How did Insane Inside start? The origin story doesn't get much more organic or authentic. Here's the first-hand account from Martina.
It was Advance Week. That’s a time for Salomon’s international trail running athletes to all get together, run, train, and talk about the upcoming season.
Greg Vollet, the team manager, had brought a bunch of samples of a new Salomon trail running hat. They were white, and totally blank. There were some magic markers around, so everyone was designing their own hats-- but (US trail running team member) Rickey Gates and I were a little more into it than the others!
A few months later, I went to China with some other Salomon athletes, and in one of the many train rides we had from Shanghai, I was doing another drawing, this time on a gray cap. I drew a goat, and that goat became our first Insane Inside cap!
For a few months, Greg trail ran with this hat. In the end, the hat wasn’t so great looking. The ink was running down and onto the visor! But, he liked it a lot. Both Greg and Arnaud Tortel, the team trainer, thought the idea was cool, however, and we decided to start Insane Inside, so we could draw different designs and start to produce hats.
That’s how it started!
The company started in the fall of 2016, when I designed a cap for a trail race in France. It was actually the first real Insane Inside cap that we could touch. We decided to start to produce some more hats that winter. I already had some samples, but then I think it was the following week in China where Arnaud was able to bring a different kind of design-- one that they had just produced the week before. Everyone was asking where these caps were from, because no one had seen them before. All of a sudden, a lot of Salomon athletes were wearing them!
The first samples came early in spring 2017. Arnaud brought some to Salomon's Advance Week in Tibet, and from there the craziness started! One of the first races of the season was the Mont-Blanc Marathon in Chamonix, France. By then, they were already really popular. That was really good! I saw a lot of people wearing our Insane Inside hats. It was super fun.
The name Insane Inside
The name Insane Inside actually comes from years ago-- more than ten years ago. I was thinking about creating something related to the ski world—you know, t-shirts and and things like that-- and I was thinking about different company names.
I don’t know how or why Insane Inside came to mind. I tried different designs for the logo. The logo we have now is something I did back in 2007. I never made any t-shirts or merchandise for Insane Inside back then, but the logo was done. Even back then, I thought maybe someday I was going to use it.
About the Designs
I think my designs are pretty simple. I went to an art school, but I don’t know if I’m really good at drawing. If you tell me, “Draw a dog,” I’m like, “Okay…” But after I draw it, it might end up looking like a sheep. But if you give me a picture of the dog and you tell me, “Copy this dog,” then I can draw something that looks more like a dog!
Maybe as an artist I shouldn't be saying this, but the really nice drawings have always come out better when I’m copying something, rather than having it just in my mind. I always have liked simple designs, where I don’t have to worry too much about how perfect something is, but where the design gives you an idea of the scenery, or maybe just the mood. I think the Insane Inside art is really more about colors and simple designs that remind you of the mountains.
From Idea to Product
In the beginning, I was drawing on paper. Sometimes, when I was designing something, to help my design process I would draw on a template where you can see the pattern of the cap. Each design is like a story, and you need to have a vision for it. So, it helps to draw it onto the cap so I have the right vision of the outcome. I can use the cap like a timeline to tell a story!
This probably sounds funny, but sometimes I would just draw on a blank cap. Someone would then translate the drawing into Illustrator, the computer program. I can’t do that. I’m not good at Illustrator.
Recently, though, I’ve been using Procreate. As computer programs go, that’s much easier. At first, it took me longer than drawing on paper. I’m still learning a lot. I have an idea about how to use it, and that’s been nice. Just to change something quickly or change colors and see what is the best color is for one particular part of a design, that’s pretty cool.
Sometimes, I’ll draw on paper, and then take a picture and copy it on Procreate. What is cool is that now I can add a lot of fonts and create stuff much more easily.
In my life, I do so many things. At some point, though, I do get time to design. Other times, an idea is just not coming to me. I have moments when I’m like, “Okay… I don’t know...” Sometimes, I will start a design and never finish it. But, normally, I can get a design done.
I'm curious about what will come next, both for my life and for Insane Inside. As I'm changing personally, the designs might change as well.
Still, I hope you will always see my positive attitude in my work. We need to bring more smiles on the trails! ;)
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