posted by dpm on 02/12/2009
Ropegun was created in 1999 by a group of rock climbers that wanted to produce simple, hip clothing geared toward rock climbing. Their creations included skate shorts, board shorts and jeans.Then in 2002, Ropegun was brought to the Bay Area by climbing guru Greg Loh, and Jaime Grant. In 2008, Ropegun moved yet again to a previous Ropegun team member Joe McDaniel and Rey Cruz. The pair held onto the brand and worked feverishly to put out a new design that would work for the evolving climber, and now in 2009, the time is finally here to release their vision to the public. DPM spoke to Joe about where Ropegun had been and how we could get our hands on the old school Bruce Lee homage-T.
DPM: How did you get involved in Rope Gun? And once you decided to re-release it what was the process you went through to recreate the brand, and get backers?
Joe: I found a pair of badass Ropegun shorts in Mountain Works pro shop in Provo, Utah over 5 years ago (they are still in use today) and thought the name and logo for climbers’ was awesome. I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where I met Greg Loh at Class 5 climbing gym. He was the teen team coach and I being 20 yrs. old at the time would just tag along on sessions and try and learn some skills. Over the course of that 5 years I saw the brand go out of distribution, so with my life savings I purchased the brand name in 2008. Luckily for me, Ropegun has been producing climbing clothing for over a decade and the supporters who were delighted by the brand have been lending so much support we only hope that we don’t let you down with our new developments.
DPM: Where are you based out of now?
Joe: Ropegun is headquartered in Bayside, California which is on the coast in Northern California. The CEO is living and running his office from Long Beach, which is in Southern California near Los Angeles.
DPM: What is Ropegun looking to unveil?
Joe: Ropegun will offer products made with 100% Organic Cotton, Recycled Plastics, Bamboo, Soy, Hemp and Nano-fibers, which is new technology to resist stains. They are to be produced in facilities where the human resources are valued more than the commodities they are producing. The line will also include graphics and prints designed by any individual in the climbing community willing to submit their own design. Artist recognition and contact info will be printed inside the shirt.
DPM: What are you plans for unveiling the new brand? Road Trip? Online only?
Joe: To bring back the brand, we have a whole list of launch plans; I personally plan to road trip with old and new Ropegun items, passing them along the way to local gyms, crags, and pro-shops and taking the time to meet with as many customers as possible to gain insight on their needs as a climber. We will conduct sales online, but exactly what we will carry online versus what will be found in stores may vary.
DPM: How long have you been in the game? Why did you want to invest your time and money into a clothing brand?
Joe: I’ve been climbing for 5 to 6 years now. I picked up climbing at The Quarry Climbing Center in Provo, Utah just shortly before realizing my dream to always skateboard was never coming true. I’ve always been heavily influenced by other brands such as Quiksilver and Volcom for the way the clothes looked and felt while I skated, but once I started climbing there became a need for clothing to hold up outside on rocks. As funny as it sounds, I started forming new muscles in my back which started making my Quiksilver and Volcom shirts too tight in the armpits and blowing out in either the knee or the bum. Ropegun delivered products that had quality and function, while still being stylish enough for me to wear at the bars. For me personally, after Ropegun products were no longer around, I lost a true clothing supplier, what was left was either way too expensive for what I was doing or priced right but blowing out before the season was over. Ropegun has provided many climbers with great products, and I would like nothing more than to be part of helping climbers go climb and live life without any more sacrifices, especially when it comes to clothing.
DPM: Is there a team Rope Gun? The old team was composed of some new school and old school climbers who offered something different then most normal climbers. What type of climbers can occupy a spot on your team?
Joe: Yes, and hopefully there will always be a Team Ropegun! The old team offered a great deal of support and as time has tested has been true to the company through the ups and downs. We appreciate them a lot and will do our part to satisfy their requests. We are searching for anyone who believes in our mission and motto, and are willing to be challenged as to how they are not just excelling their own climbing goals but how they are excelling the climbing community. It is my intent as an owner of Ropegun to help expand the climbing industry and community’s assets beyond Ropegun’s assets.
DPM: Who helped you redesign and rebuild the brand? What was your inspiration for the designs?
Joe: To name everyone that has helped would be insane, let’s just say a special thank you to those I am contact frequently, but really everyone I have met and who knows Ropegun or climbing has lent help in redesigning the brand. I do not feel what will be released is just my vision, but a compilation of visions from climbers’ minds not only across the country, but as far as we reached globally. Everyone has something to offer us and in exchange we hope that we too, have something we can offer you.