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Skater brand RDS makes surprisingly wearable women's apparel

Photo courtesy of Want Magazine

They affectionately called themselves the Red Dragons -- a parody of an Asian gang that terrorized Vancouver in the late 1980’s.

Well-known among skateboarding aficionados as the Red Dragons, RDS Apparel has made a name for itself among Vancouver-based skateboarding elites. Although the brand originated in Vancouver, it wasn’t long before it branched out internationally to countries like Germany, Australia, and Japan. 

The line, however, isn't solely reserved for the skateboarding inclined. It has been sported as everyday wear with rave reviews for its “use of solid colours", "strong symbols" and "good quality.”



Photo courtesy of Want Magazine 

Given its current status, it's surprising that the Red Dragons was initially an underground skateboard crew that consisted of Colin McKay, Rob “Sluggo” Boyce, and Moses Itkonen in the late 1980’s.

Long before it received recognition as a skateboarding brand, RDS already established an “underground crew status” for years before Moses Itkonen (the current General Manager for Centre Distribution) created the Red Dragon Apparel Line.

Little did they know that almost a decade later, Red Dragon would become an internationally recognized brand.

In 1996, they opened a skateboarding store, followed by the establishment of the fashion line two years later.

According to Sluggo, “Being a skateshop that made shirts other skateshops wanted to carry was sort of an anomaly, and it naturally progressed to RDS becoming a line of clothing.”

Though the apparel is increasingly popular among skateboarders, many people are unaware of the women's line. 

Trendy and fashion forward, it's comprised of basic pieces with styles reminiscent of Aritzia and Lululemon.

What's more, its upcoming fall and holiday collection features a number of fundamental items such as jeggings, basic tanks, and hoodies that are all sold at an affordable price.

Photo courtesy of RDS Women's Fall 2011 Collection Centre Distribution Catalog

Lightweight fabrics and minimalism shape the collection, which is a stark contrast to the graphic designs that consume much of their apparel. 

Photo courtesy of RDS Women's Fall 2011 Collection Centre Distribution Catalog

David Boyce, the current designer of RDS, hopes that people will come to associate the brand as something other than a skateboard line. With the women's collection in particular, Boyce's goal is to see it flourish on its own.

"I'd like to see it be a stand-alone collection and not always be represented or mixed in with the men's line,” he tells Assignment Fashion.

Though RDS is struggling to separate itself from skateboarding, its bold symbol - which means “balance” or “middle,” - embodies Boyce's goal.

"We’re still stuck with being seen as a skateboard apparel line where you think of just hoodies or T-shirts."

With the women's collection, however, the casual style captures the laid-back attitude of Vancouver, with basic pieces that are tailored for everyday wear.

The men's clothing continues to be geared toward skateboarders, but it may not be long before it establishes a name for trendy and versatile garments for women.



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