This one’s going to be a difficult one. It will become obvious soon enough, but first I want to talk about the cultural impact of apparel. Someone asked me the other day if MTFU was a workout brand. I thought to myself, that’s an interesting question I wonder why he would be asking that. I didn’t answer right away because the more I thought about it the more I realized how important brand identification is to the consumer. I’m going to be the first to admit that I have a tendency to overthink things, and that attribute is one of those character traits that has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages is that I can look past what’s on the surface and instead of taking something at face value I can get to the core to see if there are any hidden meanings (which is what I did with this question).
I like working out. Not only because of the health benefits, but because it’s that activity that helps me decompress and gives me time to think and reflect, a sort of therapy maybe. And yes, I wear MTFU apparel when I work out and from the photos on Instagram it looks like a lot of other people do to.
Who wouldn’t want to work out in apparel that makes you look this good? Studies show it makes you stronger too.
Ok, here’s where the over analyzing comes in…why would it be important to ask if MTFU was a workout brand? I started by taking a closer look at who was asking the question – he definitely had a street vibe with respect to his fashion and language and you could tell he wasn’t a gym junkie or a bodybuilder. You could tell he was into skateboarding and biking instead of bodybuilding and CrossFit. But why ask the question? And then it hit me…because in his circle working out isn’t cool. Take a look at any streetwear website or social media page and then compare it with any work out brand or fitness page, not a lot of crossover. Does that make a t-shirt from 10 Deep any more or less functional than a t-shirt from Gym Shark when it comes to bench pressing your body weight? No, a t-shirt is a t-shirt right? Does having a Bape hoodie keep you warmer surfing down the street than a Live Fit hoodie? No. So it’s not the garment per se, it’s the graphic and the message and what the brand means.
Hoodies, sweats and shoes. Cool? Yes. Going to the gym? No.
And that was my answer. We’re not a workout brand. We’re not a streetwear brand. We’re not a surfing brand. We’re not a skate brand. We are a brand with a message and we are lucky enough to have a message that crosses over and is cool in each of these circles (accidentally, I might add). MTFU speaks to everyone differently and that’s the way we want to keep it. We love hearing stories from our customers when they tell us how they feel when they’re wearing our clothes. Everyone’s story is different, and everyone’s story is important. We’re going to design things that we think are cool and we hope our customers think so too. Because like I said, it’s not about the garment, it’s about the message. If the message resonates with someone heading to the beach to grab some waves, good! If the message helps you get up off the couch after a long day and get to the gym to crank out a monster workout, good! If you want to wear our brand to put your middle finger up to society, go for it! That’s why we do what we do.
It’s about celebrating our differences, embracing our similarities and telling our stories. Which brings me back to the part that makes this difficult. I lost my father a few years ago, but I can still hear his voice and I can still “feel” him. When I think of what it means to “Man The Fuck Up” I think of him. He was a great father. He taught me everything and he was very patient in the process. He was a great husband. My mom knew how to pick a winner. He was a hard worker and a great provider. He would drop whatever he was doing if you needed help and not ask for anything in return.
Every day my dad would wear a windbreaker with the name of his company embroidered on the front – Oh Henry’s Plumbing. Whether he was working or not, it was his staple and his go-to garment. He would say it kept him warm but not too warm and that it would offer the right amount of protection from the elements.
As you walk in to the entry way at my mom’s house you’ll see the last one he wore hanging next to the door. It’s worn out from hard work – worn elbows, frayed hems, ripped pockets, stains, tears – and it still has his smell all these years later. I stare at it every time I walk by it. To commemorate him we’re coming out with a windbreaker with the name of my company embroidered on the front. This will be the first of many jacket designs and like this one, they will all tell a story. I’ve shared what it means for me and whatever meaning you find in it, I hope it inspires you to Man The Fuck Up.