A MOMENT WITH DOUGLAS COATS OF RUFSKIN
As the California brand nears their 20th anniversary, we chat with the co-founder on how he’s launched a brand by ignoring mainstream judgements.
When you look at all the brands similar to yours in the market, what makes RUFSKIN stand out?
After almost 20 years we have carried a consistent message and created a clear visual that is a reflection of our work. We have established our niche in the market because Rufskin embodies a desire for freedom without restrictions and disregarding mainstream judgments and attitudes towards fashion. We also differentiate ourselves by choosing to not produce traditional collections but to create and release new styles weekly on a whim since we have the benefit of manufacturing everything so close to our California headquarters. This also allows us to change the imaging for our campaigns and website regularly, something we hold very dearly to our hearts.
The name is an interesting one with lots of connotations and interpretations. What do you want people to take away from your brand name?
We guess that is a good thing! LOL. RUFSKIN came from the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu word “casca grossa ” which could be interpreted in many ways. It means thick skin, tough, hardcore, rough, raw. The name also coexists with a play on word from a denim line from the ’70s that was sold in a major department store chain called “ Toughskins”. So as you said the brand name is subject to many interpretations. It fits our concept of well-crafted workmanship and resilience
You’ve spoke a little bit about your faithful customers and voyeurs. Can you speak a little bit about the latter?
We are all “voyeurs” at some point. The images that we have created since the beginning are an important element of the brand. With social media facilitating a direct contact with the public we have witnessed an increasing number of people who may not necessarily wear or buy our products but who are very aware of our imagery and follow our site closely. Perhaps only to be motivated by them.
The visual identity of RUFSKIN is very recognizable. When you think of the brand, what’s the visual image that you want people to take away from it?
The visual part of our work has always been very much part of the brand. Since we are based in California we are very fortunate to have the most amazing locations at our fingertips. We would have to say that California is at the epicenter of our work with the intent of transporting people to the beautiful landscapes of the “Golden State”: a symbol of freedom, nature, health, and the great outdoors. Its culture fits our philosophy.
The brand started almost 20 years and has absolutely evolved and expanded. Where do you see it going in the next 20?
We hope that we will be chillin’ and smoking a joint under a palm tree somewhere, Wait! We are doing that already! Joking aside, we don’t often think about the distant future so there are no real concrete plans. We have considered creating an atelier studio in the desert that would showcase our clothing apparel as well as our photography and some artwork that embodies the RUFSKIN brand.
The desert seems to be a component that is a through-line in your imagery. What is it about the desert that you find so appealing?
The light, to begin with, is captivating as It sets off this unbelievable golden hue. That is one of the main reasons we built our (outdoor) studio in the desert since it is there that we photograph all of our product images for the website, taking advantage of the sunny, crisp and clear skies. There is also no shortage of diverse landscapes that has energy radiating off the desert floors. This land has Soul. We also like to take trips into the wild using our 4x4 “Rufmobile” after hiking off to some crazy remote location where we find ourselves in creative heaven of sorts. Also, these outdoor experiences have the added benefit of “escaping” from our daily lives.
Who is the RUFSKIN guy? What are his ultimate fantasies?
Our “Rufguy” can dress or undress according to his mood at the moment. We are not here to mold or dictate any style, we are here to provide garments that incite and empathize people’s assets and lifestyle. Whatever his fantasy is we are here to give him a “hand”.
When nobody is looking, what’s he doing?
Being himself, enjoying whatever he has, or fulfilling his dreams or fantasies with no restrictions. He may not care either if someone is looking.
What’s the wildest DM that has slid into your Instagram?
Oh Boy! Depends on what you describe by ‘Wild”?. There has been a vast range of “information” and comments for sure! Some amusing, some flattering, some definitively disturbing but once again that is the world today with all these new platforms of communication. We have been around for a while now so nothing is too wild that we can’t handle.