686 (company)

Industry Sporting goods
Founded 1992
Headquarters Los Angeles, California
Key people
Michael Akira West, Founder and President
Products Jackets, Pants and accessories
Website 686.com

686 Technical Apparel or more simply 686, is a Los Angeles, California based clothing company, focused on technical jackets, pants and accessories that provide protection from the conditions encountered during winter. The company was founded in 1992 by current President, Creative Director and SnowSports Industries America Board of Director’s Member, Michael Akira (Mike) West, and is currently owned by Westlife Distribution, LLC.[1]


In 1990, Mike West enrolled in the business administration entrepreneurial program at the University of Southern California. That same year he also worked as a snowboard instructor at Bear Mountain as one of the first certified PSIA snowboard instructors.

As a class assignment, West put together a business plan that got him a passing grade for the class. From that class assignment 686 Enterprises was launched from his dorm room. The first brand West developed was Jib 686, the name Jib coming from a childhood nickname.[2][3] The brand name changed to 686 Enterprises in 1996 and then to 686 Technical Apparel in 2002.[3]

Scion automobile

Scion To celebrate their 20th anniversary, 686 built a concept xB with Scion called Numeric that housed numerous collaborations. The xB was seen at high-profile events throughout the United States including the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) tradeshow in 2013. In 2015, 686 designed a “release series” scion xB entitled Scion xB 686 Parklan Edition that was available in limited edition. Only 686 of these cars were made and were sold in USA, Canada, and Puerto Rico.[4][5][6]


In 2015, the '47 sports lifestyle apparel and headwear brand partnered with 686 to produce an apparel and headwear line for the 2015-2016 winter season. The collection would feature collegiate logos for 14 different colleges and universities that included Boston U Terriers, Brigham Young University Cougars, Dartmouth Big Green, Harvard Crimson, California Golden Bears, Colorado Buffalos, Michigan Wolverines, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Penn State Nittany Lions, USC Trojans, Texas Longhorns, University of Vermont Catamounts, Wisconsin Badgers and Yale Bulldogs.[7] Other collaborative efforts have include Specialized bicycles, Matix Clothing, Nikwax, and New Balance Numeric snowboard boots.[8][9][10]

From 2003-2010, 686 teamed up with emerging artists for their A.C.C. (Artist Collaboration Conspiracy) collection, working with artists Andy Howell, Shepard Fairey, Mark McKee, Derek Hess, Caia Koopman, and many others.[11]


Community involvement

686 is involved with projects that support the idea of giving back to the community. In one community based program, 686 created the Compton Snow Club to introduce disadvantaged youth of Compton, California. For this program, 686 staff and 686 team riders Forest Bailey, Mike Gray, and Melissa Evans meet with youth from the Watts/Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club and take them snowboarding at local resorts including Bear Mountain and Mountain High.[15] In 2016, 686 teamed with Keep A Breast Foundation to help support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month during the month of October and for the upcoming winter sports season. Another project is the Summit for Challenged Athletes Foundation.[16] A clothing donation drive called Coats for Colorado received donations from 686.[17] Another worthwhile endeavor for the company is to repurpose discarded fabric and clothing materials and transform these items into new one-of-a-kind RECLAIM jackets. For every RECLAIM jacket the company sells, 686 donates a RECLAIM jacket to an individual in need.[18]


  1. Editor. (14 January 2013). The SIA Board’s Boarders: Catching Up with 686 Founder Mike West. Transworld Business. The Enthusiast Network. Carlsbad, California.
  2. Editor. (19 August 1994). Jib 686. Jib 686 Enterprises. Trademark serial number: 74563422. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Washington, D.C.
  3. 1 2 Editor. (29 February 2000). 686 Enterprises lets its Products do the Talking. Transworld Snowboarding. The Enthusiast Network. Carlsbad, California.
  4. Atiyeh, Clifford. (28 September 2015). Executing a Stalefish: Scion Reveals Final xB Special Edition. Car and Driver.
  5. Lienert, Anita. (28 September 2015). 2015 Scion xB 686 Parklan Edition Marks End of the Line for xB. Car News. Edmunds.com.
  6. Nagy, Bob. (29 September 2015). 2015 Scion xB 686 Parklan Edition bids farewell. Latest News. Kelly Blue Book.
  7. Editor. (1 September 2015). '47 Announces New Collaboration With Global Technical Apparel Leader, 686. News. PR Newswire. New York, New York.
  8. Editor. (26 January 2015). 686 Announces New Collaborations With ’47 Brand, Matix, Terry Kidwell, Nikwax, & Specialized Bicycles. Transworld Business. The Enthusiast Network. Carlsbad, California.
  9. Bradstreet, Kailee. (20 November 2012). 686 X New Balance Snowboard Boot Collection Winter 2012-13. Transworld Business. The Enthusiast Network. Carlsbad, California.
  10. HypebeastTV (9 January 2013). "Mike West Introduces New Balance Numeric" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  11. Editor. (22 January 2009). The Machine / 686 ACC (Artist Collaboration Conspiracy) Launches at SIA. 5ones, Profiling the Action Sports Industry. San Diego, California.
  12. West, Michael Akira, and Michael Bretz. (Filed: 17 December 2014. Publication date: 23 June 2016). Fastener with concealed tool bits. U.S. Patent Application No. 14/573,766. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  13. West, Michael Akira. (30 January 2007). Display system for a garment. U.S. Patent No. 7,168,098. Filed: 6 October 2003. Publication date: 30 January 2007. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  14. West, Michael A. (11 March 1997). Combination belt and tools. U.S. Patent No. 5,609,281. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  15. McCarthy, Patrick. (16 December 2015). Dispatches: 686 Brings the Compton Snow Club to Bear Mountain. Snowboarder. The Enthusiast Network. Carlsbad, California.
  16. Fejtek, Paul. (24 August 2012). "Now let's do this!" - Mike West, Founder of 686. Summit for CAF. Traveling the globe and climbing to new heights in support of the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
  17. Editor. (30 October 2015). WinterKids.com to Donate Hundreds of Coats to Local Children in Need Through Coats for Colorado Coat Drive. Industry Press Release. SnowSports Industries America. McLean, Virginia.
  18. Editor. (18 February 2013). 686 Announces RECLAIM Project Winners. Industry Press Release. SnowSports Industries America. McLean, Virginia.
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