Green Apple: A History Lesson
By Frank Daniello
Ekumenik teamed up with Green Apple Skateboard Shop in Winnipeg, Canada, to create a collaborative retail residency called BACK IN 5 — open from September 6 to October 6, 2018. Expanding on the typical pop-up ideology, this immersive environment includes products from both brands, along with a selection of styles featuring their co-branded residency logo (available in limited quantities and exclusively at the retail space).
“We’re joining forces at a great time for both brands — Green Apple holding it down in Winnipeg for nearly a decade, and Ekumenik looking to bring home the success of our concept retail locations in Bali,” says Jordan Kendel, who shares Winnipeg roots with Green Apple owner Mike McDermott. “BACK IN 5 is an short-but-sweet opportunity to step outside the hum-drum of traditional stores and get a rare glimpse of what the future of retail could, and should, be.”
When it comes to history, Green Apple certainly doesn’t fall short. Beginning as a small group of like-minded Winnipeg skaters, its legacy began in 1993, when Roan Barrion produced the first of many DIY VCR-to-VCR edited skate videos showcasing the crew — purely in the name of friendship, progression, interpreting the influences of the time and scene-building.
Each year, Green Apple grew from a neighbourhood collective to a city-wide one and a new video would be produced — five in total. VHS copies were sold locally and informal premieres were held, which organically expanded the audience and awareness in Winnipeg, and beyond. No easy feat in a pre-Internet era.
Mike McDermott in “Daydream”, 1995.
A young and very talented skater named Mike McDermott was introduced into the fold with his own feature part in the 1995 video, Daydream. Moving forward, McDermott would solidify himself as a prominent sponsored skater in Canada and a key figure in the evolution of Green Apple.
“There wasn’t anybody making consistent Winnipeg videos in the early ‘90s,” he explains, “and I think it really brought the scene together as far as having something to focus on and having something for kids around the city to look forward to seeing. Green Apple was and is grassroots.”
Mike McDermott in “Street Magic”, 2000.
In 2000, Roan Barrion co-produced Street Magic with videographer Ryan McGuigan, who was a young fan of the original Green Apple videos. Street Magic was submitted to the National Screen Institute’s amateur short film contest, and Barrion won Best Director. The video featured Mike McDermott and Rod Ferens, and was a torch-passing project from Barrion to McGuigan. He began creating the new generation of Green Apple videos with what would become a truly unique and recognizable style of filming, visual sampling, music selection and editing that continues today.
“Modern Love” trailer, 2004.
McDermott and McGuigan moved to Vancouver, where Green Apple expanded its collective and produced feature-length videos in 2005 and 2007 — the first called Modern Love as a nod to the name of Roan Barrion’s 20th century modern furniture business at the time. After turning pro for Habitat Skateboards International in 2008, McDermott relocated back to his hometown of Winnipeg with McGuigan, establishing Green Apple as a brand and retailer.
The Green Apple Skateboard Shop opened to much fanfare on Winnipeg’s famed Corydon strip in May 2009. It houses their private label apparel and skateboards, along with a highly curated selection of coveted skate and lifestyle brands.
Green Apple Skateboard Shop “Commercial #001 - Rockin’ Ron Remix”, 2009.
“The next step was to take it back to the roots, which are in Winnipeg,” says McDermott, explaining the continuation of the skate collective’s colourful saga. “You could say Green Apple all across Canada and they knew the name, but didn’t quite know it as a brand and product. So we wanted to take it to that step, and have Green Apple become a centre.”
“Gang Green 1.0”, 2018.
Experience the Ekumenik x Green Apple Skateboard Shop BACK IN 5 collaborative retail residency from September 6 - October 6, 2018, at 836 Corydon Avenue in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Video by: Ryan McGuigan
For more information check out our post on the "BACK IN 5" A Collaborative Retail Experience.