It’s hard to believe, but this winter Rome Snowboards – a brand founded by two ex-Burton employees as the punk rock antidote to corporate culture – hit the ripe old age of 20.
“The initial flame was to create a brand that kept rider feedback at the core of all decision making”
“The initial flame was to create a brand that kept rider feedback at the core of all decision making,” recalls Matt Stillman, Rome’s Marketing & Team Manager. “Its full name has always been Rome Snowboard Design Syndicate – or Rome SDS – and the concept is that anyone who rides our product is a part of the Syndicate; we welcome feedback. That might seem really straightforward in this day and age, but in 2001 the industry was flush with copycat brands and pointless jargon that didn’t leave the passionate rider with many meaningful options.”
Famously, Rome OGs Josh Reid and Paul Maravetz weren’t allowed to build their own boards for a couple of years after leaving the (ahem) other Vermont-based manufacturer, owing to a ‘Do Not Compete’ clause in their contracts. As soon as they had a green light from the lawyers, though, they set about realising their vision for an upstart brand – starting with a logo. “The Rome Star was the product of endless revisions by our initial designer,” says Stillman. “She worked in multiple design references that came together to become the Star.” Then there’s the iconic ‘Break’ logo – seen across all this winter’s 20th anniversary product line. “It’s inspired by the image of bassist Paul Simonon smashing his guitar on the cover of the Clash album, London Calling. It’s a nod to the idea of breaking from convention – to those anti-establishment themes of the album and which are in the brand’s DNA.”