Looking back at some of Rome’s classic ads and graphics over the years, that same rebel aesthetic permeates everything, while phrases like ‘voices of dissent’, ‘kids on shred’ and ‘corrosion of the corporate’ are peppered through their catalogues. For Stillman, it’s representative of “a DIY ethos – that scrappy East Coast ‘born of ice’ attitude.” The original thinking behind the SDS, he explains, “was really about telling the story of people who made snowboarding their life’s work. The idea is to listen to their voices to help design the product and set the course for the brand. From events and visuals to just… trying to be disruptive in the sense of being true to snowboarding.”
“Rome OGs Josh Reid and Paul Maravetz weren’t allowed to built their own boards for a couple of years after leaving the (ahem) other Vermont-based factory”
Central to this crusade has been the rider team – both the pros and Rome’s extensive ‘AmArmy’. The first recruits back in the day were Matt Downey, Jonaven Moore, Jesse Fox, and Gregg Wilson, soon followed by stalwarts like Marie-France Roy (MFR), Laurent-Nicholas Paquin (LNP) and Will Lavigne. Did these initial ambassadors have something in common?
“I always saw the early group of riders as a crew who prioritised snowboarding above all else,” replies Stillman. “Riders with their own unique take on how things could actually be ridden, or what they wore or what terrain they wanted to ride. A mixture of passion, personality and talent, I suppose.” Looking at a current roster that includes the likes of Stale Sandbech, Rene Rinnekangas and Madison Blackley, it’s hard to disagree with his assessment that “we still haven’t strayed too far from that framework.”