The Friday Interview: Kaboe Kavapalu on Odyssey’s Apparel Line

Some of the Odyssey crew in the improved and refocused apparel.

What is your name, how did you come into the fold at Odyssey and what were you doing prior?
My name is Kaboe Kavapalu, I’ve been designing for about thirteen years now. Before, I started a company with my partner Osa Odiase called Live Mechanics, which we started in 1999. In that whole time I was doing design work for World Industries, apparel work for Blind, helped out with Ezikiel, O’Neill, SCIFEN, all kinds of stuff. After that, I left Live Mechanics in 2007 to move to Hawaii and get away from Los Angeles, surf, relax, and and help my boys Keola Rapozo and Rene Matthyssen with their shop FITTED. I lived out there for four years and came back, traveled a bit more to visit family and friends. A friend of mine and Jim Bauer’s named Tristan told me that they were looking for someone to help out with apparel, so I ended up meeting up with Jim and ended up having a three hour lunch. He was pumped, I was pumped, a few weeks later it was green lighted. I went back to Hawaii, came back, and it’s been game time ever since.

You’ve got a heavy background in surf and skate-did you ever ride BMX as a kid?
I rode BMX for a bit until my bike got stolen as a kid, then could only afford to surf and skate so I kept doing that. But when I got the job here, Jim, Stephen [Cambell, Odyssey TM], Garrett [Reeves], we went up to Woodward West and they got me to get on a bike. It was super sketchy, but super fun. But ever since then I’ve been riding…Garrett got me to do my first wallride around three weeks ago. Did it in like six or seven tries, so I’ve been doing those, Jim taught me Beringer grinds, and Stephen got me doing double peg grinds…it’s part of growing up, you can’t fake shit. That was the one thing, when I started this, I didn’t want to be called out for riding BMX and working in BMX. I can’t really skate any more, so I was like, “f*** it, I’m gonna ride BMX again.” I can’t wait for us to get the ramp setup in the back…

What’s happening with the apparel program-how’s the whole thing going?
We’ve been trying to get the program together. BMX is a total beast within itself, it’s different at that. Getting super good feedback with the Sunday and Odyssey lines…right now we’re working on getting our delivery for 2013 Holiday. We just wrapped up Holiday 2012, Spring, and Summer 2013.

Odyssey’s 2012 Back to School flipbook.

What was the state of the apparel program before? I had heard that Jim was pretty much responsible for it on top of all of his other duties…
For the amount of work that Jim has on his plate, it was amazing that he even had the time to do the small program he was doing. He was swamped with everything. And obviously when you look at everything Odyssey related, it’s all Bauer. And that’s a huge feat. And he needed help, he didn’t have time to do everything. So at first they were just doing t-shirts and a couple of hats with Quintin. There wasn’t really a program, so that’s what we’re doing here and working on. Just because of the timeline of when I came in, we kind of rushed to get out what we could get out and be back on the calendar. So now, we’re doing a full cut and sew line. 2012 Holiday was more accessories…we did a backpack, toolbag that we’re really stoked on, hats, wallets, things like that. So the cut and sew for holiday will be woven shirts, jackets, better fleece, all that. It’s getting there. It’s definitely been a challenge kind of getting here. Odyssey is…Odyssey. It’s gotta be dope. It’s definitely fun, and it’s definitely awesome seeing this thing come to fruition.

Coming from surf and skate, how do these industries differ from BMX? It seems like they’ve been more established with apparel for a while now.
The thing that’s always been the number one backbone for all three industries is that it’s always been core. Surf, skate, BMX, you’ll get called out for not doing it right. In the short period of time I’ve been involved in BMX, you fully see dudes getting called out on stuff. It’s good to see that BMX still has that core mentality, because in surf and skate instead of core, it’s corporate. A lot of companies that are like that, they’ve lost that core validity, that core center and that’s what’s been cool with working at Odyssey-everything they do is about this core identity and core belief.

Look wise, everything is kind of melting together. You could see a kid wearing a Cult shirt and he might not even ride a BMX bike…the same with surf brands and skate brands. These kids are way into so much more because they have all of this information at their fingertips and can buy it in a click from a PayPal account. At the Vans park, you see kids wearing all sorts of clothes from all sorts of companies and blending it and meshing it all together, and it’s cool. It makes our job a challenge. In that respect, it’s cool working with Odyssey because they’re not really pigeonholed in a look.

How have the teams responded to the apparel?
It’s been crazy designing for the team since they wear all sorts of different stuff. You have to find a look that Hoang’s going to rock, that Eric’s going to rock, that Garrett’s gonna rock…so it’s been crazy but it’s been good. Eventually, we’re probably going to get into signature stuff. Especially on the Sunday side of things, because the team is very artistic. Lee can draw his ass off…plus the thought process of a lot of those dudes is on some crazy shit [laughter]. But yeah, we’ll be getting to that stuff in the future. Packaged releases by the season, maybe a quick shirt…as soon as we get caught up.

The Sunday crew showing off some of their 2012 Back to School collection.

What else is going on in the future that you could talk about?
I think we’re just stoked on Texas Toast and trying to do a pretty sick look book for holiday there, if all goes to plan. It should be tight. Everyone will be there and it’ll be perfect to come together. And after that, just keep going and get better and better.