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An interview with Alli and Anna, our 2024 Gone Boarding designers

Posté par Katherine Donnelly le

With a mission to take project-based learning to the next level in a way that engages students to be the driving force to take charge of their future, Gone Boarding students collaborate to design, construct, and learn to ride all types of boards including: surfboards, snowboards, skateboards/longboards, stand-up paddle boards, and wake surfboards.

Back in November of 2022, we joined forces with Gone Boarding for the very first time with the goal of creating an original graphic that would get people everywhere stoked on winter and enjoying the outdoors. The resulting design and products were such a hit, and so it was a no-brainer to bring this back for 2023/24. The prompt: "backcountry tourist".

What commenced was a seriously impressive showing of creativity and talent from the pairs, and after much deliberation within the TREW team we found Anna and Alli's design to be our top pick!

Learn more about Anna and Alli below as we shoot through a quick Q&A.

And don't miss out on the limited edition collection featuring their Backcountry Tourist Association design here! 

First, tell us about yourselves!

Alli Thompson: I am from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I love going thrifting, hanging out with my friends, going to concerts, and doing things outdoors!!

Anna Koops: I’m 17 years old from Grand Rapids Michigan and love to do art, spend time with family and be outside!

Can you tell us about your connection to the outdoors and outdoor sports?

Alli I love doing things outdoors! I always enjoy being in the sun and fresh air. As for snow sports, I just learned to snowboard this year and I hope to continue it in the future.

Anna: My connection with the outdoors started with my parents teaching me how to ski when I was little, planning trips in northern Michigan and to Colorado. When I was 6 we moved to a house on a river where we bought a wake boat, this gave me and my siblings so many opportunities for water sports. Now my summers are full of wake surfing, wakeboarding, tubbing, and paddle boarding. (Hiking)

Did this/how did this influence your design process for this project?

Anna: Yes, my experiences for sure influenced my design! Not everyone in my family skis some snowboard so I wanted to be sure to incorporate both. Another reason is when I look back at what got me to where I am, I think of the people that helped me along the way. They inspired my grit and passion for life and I wanted to represent that by showing fun colors, different boards, and the friendship the characters have with one another.

How did your graphic come to be?

Alli: We took the prompt quite literally. We thought it would be funny to make little cartoon people that look like you’re typical tourist but with a little twist!

Anna: I started off by deep diving trews website, this gave me the color inspiration and funky feel. I then started to sketch many different options leaving me with 4 final designs that I felt represented Trews vibes and my personal style. People were then asked to give feedback, I took those thoughts into consideration and edited the highest ranked design.

Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?

Alli: We started out doing some research on TREW’s website and finding colors that were commonly used. Then we began playing with various designs and sending them to our friends and family to get their opinion. From there we made final edits and presented to Trew!

Anna: When I start a project I prepare by thinking of the audience and purpose. Specifically for this project I started off by researching the prompt “back country tourist” finding different meanings for each word. This allowed me to find what I thought would be the best connection with Trew's core audience.

How did you incorporate TREW's core values and ethos into your design?

Alli: We ultimately wanted to make this a fun and free design. We noticed that Trew is all about having fun and exploring outside. 

Anna: I wanted to make sure to include both snowboarders and skiers so both could enjoy it. In addition I wanted to create an image that was pleasing to the eye yet brought care free, adventurous, and enthusiastic feeling.

Were there any challenges that you encountered throughout the design process?

Alli: One of the challenges we overcame was how detailed our design was. Anna put in a lot of hours to make our design perfect!

Anna: The main challenge I faced through this process was understanding how to take constructive criticism even if I didn’t agree. I often have a specific vision in my head but not everyone understands my art. I overcame this by asking further questions such as could you go in more depth about why you thought this way? I found that if I knew more about their thought process it was easier to take it as advice.

What do you hope that consumers will take away from your design?

Alli: I hope the consumers love the little characters we made as much as we do! I hope that it inspires everyone to get outdoors and explore and be your own backcountry tourist.

Anna: I hope my design reflects Trew's values of fun, stress free days, while hanging out with friends and having a good time outdoors. While also giving a goofy and unique feel.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Alli: I am so grateful for this opportunity and I hope you all love these designs as much as we do!

Anna: This project has been a dream come true. Art is a massive part of my life so to be able to see others wear it is unreal. Thank you Trew!

Shop the 2024 TREW x Gone Boarding collection!

Orders are open between 5/9-23, 2024, and all proceeds will be split between Gone Boarding and the artists, Alli and Anna.

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