Published on July 15th, 2020 | by Hype Editorial0
VAST Surf Goes Beyond Style with VAST FM Masks Providing Safety & Protecting Our Oceans
VAST, an LA-based surf and lifestyle brand led by founder, Sam Yang, has been stepping up during this pandemic to put safety and style at the core of giving back both to the community and our environment.
As an avid surfer himself, Yang knew that one-time use masks would eventually pile up on the shores across the globe. With over 129 billion face masks and 65 billion plastic gloves being used every month worldwide since the pandemic started, it’s a real threat to our oceans.
Yang decided to work with PPE manufacturers to educate himself on what makes the safest reusable mask and chronicled his journey which led to the launch of the Vast FM- a durable, water repellant mask made with antibacterial fabrics. He also sought out a way to help frontline workers by partnering with local hospitals, on a “Cozy Kickbacks” initiative that provides comfort items to front line workers to wear when resting including sweatshirts, sweatpants, shirts, shorts, socks and more.
We sat down with Yang to discuss the brand and their recent work.
How do you differentiate yourself from other surf brands?
We believe we’re a true lifestyle brand rooted in surf. The connective tissue between all of us is the ocean. However, that conversation leads to other topics when the waves go flat. In between waves, we bond over wrenching on cars, watching sports, sharing new music, and eating good food. It’s a bond that goes beyond friendship; and feels more like family.
What has been one of your most popular collections?
We recently did a capsule collection called Vast X In4mation. In4mation is identified as one of streetwears original top 20 brands; they’ve been around for two decades based in Honolulu. We felt this was a really good match blending our styles. The collab represents an established skate company, In4mation, cross pollinating with streetwears newest surfwear brand, Vast, and it was very well received.
You are currently launching your new VAST FM line of masks? Tell us why it was important to make a social impact during the pandemic?
We are a surf brand. Our souls are connected by the ocean, enjoy the travels, and love spending time with people, surfing and traveling. For years, we have built our brand on these things we love, while making some solid surf fashion. It only made sense for us to use the resources we have to do something helpful during the pandemic, and hope soon one day we can all get back to doing these things we love: traveling around the world, surfing, eating, laughing, dreaming up the next tee shirt of board short design! In the meantime, we are proud to offer high quality masks that can keep the community safe and help reduce the use of one time masks and protect our oceans.
What permanent societal changes would you like to see come out of this crisis?
I think this single question can be an entire thesis paper! It’s a difficult one to answer in short. Keeping the environment healthy so future generations can also live on a healthy planet is very important to me and our brand. I feel that because our priorities have shifted to “survival mode” during the pandemic, taking care of our environment becomes a lesser need. It is understandable, but I hope that if when we come out of this crisis, the planet is not littered with millions of tons of disposable face masks, gloves, face shields, etc. Or maybe that’s the next crisis–how to deal with pandemic trash or how to deal with new diseases or eco-changes stemming from pandemic trash, and then we can remember that we all share this planet that provides for our existence. (I don’t hope for another crisis…but I do worry about all the trash that’s being created and thrown away without giving it another proper thought.)
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
In the years of organizing environmental campaigns, philanthropy campaigns, I constantly hear people tell me “It’s great, and I’d love to participate, butI don’t have the time.” Or they’d say “when I have more money I’ll help.” The way I see it is that making an impact on the environment or making an impact on society is not about making a huge difference in a single day. It’s changing one little habit, one at a time, and it could be the tiniest one. Take one less plastic bag. Re-use that piece of trash. Share a portion of your lunch with the homeless guy. Smile and say good morning at 3 people every morning. Making a positive impact on our environment and society is not as time consuming or requiring deep pockets as most people imagine.
The planet sustains our livelihood. Mother nature takes care of us, and we need to take care of her. The way to do that, is for society to be more aware of how we are impacting our environment. I was taught a Chinese proverb that I’ll be poorly translating: “While eating a fruit, pay respect to the tree the fruit came from.” I’ll add to the proverb and make it more complete to relate to this question: “and don’t cut down that tree or no one else can enjoy fruits.”
Tell us about how the “Cozy Kickbacks” program came about?
It was important to me to find an organic way to help frontline workers. The Vast FM masks offer the public a way to get high quality masks and stay safe, while leaving medical grade masks to the hospital workers that need them. In addition, we decided to discount our website by 40% and sell the VAST FM masks, so for every purchase we donate a cozy item to these essential workers. It is important that our doctors, nurses, and medical staff can relax and recuperate at home so we are gifting them with Vast surf items including sweatpants, shirts, socks, and more. We hope to expand this program with additional community initiatives like surf lessons to help relieve stress in the near future.
VAST FM are available online for $30 in Khaki with trim in Black, Coral, Teal, or Navy.Tweet