Burton Brand: Board Certified
Greg Dacyshyn will be the first to tell you he has the perfect job. The Toronto native is a fiend for snowboarding and design and feeds both addictions as Burton Corp.’s vice president and creative director. He grew up working in snowboard and skate shops and in 1997 moved to Vermont for a Burton product-manager gig. Starting off working with stock-style outerwear, he formed the first creative department dedicated to progressing the clothing in a fashion-forward direction. Since climbing the corporate ladder, Dacyshyn, currently oversees all Burton brands, which now includes Analog (streetwear), Gravis (shoes), ANON (optics) and R.E.D. (protective gear). He’s been dealing in the real-deal white stuff for more than a decade, and business is booming. Too bad the “Snowman” name is already taken.
Burton isn’t just boards and jackets these days. With the brand expanding and the launch of Analog, have you caught any backlash from hardcore riders?
No. We do fashion, [but] the one thing we keep as a mainstay in everything that we do is, keep it rideable for snowboarders. Keeping it waterproof, keeping it breathable, making all the functionality still work. That’s one of the challenges, to create certain looks that we want but still maintain that technicality. Although we make stuff that might be more on the fashion tip, we never sacrifice functionality. And that’s one thing that makes the job pretty cool. We’re not just designing stuff. We are designing stuff that actually works, too.
Creative Director is a great title, but it isn’t just playing with colors and fabrics. What responsibilities come with the job?
Well, first and foremost, my job is to make sure we have a great-looking line. [I’ve] got to listen and see what the kids that are pushing the sport are really into. My job is to interpret what the world is going to want a couple of years from now and think of retail and make things they want to sell. We say we’re rider driven. We’re always trying to think of the end user first. Blogging and the Internet have made it somewhat easier and information more accessible. At the same time, everyone can get that information. So as a creative director, in order to be fresh and new, it makes it more difficult, but for me it also makes it more fun. You’ve got to really be at ground zero and seeing what’s going on and digging deeper.
Burton keeps growing and evolving. What’s next up?
We are doing a program now called Private Stock, [which includes] a collaboration we did with the artist Ron English. It will be dropping in a limited number of shops. We are doing that for our best dealers, something special for them. It allows us to have complete artistic freedom to really do some fun, fun stuff.
So do you think you’ll stick around for another 10 or 20 years?
Yeah. It’s still something I love. I enjoy my job more every day. I get to be an eternal kid. —Meaghan Dorman