Zoo York: The East Coast's Pioneer Skate Brand

Seamus Deegan has been called "the hardest working Team Manager" for his dedication to ZOO YORK. Launched by a small band of NYC skaters, ZOO made its mark in 1993 as the "East Coast's first true skateboard-inspired lifestyle brand" with its blend of graffiti, hip hop, punk and military style. With an abundance of pro skaters, designers, musicians and more backing the brand, ZOO continues to expand and adapt to the times, introducing new cut-and-sew pieces, clean denim and more. Kiki got a chance to learn about the interesting path that Seamus took before he earned his title, what the brand has in store for spring/summer 2010 and much more.DrJays.com: How did you get your start in the apparel business? Seamus: "Long story, although I don’t consider myself solely to be in the 'apparel business' as ZOO YORK makes skateboard decks and kicks as well. When I was 17 I moved from Providence, RI to NYC to attend Pratt Institute in Brooklyn - I moved in 5 days before 9/11. That was a crazy time to be in the city and school didn’t seem a priority, so I spent my days and nights skateboarding and filming it. "I officially dropped out before the holidays and started working full time at a butcher shop saving money. My first real job in this industry was at 5boro thanks to Steve Rodriguez taking a chance on me. A great learning experience that lasted about 2 years; I knew though, that in order to get involved in this industry long term I had to take a chance and move to California. "I took a job working at Blitz Distribution as Team Manager for Birdhouse Skateboards, a position I had for about three years. Then in 2006 I received a phone call from long time friend Nardelli (Zoo Brand Manager at the time) asking me to move back East and take over Team Management at ZOO YORK. It made complete sense, ZOO was dope and the East Coast is my roots. Now four years later I run the Marketing Division as Brand Manager". DrJays.com: Describe a day in the life of ZOO YORK's Brand Manager. Seamus: "Most mornings I wake up to a blown up inbox on my Blackberry. After replying to the most urgent and a quick check of Twitter, my walk to coffee and the office begins which is one of my favorite things about living in NYC. "I am usually in the office by 10am and have meetings or phone calls till about 4pm when I grab some lunch. Then jump right back into it calling the team riders, checking deck production, working on projects and planning till about 8 or 9pm when I head home or out for dinner. "Most nights I am up till super late communicating with the International partners or with our team riders. This schedule is on repeat nearly everyday unless I am on the road, which currently seems to be at least a week each month although is often longer". DrJays.com: With ZOO YORK being the East Coast's " first true skateboarding-inspired lifestyle brand", how does the brand stand its ground now, with all the new skate brands that have flooded the market? Seamus: "ZOO YORK has set the bar for so many years and continues to do so whether with music and art collaborations or with our skateboard program. We are constantly working to drop the freshest product, ads or videos. What makes ZOO special is its NYC roots, the only skateboarding inspired brand of this size on the East Coast, operating on a global scale". Adam Sandler DrJays.com: What can we expect from your spring/summer 2010 collection?"Spring 2010's collection is a mash-up of clean and athletic inspired apparel. It is a tribute to what was and what is all at the same time. ZOO YORK has taken the simplicity in product with sophisticated details and put a blended assortment that is ready to wear. Woven tops lead the collection with lightweight flannels and great colorful wovens. Grey is the new black which helps keep the collection feeling fresh, but keeping it very easy. Graphic tees continue to be present, heritage graphics are always a staple!" DrJays.com: What is the most exciting project you have worked on with ZOO YORK? Seamus: "Each one tops the last it seems but a memorable one was the launch of "ZOO YORK State of Mind” DVD. Three years in the making, this feature length DVD dropped last Summer with a huge premiere in NYC. Outside of that, the daily project of working on a brand like this is what its all about, worth getting out of bed each day." ZOO YORK rider: Chaz OrtizZOO YORK rider: Brandon WestgateDrJays.com: I remember watching the gross (but amusing) "ZOO YORK Roaches" ad campaign a while back - how did that do for you guys? Seamus: (Laughs) "That campaign was cool to work on. It was so out there, playing to both the people who have no idea about NYC just as much as it did to those of us who live here. The commercials were the first ZOO ever dropped on TV, a milestone for sure. The response on YouTube was crazy - it was the #1 watched video the day of its launch with a million plus views. Crazy. Pretty sure I never want to touch a cockroach ever again though…"DrJays.com: Any exciting news or collaborations in the works? Seamus: "We have a couple big things in the works for later in the year, which I can’t really speak on yet. "Just like the New York State motto, "Excelsior" - ZOO is always moving upwards." Check out the "ZOO YORK State Of Mind" trailer below, and take a sneak peek at an upcoming ZOO YORK shoot we did with rapper Yelawolf:Yelawolf in ZOO YORK ZOO YORK gear on DrJays.com: Barrio Woven by ZOO YORKEvader Brooklyn Slim by ZOO YORKClick HERE to see more.