I've had the privilege in the past few months of providing fightwear illustrations for Oss Clothing, so I thought it was high time I introduced the brand formally on my blog. Below, I chat to Nick Haloski, owner of Oss Clothing. Nick has been in the fightwear business for a long time and shares some of his memories as well as thoughts on fightwear design.
Q: Tell us about your background Nick?
My education and background prior to getting into the industry was in social services, specifically working with at risk youth. In 2005 I decided it was time for a career change so I took a job managing at Oregon State University. It was an excellent opportunity, financially it was very rewarding, but I wanted to do more than make money. In 2006 I met Enson Inoue at a seminar and really liked his philosophy and everything he was about, I talked with him for awhile and thought spreading yamatodamashii would be an amazing thing. The next month we partnered up, I quit my job and Purebred USA was born. Unfortunately it didn't end the way I had hoped and I left the company the next year. I am still very thankful for the opportunity and everything Ens did, the lessons and things I learned have made me who I am today. He's still doing great things and helping a lot of people, if you don't know who he is and what he's doing look him up and support!!
After Purebred I went back to work in social services and managed an MR/DD (mental retarded/developmental disabled) group home. With the birth of my daughter I needed more flexible hours so I took a position working at a youth shelter that had amazing hours. Now, I just run my gym (Gracie Technics Hillsboro), OSS and I'm helping Caio Terra with his association. Look for big things from him in 2012!
Q: Why are you entering back onto the fightwear market?
I gave this a lot of thought, I always knew I wanted to start another company and in truth I wasn't even looking at this market. I felt that Shoyoroll did an excellent job and there were a lot of great companies out there and more coming up (it seemed weekly at one point lol). Then I took a closer look, and it seemed that majority of the companies were all trying to copy Shoyoroll's model, rebels against the mainstream, super exclusive, only for the hip. This isn't what jiu jitsu is about, it's about bringing people together. Gear that represents our sport should be reflective of this, it should be great quality, readily available, and still be appealing not to the hipsters but to every one.
Q: What is your philosophy/message behind Oss! Clothing?
The name OSS is short for Oshi Shinobu. The first character “Oshi” means “to push,” and the second character “Shinobu” means “to endure.” Together they symbolise the importance of pushing, striving and persevering. To push yourself to your limit, when your body quits but your mind keeps pushing, when your mind is exhausted, but your spirit keeps you going, you endure the pain, you persevere, that is OSS! In training and in life EVERYONE at some point is faced with the option to push through, endure the pain and persevere or quit. It's what we choose at these moments that defines us not the outcome.
Q: How would you describe your branding/apparel style?
Our company supports people who have dreams and the drive to make that dream a reality. Regardless of the outcome, it's the journey that's important. If you look at our athletes they all represent this well.
Q: What plans/products do you have for the future?
I want to cross over and start a social project in the US. In Brazil there's Cicero Costa and I think they have an awesome thing going. First thing's first though, I need to get the company going!
Q: We collaborated together for the Miyao brothers t-shirt - what other BJJ athlete endorsements will OSS be involved in?
We are going to help support as many athletes and people (not just in jiu jitsu) who are out there pursuing their dreams. Currently we sponsor an athlete named Chris Dealy, he's the definition of OSS. He's a single father, works 40+ hours a week, coaches wrestling and still manages to train 5 days a week! He just goes out there and competes, regardless of the out come, puts it on the line. He's been submitted and lost more than any one I know but just keeps to the grind. A true warrior. When we say we're like family we really are! We sponsor Andy and Louie Hung, Zach and Nate Adamson, and the Miyao brothers.
Nationally we also have black belts Rylan Lizares (our first athlete), Eric Goo, Leandro Lo, James Puopolo, and Ben Baxter. Look for huge things from this group in 2012!
Oss Clothing products can be found on the website: www.ossclothing.com
Or you can follow them on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OSSCLOTHING