FORM and Function: Former DC Shoes Exec Launches MMA Lifestyle Brand

(Whether you’re surfing, training, or eating breakfast in bed, FORM has a product to fit your extreme lifestyle needs.)

As MMA fashion has evolved, it’s begun to merge with the larger surf and skate-based extreme lifestyle apparel industry. That’s partly because of guys like Mark Miller. The former DC Shoes senior vice president, alongside WEC fighter Urijah “The California Kid” Faber, launched FORM Athletics to take advantage of the crossover between MMA and the extreme sports communities.

FORM launched in stores on Jan. 10, 2010, and co-founder Faber as the only brand ambassador. “I don’t want to just grab athletes and slap shirts on them to be walking billboards,” Miller said.

Miller has built business for iconic brands, including Oakley, for more than three decades. He was responsible for launching the M3 snowboard line, and Miller’s work with DC Shoes helped make the trademark a household name among young adults.

When he left DC Shoes in July 2009, Miller wanted to use his experience to create a new clothing brand that focuses on action sports and youth culture. Fortunately for Miller, he was able to connect with Faber through a mutual friend and tap into his fight experience to design clothes for fighters and athletes alike. “FORM comes through from the athlete. People like them. They aspire to be like them,” Miller said. “I was lucky that the first guy I spoke with was Urijah.”

It’s not just a coincidence that Miller and Faber clicked over similar fashion senses over coffee. Miller said he believes Faber fits the image of FORM that he had in his head. “Just looking at Urijah, he’s not tatted up. He’s a collegiate champion, well spoken and has a college degree,” Miller said. “We want to focus on those types of guys and bring them on board to the team later on.”

Faber is more than just the face of the brand. Faber contributes to the design and fashion aspect of the business. As a fighter, Faber knows how a cup should feel in shorts and how the material should stretch, and how a shirt should feel while moving, Miller said. From the material selection and color palette to threading and graphics, Faber has a choice in selecting those for FORM.

Though FORM’s aesthetic is a little reminiscent of clothing company Glamour Kills, FORM is supposed to be a brand infused with surf-and-skate aesthetic, and a merger between performance and lifestyle. Faber’s surf lifestyle is clear in the collections, especially in the “Thunder Tropics” and “Swirlington” line. Miller said, “fight fans can expect premium products with great materials, great fit, and great style” at around $30.

From MMA fashion veterans TapouT and Affliction to the scene’s newcomers RVCA and Triumph United, FORM will have some competition in distinguishing its brand in a world full of fight wear. But if DC Shoes’ success is any sign of what’s to come for FORM, other brands may need to step their game up.

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