Hard Knock Life



Damon Way knows function. The co-founder of DC Shoes and Chief Brand Officer of Incase has managed to marry his passions for sports and technology into two highly successful companies, each with their own identities. Life+Times caught up with Way for a quick chat. Here, he waxes about Incase, a brand that’s been revered for its compatibly with Apple products, and how design can vary from to intent to function.

Life+Times: How do you view the difference between creation intended for use, and creation intended to facilitate another creation, i.e., an iPhone vs an iPhone casing?
Damon Way
: I do not view them as being different at all. Both should be governed by the same principles of good design irrespective of how the product ultimately functions or is used.

L+T: How do you decide who you want to do collaborations with?
: It starts with an intuitive feeling that there is something to explore with a brand, artist, retailer, etc. From that point, dialogue is opened and the exploratory phase of identifying a sound concept is put into motion. Assuming that we are able to align the stars in this regard, we then have a working project on the table.

L+T: Does your background in skate influence how Incase’s products are designed?
I don’t think so. The mindset associated with product design at Incase really sits with our product design leaders and their years of experience in the field. Skateboarding, on the other hand, taught me how to think subversively about product communication and positioning, which I do apply to my work at Incase.

L+T: What was the most important lesson you’ve learned from DC?
: Understanding the power of driving micro and macro positions to the market. Too many brands find themselves caught up in one side or the other based on either a lack of awareness around the importance of the niche or a general fear of growth. For a brand to evolve in a healthy manner, it is critical that the two coexist in a symbiotic manner.

L+T: What was the most important lesson you’ve learned at Incase?
: Once the product is right, everything else, with the right amount of effort, falls seamlessly into place.

L+T: What’s the greatest public misconception about Incase that you work to counteract?
: That Incase is owned by Apple.

L+T: What do DC and Incase have in common?
: Other than myself, not very much.

L+T: Regardless of what’s next, what is your dream landing point for the company?
: To be the most revered travel products brand.