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WE HAVE ’LIFT’ OFF

Bensonhurst-based collection inspired by new spirit of the slopes

The Brooklyn Paper
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If doing what you love is the secret to success, Scott DiMiceli’s apres-snowboarding line of tees, hoodies and bandanas will soon be spotted at resorts all over the northeast.

LIFT Gear has already garnered a cult following among the wannabe snowboard riders at Hunter Mountain, where DiMiceli, 32, has been teaching for the last 10 years.

While the winter 2006-’07 collection has been designed in DiMiceli’s Bensonhurst studio and the finishing touches affixed at a Dyker Heights silk-screening shop, the inspiration for LIFT Gear’s irreverent slogans and artwork comes from the entrepreneur’s diverse gang of fellow snowboarders.

"The concept for the collection was really born about four years ago, under a different name, when a group of guys who love to ride together and show off just became a big posse," said DiMiceli. "That’s when we started making up our own shirts and sweatshirts and [other skiers and snowboarders] saw us riding and came to our LIFT parties and they wanted them, too.

"[LIFT Gear] is what we wear when we’re not riding. It’s apres-ride wear. You layer it on."


Just for laughs

Some of the LIFT Gear messages are inside jokes among the team of friends/designers, such as "CHARLIE DON’T RIDE" printed beneath the silhouettes of a man with a rifle and helicopters on an army-green T-shirt.

"We always had very localized humor on the shirts, things that were funny to us," DiMiceli told GO Brooklyn. "On this shirt, we’re making fun of a guy, Charlie, who we don’t like, but it also refers to dialogue from the movie ’Apocalypse Now.’ "

The slogan "I LIKE DYKES" is an affectionate tribute to fellow LIFT team rider, Eric Dykes, explained DiMiceli. But it seems that the message of his chocolate brown T-shirt, straddled by the silhouette of a curvy woman, has been popular with other riders who haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Dykes.

"It’s generated millions, er, hundreds of dollars of sales for us," said DiMiceli with a laugh. And humor is a big part of what the LIFT Gear collection is all about - and also an important attribute of the LIFT Gear client, explained DiMiceli.

"Our customers have been the average snowboarder, between the ages of 16 and 35, but some are around age 45. It’s really popular with anyone who loves to be outdoors and loves the sport and understands the humor," said the designer.

Another one-liner appreciated by skiers and snowboarders alike is the aggressively safety-conscious admonishment - "Know the Code A**hole" - on the backs of DiMiceli’s raglan-sleeve jersey.

"There’s a mountain code with a list of rules - written on the back of lift tickets or on glasses in the bar of the ski resort - that tells you what your responsibilities are when you’re riding, how to be safe on the mountain," explained DiMiceli. "Like, ’always stop where you can be seen,’ ’don’t stop in the middle of the trail,’ ’if merging onto a trail, you’re the one that has to yield,’ ’don’t ski on a trail that’s beyond your ability,’ ’you’re responsible for the person riding in front of you.’

"If people don’t know it, they might cut you off, and then we yell at them, ’Know the code a**hole!’ Most of them don’t know what it means, so it’s definitely a snowboarder-skier joke."

"Of course, one of the LIFT team riders was wearing it in a bar and a drunk guy came up to him saying, ’Are you calling me an a**hole? I don’t know the code, so you must be calling me an a**hole,’ and the rider didn’t know what he was talking about, because he forgot that was on the back of his shirt," recalled DiMiceli. "But it’s OK because when the drunk tried to push him around, he was able to fend him off with a pool cue."


Future of LIFT

DiMiceli is currently attempting to grow the wholesale end of his LIFT Gear biz, reaching out to sporting good stores and resort shops, but will soon be filling orders for the general public on his Web site, www.liftgear.com.

The goal, said DiMiceli, "is to be bigger than Jesus. We already have the patterns made up for the next collection, and we’re dreaming of moving into manufacturing clothing for snowboarding and for any board sport - from surfing to skateboards."

Undoubtedly, DiMiceli’s touch of a Peter Pan complex - one of his long-sleeve jerseys boasts: "Living the dream for those who can’t" - is part of what enables his apparel to appeal to fellow snowboarders and even the slopes’ teen market. Riding since he was 16, DiMiceli’s passion for powder has taken him as far south as Valle Nevado in Chile; as far east as France’s Mont Blanc; and as far West as the resorts of Summit County, Colorado where he married his wife of eight years, Daniella (another snowboarder, of course).

"We call it living the dream - another way to say not growing up, but we take it very seriously," explained DiMiceli. "We might leave a party and go to bed early on certain nights, because we know the snow will be good tomorrow. Snowboarding is a form of expression and a kind of freedom. We feed off each other’s energy, and we take that all over town."

Apparently the bravado and fun that this posse of riders shares are infectious and are effectively communicated by the LIFT Gear collection.

"Younger kids on the freestyle teams - from 13 to 19 years old - would know us, because we teach, and they looked up to us and wanted to ride like us, so they became fans of the clothes, too," explained DiMiceli. "They think we’re this huge company, and put our stickers up all over their schools, but we’re just good at promoting ourselves."

 

LIFT Gear is available to the public through the Web site www.liftgear.com. LIFT Gear T-shirts and jerseys for men and women: $20-$30; hoodies: $65; and bandanas: $10. For more information, retailers can contact info@liftgear.com or call (917) 306-5144.

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