We caught up with 686 founder Michael Akira West to pick his mind on the recent product addition to our Multi Collection – The Anything Multi Pant – a do-anything go-anywhere packable pant available in a Modern Loose Fit.
Q: Where did the idea for creating a new everyday Multi Pant come from?
Mike West: With the Anything Multi Pant, we set out to make the modern Anti-Cargo Cargo Pant. We wanted a pant that offered all the functionality and storage you get from a standard cargo but designed with seamless pockets and hidden features for a much more streamlined look that we would want to wear. The Anything Multi Pant is a highly functional do-anything pant that offers our customers another ultimate everyday pant that you can actually wear from day to night in nearly every setting and environment.
Q: Why did you design these? Due to feedback on Everywhere Multi Pant or because you couldn’t find a cargo you liked?
Mike West: I think it was a combination of the two. I’m a functional guy, meaning I like to make sure all my belongings have a place to live. At the same time, I’m very picky when it comes to the “look” of our products. I ask myself questions like how does it drape when you have your cuff folded or not? Does it make you look wide or tall? Does it match with a T-shirt and a Dress Shirt? Does it work with different kicks from Chucks to Runners to Boots? From my perspective, it ALL has to come together and that’s what I think we did with these.
The other very important goal was to NOT make it look like a cargo pant. I wanted to create a modern cargo pant as far as functionality that included some aspects our customers loved about the Everywhere Multi Pant. Although we’re a purposeful and functional brand first, I didn’t want to get bunched with those “other” outdoor brands that make you feel like you’re going to conquer Everest while wearing these. 686 was born in the city and refined in the mountains and I wanted the Anything Cargo Pant to do just that – a perfect do-anything pant for both environments.
Q: Why is it called the Anything Multi Pant?
Mike West: We call it the Anything Multi Pant because you can literally do anything in it. Whether you’re hiking, climbing, traveling, biking, camping, going to the office or out for a night in the city, these pants are built for it all. They’re comfortable, stylish, and practical, allowing you to seamlessly and safely hold your everyday items without having to worry about losing them.
Q: What is one of your personal favorite features that you wanted to include in the design.
Mike West: There are many to note, but personally, I like to have my phone in a separate pocket from my other everyday items, so that it doesn’t get lost or scratched in the mix. This was a subtle feature I wanted to include with these. The designated phone pocket keeps your phone secure, provides quick access, and frees up your traditional side pockets for your other everyday items. Along with this, I wanted a pant with secure zippered and Velcro pockets to ensure that when I’m out and about none of my essentials get lost along the way.
Q: How does this pant differ from the Everywhere Multi Pant released last year?
Mike West: The Anything Multi Pant is different in many ways from last year’s bestseller, starting with the fit. We designed this pant in what we call the Modern Loose Fit, which means it’s roomier in the hip, thighs, and legs to accommodate those who prefer a more relaxed fitting pant.
The other most noticeable difference is the overall design and pocket layout. Using a modern design approach, we streamlined the cargo pockets and articulated the seam lines to be flat and clean while still providing depth and dimension. The pant is equipped with articulated knees to provide a pre-curved fit that supports your leg and knee mobility without restriction. Visually, the knee articulation brings a modern sensibility to how we believe a modern cargo pant should look and feel. In classic 686 styles, we also added a few hidden pockets and venting features that are nearly invisible, setting this pant apart from others on the market.
Q: What material is the pant made of? Why did you choose this material for the products construction?
Mike West: The pant fabric was a very important part of the overall design of the product. It took us several years of testing and sourcing to make a fabric that actually functioned and look the way we wanted it to. We used specifically sourced yarn to create a highly durable, cotton-like nylon, which was later combined with real spandex to provide a stretch property that was able to recover, offer the wrinkle resistance and provide visual atheistic we were looking for. We also made the fabric water and stain resistant using PFOA/PFOC free C6 Durable Water Repellant (DWR). We chose this specific type of DWR because it offers a balance between environmental sustainability and performance.
Q: If you could go anywhere in these pants, where would you go?
Mike West: If I could take ONE pant with me on a trip anywhere in the world the Anything Multi Pant would be it. Peru is the first destination that comes to mind – From hiking Machu Picchu to surfing the longest left-hand point break at Chicama to exploring the nightlife in Lima.
Q: How long have you been testing them? What are some unique ways have you used them already?
Mike West: I’ve been using/testing these pants for around 6 months and in that time, I have traveled to 12 countries in multiple environments. They’ve performed well in the outdoors and transition well into everyday use around the city. During my travels, I even found that when they need to be washed, this can easily be done in the sink. They can be hand/hang dried very quickly so that they are ready to use in a few hours.
Q: How has the feedback been so far from the customers?
Mike West: The feedback so far has been incredible! However, many of our customers are still stoked on the Everywhere Multi Pant and have yet to discover it. Those who have, love it because it addresses all their needs. Those who have not, have something to look forward to.
Q: Any Final Thoughts?
A: There are so many choices out there when it comes to pants. Technical pants are NOT all created equal. You get what you pay for and at 686 we focus on the details. When you purchase a 686 product, it has to provide a point of difference. Innovation, quality, performance and style are what we stand behind.