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Each season, Roark showcases new destinations. It explores locations from around the world to tell stories of adventure through the lens of a community of surfers, skateboarders, snowboarders, climbers and so on. Roark designs clothing for adventurers, inspired by the cultures and climates of destinations around the world. They produce two collections per year of clothing, luggage, and trinkets. Each collection tells a story through artful design and high-quality fabrications. Each piece is designed to take the wearer from casual wear to high-action sports, to the elements and back again.
This season, Roark visited the beautiful Oaxaca region in the southwest corner of Mexico where evidence of human habitation dates back to about 11,000 years BC. This evidence has been found in the Guilá Naquitz cave near the town of Mitla. This area was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010 in recognition for the “earliest known evidence of domesticated plants in the continent, while corn cob fragments from the same cave are said to be the earliest documented evidence for the domestication of maize.”
Stretching from the mountains to the sea, Oaxaca in the south of Mexico is known for its bedrock of indigenous culture and its arts and crafts. Sites include Hierve el Agua, the untouched beaches of Zipolite, and the pre-Hispanic ruins at Yagul. Oaxaca is a hotbed of culture, including ancient indigenous ruins, beach yoga opportunities, and a thriving arts and crafts scene. Whether you want to surf waves, spot dolphins, or browse the best arts and crafts in Mexico, you can do it in Oaxaca.
Oaxaca is best known for its indigenous peoples and cultures, and its unique cuisine. The most numerous and best known are the Zapotecs and the Mixtecs, but there are sixteen that are officially recognized. These cultures have survived better than most others in Mexico due to the state’s rugged and isolating terrain. Oaxaca has significantly more biological diversity than many other Mexican states, and ranks in the top three, along with Chiapas and Veracruz, for numbers of reptiles, amphibians, mammals and plants.
Roark’s Rio Lakeshore notes that he was unbothered by the long traveling days from Oaxaca city, over to Huautla de Jimenez, then to San Mateo Rio Hondo, “I felt blessed to be present in the space where the indigenous Xapotec and Mitec people’s strong spirit undoubtedly dwells.”
Here are some of my favorite items from Roark’s Oaxaca Collection:
Bless Up Mechanical Stretch Shirt
Originating in the humid tropics and/or dry deserts and with “Just enough mechanical stretch to keep you moving,” the Bless Up Stretch Shirt is Roark’s all-around design for quick drying and moisture wicking. The “Bless Up” is made with Tactel fibers, which, compared to other similar fibers by other companies, are stronger, softer, and more lightweight. These fibers keep the shirt light yet durable and comfortable.
When Roark first developed the custom stretch, perforated fabric for their original Bless Up shirt, they were focused on a shirt that would perform in the hot and tropical climate of Oaxaca. It needed to be lightweight and breathable, while leaving room for movement. they also wanted this product to perform for surfing.
Passage Boardshorts 18″
The Passage board shorts are a versatile staple in the Roark Oaxaca line, made with Hemp Blend 4-Way Stretch. The Roark crew departed Oaxaca City after a week of wild nights and went for a winding drive through the countryside. As they crested a mountain, they found themselves high above the clouds, looking down across an expanse of jungle that begged to be explored. It was here that the magic of Oaxaca took hold. Bright pops of color dotted a jungle maze full of petrified waterfalls, deep caverns, and abundant springs. Roark turned those visions into their latest floral print, which captured the essence of the Sierra Madre del Sur.
“Flight, The Run Amok Playlist
Possible the most expressive medium is music. It shapes our identify, affects our emotions, and propels us mile after mile; Figuratively and literally. The Run Amok Playlist titled “Flight: by Roark’s Nash Made will provide the inspiration to drop the hammer or flow untethered.
Artifacts of Adventure Premium Tee
Discover the unknown and seek your own artifacts of adventure amidst the grandeur of Oaxaca.
Fear The Sea 5 Panel Hat
It’s fair to assume that “Fear the Sea” is tattoo-worthy. It’s applicable all year round, anywhere in the world. It was released in Volume 3 as Roark was beaten down by a winter’s storm.
Explorer 2.0 Shorts 19″
Lightweight, 4-Way stretch amphibious short for year round multi-purpose function. Lower zip pocket for locking in your goods. 19” outseam with internal drawcord waist to enhance movement while securing the shorts. Quick drying, polyester cotton blend stretch fabric enhancing performance in and out of the water. Mesh lined pocket bags for breathability on land and flow through in the water.
Viaje Gonzo Button Up Shirt
The Gonzo shirt is based on Roark’s favorite camp collar shirt, which gives you plenty of room to breathe. Whether you wear it to a party or for everyday wear, the Gonzo Viaje is Roark’s interpretation of a Hawaiian shirt, with bits and pieces of Mexico throw into the mix. The Viaje pattern is inspired by Oaxacan clothing with Mexican influences, bits of sporadic mementos from our journey to the heart of Mexico.
Roaming – Roark’s Adventure Atlas on Surfing, Skating, Riding and Climbing Around The World
An unconventional photographic guidebook to adventure, featuring images, intel, itineraries, tales, and testimonies collected by Roark’s expert guides. The book documents the routes of a group of iconic surfers, climbers, skaters, and other adventurers seeking full cultural and thrill-seeking immersion. Including journeys to 16 global destinations illustrating the road less traveled, from surf expeditions to Iceland, the Falkland Islands, or Jamaica, to motorcycle journeys through Nepal, rock climbing in Argentina to cliff jumping in Northern Vietnam, and more.
The modern bible for anyone interested in charting an adventure with improbable itineraries across the globe, or the mere appreciation for photography that transports you to a place only found in dreams.
Wayward In Oaxaca: B Sides To Donde Los Terremotos
Roark came back with so many stories to tell, they couldn’t just leave you with one film. Have a look at their gift to you, a new surf edit with tons of unseen footage from their first film, “Donde Los Terremotos.”
Here’s a deep dive into the epic surf and behind the scenes moments that were not included in their film. Follow Harrison Roach, Nate Zoller, Parker Coffin and Ivah Wilmot as they navigate the state of Oaxaca in search of waves and adventure.
Roark is a modern adventure lifestyle brand crafting apparel inspired by the journey. Founded by Ryan Hitzel and Ryan Sirianni, each season Roark is found in a different part of the world, telling stories of exploration through the lens of its group of surfers, skateboarders, snowboarders, climbers, adventurers, and creators.
The chase for Roark began out of a desire to tell stories born of adventure and discovery in the form of a man – he’s the shadowy adventurer that disappears into Mexico for six months camping, only to surface in Paris drinking Bordeaux with a diplomat. Each season these adventurers find Roark in a different part of the world, telling stories of exploration within their products. Inspired by the culture and climate of Roark’s destination, they produce two collections per year of clothing, luggage and trinkets – the artifacts of adventure. The product and stories they create empower people to discover self through authentic, youthful, modern and purposeful adventure on the road less traveled.
About Oaxaca, Mexico
The state of Oaxaca is in southwestern Mexico and has a significant coastline on the Pacific Ocean. The state is best known for its indigenous peoples and cultures, and its unique cuisine. The most numerous and best known are the Zapotecs and the Mixtecs, but there are sixteen that are officially recognized. These cultures have survived better than most others in México due to the state’s rugged and isolating terrain. Oaxaca is also one of the most biologically diverse states in Mexico, ranking in the top three, along with Chiapas and Veracruz, for numbers of reptiles, amphibians, mammals and plants.
Most of what is known about prehistoric Oaxaca comes from work in the Central Valleys region. Evidence of human habitation dating back to about 11,000 years BC has been found in the Guilá Naquitz cave near the town of Mitla. This area was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010 in recognition for the “earliest known evidence of domesticated plants in the continent, while corn cob fragments from the same cave are said to be the earliest documented evidence for the domestication of maize.” More finds of nomadic peoples date back to about 5000 BC, with some evidence of the beginning of agriculture. By 2000 BC, agriculture had been established in the Central Valleys region of the state, with sedentary villages.