As the summer season sparks in Kelowna, residents may notice motorcycles are cruising the streets with riders donned in trademark skull crown apparel.
While some of the riders might have a rugged look, with their long beards and tattoo sleeves, they aren’t a part of any club, but instead a brand steeped in family.
Mat Newman is the founder of the trademark skull crown apparel, called RenAgade, a brand that embraces motorbikes, boarding, rock’n roll and of course family.
“It’s about not following guidelines or trends, ignoring status quo and society standards, believing that money isn’t everything and family is everything,” said founder Newman, of his clothing company RenAgade.
RenAgade has become more than just a clothing line, it’s an identity to those who wear the gear.
It’s a way to showcase your true colours and be a part of something special with like-minded people, said Newman.
For those who are wondering, no, RenAgade is not a club.
According to the founder, those that sport the RenAgade brand are the type of people to open a door for a lady heading into a Tim Hortons or to set the table at grandma’s house.
RenAgade started as a grassroots idea by a few ‘dudes living young, wild and free’ in a cabin on the mountain at Big White Ski Resort.
Newman drew the skull crown logo while lounging on his friend Jeremy Dixon’s couch after a day of “shredding powder back in 2001.”
“I didn’t quite have a place lined up at the time, so my friend put me up on his couch and we did nothing but smoke weed, skateboard, hit up the beach and chase chicks,” said Newman.
“When I drew up the skull everyone was super pumped. We were like ‘This is us man, what are we going to call it? RenAgade. Sweet, let’s run with it.’”
RenAgade would go on to put the logo on their snowboards, skateboards, snow pants and embrace gorilla marketing.
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This dude right here is the center of all things RENAGADE. He lives the “all in“ lifestyle and parties like it’s his birthday on any given day of the week at his beloved Kamp Kokomo although this is his actual birthday weekend. By Saturday you’ll probably find him blitzed at Mc D’s, face pushing kids into the ball pit. 😆 All jokes aside this guy is THEEE BEST, always down to hang out, help out and just plain giver at all times. The true grit he’s put into Renagade over the years is evident when you see endless cars stickered up, snowboards, skateboards, bikes, helmets and the clothing we all love. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEANER!!!! 🥳 🍻🍹🧁 🌮 🤙 we all appreciate everything you do for the Renagade family! @renagadegeneral #happybirthday #stayinalive #ruling #kabooom #renagadecanada
Now almost 20 years later, the trademark skull crown apparel of ‘RenAgade Gnarmy’ is starting to take the city by storm.
At first, RenAgade apparel was only available to an inner circle, but after some collaboration between friends, the brand is now available to everyone. Logistical issues originally halted RenAgade from getting off the ground until a good friend stepped up to the plate.
“My good friend Gavin Tout stepped in and he’s very organized,” said Newman.
“He’s probably one of the most business-savvy people I’ve ever met in my life. He’s the one that helped us get (RenAgade) up above water.”
In 2018, Newman brought Kelowna designer and photographer Lindsay Roderick into the fold to take pictures, build a website and help with design and marketing.
With Lindsay’s addition, Co-founder Jeremy Dixon worked events and public relations, Susan Dixon became the company’s accountant and Newman was in charge of marketing and design.
It would be these four that would push RenAgade in the right direction.
“It was family first, but then all of a sudden we were starting to put together something tangible that people can see and say, ‘Yea, I want what that is’ (sic). And here we go, it has been rolling so good,” said Newman.
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“Strings are for puppets, We don’t ride with Muppets” - A great Man. LMBSL ➕ RENAGADE Best group photo of 2019 Photo credit 📸-Captain Wally @workbywally 🤘🏻 FDR -Reaper Run 2020 in the works -could only tag 20. There was close to 50 of us. What a time. Let’s go visit Mary boys!! #fdr2019 #fdr2020 #lmbsl #renagadecanada #family #motorcycletrip #kootenays #ridemotorcycleshavefun #harleydavidson #youcouldhearuscoming
With an online store, a strong social media presence and a small outlet store at Newman’s house, RenAgade has come a long way from a couch at Big White.
But for the RenAgade crew, the brand is still rooted in family and sharing special moments.
“We save up all of our empties all summer and get like $700 back for Thanksgiving,” said Newman.
“We just cash it in and we have like four giant smoked hams, three turkeys, the biggest pot of mash potatoes and we just get down to family business. I couldn’t imagine a better group of people to spend life with. It’s all love man, it’s the coolest.”
The RenAgade crew encourages anyone and everyone, regardless of their makeup to purchase their apparel as long as you can get behind their mission.