digital is fun and all ~ but there’s something so gorgeous and amazing about marker rendering too… and then when you mix the analog and digital for even cooler outcomes (more on that later!) Well another fun discovery while down at Oakley HQ ~ i got to check out the sketches behind the box and new shoe design they just launched with Chip Foose! Foose is known for his amazing hot rod designs (Youngest to be inducted into the Hot Rod Hall of Fame). In fact this weekend, Oakley has just released the Oakley Three Palms shoe at the National Hot Rod Association’s US Nationals where Foose is the grand marshal. So take a peek at the design behind the packaging and shoes on the next page!
Retro designs keep coming back lately! And remember the fun fact that Oakley started in 1975 with BIKE GRIPS? Well, their initial product was made of a special material, Unobtainium ~ and this also crossed over into their eventual eyewear lines, but it started first with the B-1B ~ and they’ve brought the design back in an extremely limited edition run, with an updated newer, softer rubber compound - and a 2010 stamp is embossed on the ends of the grips ~ they will be available in 5 colors, here’s a peek at blue and white and the black and grey… and more to come! In fact they even used fun retro inspired packaging! They gifted me a few pairs when i popped by their HQ today ~ and it was such a gorgeous day out, and we were joking around that “B-1B Guidance System” sounded like it could be for missiles… so naturally, had to take some pics of them in front of their huge missile before i left! See closeups of the packaging, the grips, and a peek at vintage models on the next page!
p.s. UPDATE! Check out the super limited edition NOTCOT black and white grips here.
Took a little field trip down to Oakley HQ today in Foothill Ranch, CA ~ and am smitten with the new collaboration - Oakley Artist Series Fuel Cell sunglasses by Don Pendleton. There’s something so awesome about the simple lines ~ the green, blue, black, and white ~ and best of all, the adorable creatures hidden within! You keep finding more and more of them as you stare into the patterns… see more close ups of the sunglasses, the packaging, and even the skateboard designs on the next page!
When i visited the Oakley HQ a few months back, one of the things i quickly became obsessed with was this artist edition Antix Oakley collaboration with Mambo. Yes, its from fall 2009 ~ but how did i never notice? And how did no one tell me about 1) how amazing the concept is and 2) how cool the packaging is~ particularly in how it opens! It’s fun enough i even had to make a little video for you on the next page so you can understand what i’m talking about! But first, back to 1 ~ the concept! Why do i not have more toys that serve a higher purpose… like holding my sunglasses on my desk and looking pretty cool while doing it? With details down to certain toes being lifted up, thumbs to hold it in place, a little red tongue… It’s a stunning toy. And a mind blowing glasses holder. And we haven’t even gotten to the beautiful art work adorning all sides of the box, the sunglass’ sleeve, and the sides of the glasses themselves. See more of Flavien Demarigny, franco-hungarian artist, born in Santiago, aka Mambo’s work here. As for the details i can’t stop gushing about on this stunning Oakley artist collaboration… see the pics and video on the next page!
Swinging us back towards man made design (vs the little nature sidetrack of posts!) ~ here’s a sneak peek at something i wish i had on this trip!!! While at Oakley HQ ~ i got a quick lesson on military gear ~ and really amazing to hear some of the design/user experience stories. I also had no idea quite how much military gear Oakley made (they’ve been in partnership with the US Armed Forces since the 80s)… also this is where many of their most innovative patents arise! (If you’re curious, apparently Shot Show is the place to go keep up on it all in person ~ and to browse online check out - US Standard Issue - Oakley’s Military & Gov’t Sales site.) Incredibly ergonomic, thoughtful design ~ and some smart fun details/research that luckily creep over into their retail lines as well!
My favorite discovery was the MultiCam pattern LSA (Land Sea Air) Boot ~ ridiculously lightweight, dries nearly instantly (drainage mesh in the soles), super grip soles, and even fits into fins… drop in from the air into the sea, swim up to shore, and you’re already dry and good to go. Well, your feet anyhow. Now adapt that to civilian design, and it becomes a stunning black/grey super water shoe with a design that is oh so oakley, and far more fun than other water shoes on the market! Bring the height up a bit, and i’d give up my dive booties for it! I’m wishing i had these right now for running around in the low tide over all the coral shrapnel! The LSA Boot wont be available for military until later 2010… and this civilian super water shoe is merely a prototype… but let’s keep our fingers crossed that it makes it in to production! See more shots of it all on the next page!
I feel like such a tease. I keep showing you parts of Oakley HQ, but not the insides… well not the normal insides, just the secret bar so far. And since these are in fact their real offices with 1500 people or so… there is a lot of work going on, and the majority of it confidential… so for everything i CAN show you, just know that there were probably 10 things i was dying to take pics of to share with you… whether they were prototypes, new designs, renders, sketches, or even amazing future wall tiles that i’m still lusting after… BUT that being said, take a peek at how awesome the architecture is, a peek down memory lane of Oakley’s history, the ejection seats CEO Colin’s waiting room… and his mine… camouflage covered cubicles… a few allowed sketches… the GI Joe looking guy dropping out of a helicopter on me when i looked up… machine gun in the hallway… AWESOME diorama’s to put your childhood shoebox setups to shame… and a bit more.
On Oakley fun facts: Did you know the name came from that adorable dog up there? And you can see the original 70s acorn logo from their bike grip days on the next page too!
Ok, so i have been calling One Icon, Foothill Ranch - Oakley HQ, but part of me feels like i should be calling it Oakley’s Secret Lair. or Oakley’s real life video game set of a compound (it’s very steampunk industrial massiveness)… or… yea, you get the idea. And since its friday, and closing in on Happy Hour in my time zone… next up i had to show you their SECRET BAR!!! Seriously, its behind a secret panel, in a secret location, that i promised not to share… so long as they let me show you some of the awesome lustworthy details of their bar… like the Marais stools i loved (which so happen to be on sale at DWR today)… the floor plan of the Secret Lair etched into the glass table… the walls covered in signatures and notes of what i imagine are Oakley folks and friends… their amazingly design taps (made by Oakley designers of course)… SO ~ if you happen to find your way over to Oakley, see if you’re lucky enough to go have a drink in their inner sanctum… the ER. Or perhaps you can have a top secret meeting in there, amongst the buzz and humm…. oh, i’ve said too much. Good luck finding it! See the few pics i got permission to share on the next page…
So, today was incredibly inspiring. Popped down to Oakley HQ in Foothill Ranch ~ and was quickly overwhelmed with everything from the beautiful view on the drive into the space… to the entrance… to the design studios… architecture… ejection seats… history… future… and secret bar… but, lets start outside. Between the Helipad and the Tank out front… POMEGRANATES! Tiny clementine sized pomegranates growing on the more adorable bushes lined the pathway between. And i was tempted to climb on the tank… but didn’t, and in retrospect, i’m now extremely curious what those little pomegranates taste like. But before we get inside the building… take a peek at at the fun outside Oakley.
Oakley's Minute Machine Watches have left us intrigued as to the thickness and how fun they really are in person ~ while having grown up in a house of Rolexes and Tag Heuers , i went through phases from swatches to giant crazy dive watches and for the last few years i have settled on a pretty simple steel tag for all occasions (waterproof and scratchproof faces are a necessity!). There has always been something so appealing about finding unique quality time pieces that have that rugged yet designy/unexpected edge to them... and the titanium bracelet on this Oakley is pretty sweet!
They sent over the Oakley Minute Machine Titanium Edition and i'm quite in love with all their boxes (ahhhh, gorgeous matte black packaging)... so images below of all the packaging as well as close ups of the watch to get a feel for the thickness and how it wears. On the detail i can't get over... the carbon fiber self lubricating rings on the titanium bracelet are something you must play with if you get near one of these in person... i love the feeling of rolling your fingers over them... and the shapes of the pieces in the bracelet i find mesmerizing. (What can i say, i get inspired by the strangest littlest curves and details?)
On unexpected things ~ i've been having a lot of conversations with mid-20 something guys about high priced watches, particularly those who didn't grow up with them, and the desperate coveting of high end watches as status symbols, followed by the implication that that watch would get them some. And i've been mocking them all, but after this weekend - OK, i take it back, maybe the watch thing *can* work. The unexpected stand out from this Oakley weekend is definitely the Oakley Minute Machine. It caused some amusing drama at the after party, and perhaps that IS the best marketing strategy, after all that now even i find myself curious about it... well the Oakley Minute Machine Diamond Dial Edition ($3,500) anyhow (left watch)... although the Black face Titanium Edition ($1,195) is tempting too (right watch)... then there is the Unobtanium Edition($995).
Freshly back in LA, and slightly scared to wear my Tom Fords... as i told you earlier, i just spent two nights up in Half Moon Bay with the Oakley crew at their golf tournament, where i got to check out the Rolling O Lab. Now, i already showed you the *fun* side of the O Lab, here's the fascinating rolling research lab in a trailer... it will really bring out the hands on science geek in anyone. I tried to get pics of all the fun bits to share with you... but here's the cliff notes version before we get into the show and tell: if something blasts you in the face, most glasses will stab you in the eye - Oakley lenses just scratch slightly... if you lay down and drop a nearly 2 pound pointed weight on your glasses, you will have something sharp sticking out of your eye - Oakley lenses just get a dent... if you point lasers through the lenses to emulate your vision, the Oakleys actually meet at a point as they should - the others (and we put our random glasses on) were all over the place meaning your eyes are overcompensating (so THAT's why some glasses give you headaches quickly)... ok ok there's more, and it was all rather fascinating to me, so please don't mind the ranting... see pics below - of inside the lab, and also the GIANT corona bottle that was at the first hole.
On bizarre ways to kick off Thanksgiving week ~ i'm trying that whole "live blogging" thing from the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay today where Oakley is holding their Oakley Norcal Shootout, and there are some serious golfers out here! But i'm hiding out in the library/high tea room at the moment... the parts you'll probably most interested in are their road crew of two large trailers that roam the states from event to event - fondly known as the Rolling O Lab... consider it a mini of the intense testing and research lab in their Foothill Ranch HQ! Anyhow, more on the research one soon... but first things first, take a look at this HUGE slick black Oakley'd out Freightliner they have hauling the lounge around? And take a look at the interior of the lounge ~ huge flat screens inside and out, comfy couches, surfboard, skateboard, kitchen, and even Oakley Tap for the kegerator. Not a bad way to travel around the states? (These guys are on the road 300+ days a year.) Anyhow, more pics below to give you a feel... check their schedule to see where you can run into them next (next stop Tahoe tomorrow, then salt lake, then the UCLA/USC game!)... Oh, and being a golf tournament... naturally Caddy Shack is playing.
Oakley's line of wearable tech has evolved once again... and its certainly improving! If you recall, i reviewed their O ROKR and Thump 2 almost exactly a year ago, and i was pleasantly surprised when a white boxed beta of the Split Thump showed up today. They've really cleaned up the design quite a bit, and it is now possible to be far more 007 like with these... removable t-rex arm ear buds (with an adorable little classic oakley pouch for them, even with a divider in the middle to keep them from destroying each other) and the external buttons have been incorporated into the logo (which has been enlarged and aesthetically looks far better on the glasses)... and they are sounding better as well. Bottom line? These glasses can actually look like normal sporty sunglasses when you aren't listening to music, giving you the flexibility the others lacked. Anyhow, take a look below for the unboxing, close ups, and a some photo comparisons between the Thump 2 and the and the Split Thump.
Oh, and if any of you are thinking ~ but wait some of the big tech blogs hated it... i just reread all those posts, and they have been following their predecessors who all hated the concept to start with - and its so sad that some of those sounded like whiny poor techy ipod lovers who probably aren't huge fans of outdoor sports. But anyhow, i might be in a ranty mood... these are definitely making my potential gift list... although it says "coming soon", i've heard that these will definitely be shipping in time for xmas.
You've been hearing that wearable tech will be the next big thing for a while now, and some impressive design projects come out, but its certainly not something we see/use everyday yet. On the forefront of wearable electronics, Oakley's Thump 2 and O Rokr have made some waves, and after hearing all the hype and grumbles, we have a pair of them in the studio... (lots of pictures of packaging, details, etc below!) - and they are really fun. With the holidays around the corner, these definitely fall into the category of perfect gifts for the active tech savvy one that has everything... The Thump 2 I've tried out holds up to 1gig of music, top secret files, etc. (connects via USB). The O Rokr is the Oakley/Motorola collaboration which "gives you absolute wireless freedom, digital stereo fidelity and patented optical clarity." in other words it's both your bluetooth headset and streams music from your ipod, while still having the high quality of Oakley's optics. More below for my impressions of the two.
First design detail to jump out at me? The ear buds have T-rex arms! Not sure how else to describe them they are surprisingly flexible, and with 3 joints with the ear buds on the ends, they really will fit in your ear, hang just outside of it, rotate away when you want to hear something else...