A Space Revolution: The Lowdown At the Sewdown

On the night of January 18, a snowboard space rave landed in Utah. In front of a couple hundred snowboarders, designers, punkers, and techno/rave heads pumped to the sounds of techno-DJ Ezra, an Asian model in sky-high platforms sauntered down a 60-foot runway in the Wolf Mountain pavilion. In a sultry voice booming over her Madonna-like microphone, she announced the beginning of the second annual Sewdown fashion show/rave. “We need clearance of your MINDS! A Liquid Affair is descending on Park City, Utah. 5 seconds to ABANDON.”

Ground control to Major Tom Snowboarder? No one in this audience was leaving. Instead, we went nuts when a litany of photographers started flashing like fireflies. Suddenly I wasn’t at a snowboard resort in the middle of the Park City, I was at a runway in Milan.

Doug Pollei must have been incredibly stoked about his Sewdown brainchild, although I never found him in the rave. He started the Sewdown last winter after his buddy Sean Weaver got booted from his University fashion show at Brigham Young. “Too extreme,” they said. “Too bad,” they retorted. And the Sewdown was launched… this year into space.

Mix punk and space with a splash of snowboard retro (remember those Adidas tennis sweats Chrissy Everett used to wear?), and you got a winter fashion show Vogue Magazine would freak about. But then, they weren’t there. Raygun, Option, Stick, Urb, and W.i.g. were. We wanted to hear DJ’s Jun, Daniel, Carlos, Silver, Ezra, Marcus B, and Chris Sick spin to booming Performance Audio. And see groovy, techno designs. Dig?

A Liquid Affair was among the many designers from L.A. to N.Y. to S.L.C. that carried the space theme probably stemming from the idea that snowboard boots actually look like moon boots, and building up from there. Mondorama models walked around like there was no gravity: super slow, bouncy. And the clothes matched with puffy jackets and vests like the old CB jackets or that yellow vest you always see Morgan LaFonte in the one she bought at a thrift store for $2. Yang and Split’s apparel looked like something Charlie’s Angels might have worn if they snowboarded. Kate Jackson would have been particularly pleased with Yang’s jackets and pants because not only were they groovy, but practical with pit zips and waterproof material. Among the other designers were 686, Caution, Bilt, Liquid Sky D-Sign, and S2Pid.

The Sewdown is the wave/rave of the future. This is certain. First, the stuff is affordable, like between $35 and $300 depending on the piece of clothing; way more practical (besides the space suits), and, except for a few, the models were like me and you, but way better dancers with maybe more earrings and space dust make-up. I doubt you’d find supermodel Amber doing cartwheels in overalls, or break-dancing into a high-speed spin on a down-stuffed coat with Caution snowboard boots on. I mean, they’re heavy.

No selling’s allowed at the Sewdown. “It’s a retreat,” says Carisa Bara from Liquid Sky D-Sign. “It’s young people doing innovative things in action sports, fashion, exchanging music, ideas.”

“The ones who share a similar mindset are the ones that attend,” says Pollei. Sewdown Productions had asked several snowboard companies to help out and many responded. Martha and Gary Harkey from Yang were “completely stoked to be a part of such a unique showing” of their products. “We want to support such an outlet of creativity,” she told me later at their booth at the SIA trade show. Ask me, it’s a way more productive way of showing your apparel than in a trade show corral. I mean, if you can techno dance in something, in the middle of the night at a ski resort, you can probably snowboard in it. Or at least do a simple grab.

Just when I was ready to hop on stage and do a few spins myself, a synchronized act of pyrotechnic gallantry lit up the whole place like a space ship was about to sit on us. The fashion show was over. But the rave was just beginning. It was midnight. DJ’s who weren’t spinning boogied with the models, attendees popped up on stage and acted like they were models, and a clown on 10-foot high stilts threaded his way through the crowd in giant steps waving fluorescent purple light sticks. It was trippier than a Dead show, but without the acid, just the acid rock.