Get ready for a Zoo York reboot. Shop Eat Surf is reporting that executives at Iconix have announced that they are bringing it back. The article mentions that the founders of the brand will be returning to help market and promote; but doesn’t specify if they’re referring to original founders Rodney Smith and Eli Gesner, or the team from Echo that ran the brand when the investment group purchased it in 2011.
Zoo York has been without a skate team since Chaz Ortiz’s contract expired back in August. Iconix CEO Bob Galvin made the below statement about the choice to reintroduce Zoo to the hardgoods market.
Skateboarding will be an Olympic sport during the Summer Games in Tokyo in 2020. We believe this presents an excellent opportunity for the brand.
Time will tell on how all of this will shape up. For more on Zoo’s history, revisit RB Umali’s episode of Mission Statement.
UPDATE 09.10.19: With the first Under Old Management collection set drop in the coming weeks, Eli Gesner spoke with Uproxx to give a little bit of insight into what we can expect from Zoo York’s rebrand. It’s looking and sounding pretty dope.
The Under Old Management campaign will act as a callback Zoo York’s alumni, with ads featuring Vinny Ponte and Danny Supa. Its first advertising campaign will reexamine of all the brand’s most famous ads from the 1990s.
The first capsule collection, which consists of a mixtape patch baseball cap, a rerelease of the original 90s Zoo York hoodie, a black graffiti graphic long sleeve, a vintage 1997 Zoo York Mixtape graphic tee, a “Washington Square” t-shirt that pays homage to Kids, and a skate deck spray painted and signed by Gesner will follow the Supreme scarcity model. There will be just 93 pieces sold of each item and they’ll retail exclusively through Zoo York’s Instagram and online store.
Given that Iconix is a global brand management company with shareholders and profit expectations, Zoo York’s relaunch isn’t limited to the trio’s Under Old Management collection. There’s also a brand for keeping the company relevant in the broader marketplace without undermining the new (old) vibe.
“We used to design everything and sell everything,” Schatz says. “Now, people are making what works best for them in their territories.”
Rather than a simple licensing play, the brand hopes to build consistency across Iconix’s global market. With this aim, Gesner has put together a 150-page style guide to deliver authenticity on a global level.
“Basically what I’m doing is sort of somewhere between game theory and engineering,” Gesner says. “Instead of me going and personally making twenty t-shirt graphics a season, I constructed a book of rules to play the game. So when you get the Zoo York kit in South Africa or Brazil, and you open it up, everyone will have the same pieces, the same parts. Then those creative people all over the world — in Asia, in Europe — they can create a better product using the detailed steps and assets that I’ve provided in my Zoo York bible.”
UPDATE 05.31.19: Zoo York just posted pictures of Rodney Smith, Eli Gesner, and Adam Schatz on its Instagram confirming that the original founders are, in fact, back with the brand. It looks like Zoo is truly returning to its roots! Stay tuned for further updates.
UPDATE 05.28.19: Since the May 16 announcement of its forthcoming reboot, Zoo York has purged its Instagram account, and uploaded a series of glitchy posts that culminated in today’s “Under Old Management” declaration; which you can view below. Still no word on who’s steering the ship in this latest incarnation of Zoo; but we’re certainly curious to see how all of this progresses. Stay tuned for further updates.