Artist merchandise isn’t just a T-shirt: For decades, designs spoke to your tastes – both musically and in terms of fashion. Even before the resurgence of streetwear-influenced styles roughly a decade ago, The Grateful Dead perfected this game, with distinctive, psychedelic all-over graphics reflecting both the nature of their songs and speaking to their die-hard fans.
That doesn’t mean a band – or its fans, for that matter – can’t upgrade or rework this format. Known for its outdoor adventure videos and branching out into apparel and gear, Teton Gravity Research (TGR x Grateful Dead) recently released an officially licensed Grateful Dead merchandise collection featuring contributions from past collaborators that highlight some of the band’s well-known hits.
TGR started roughly 30 years ago: In 1995, Steve Jones, Todd Jones, and Dirk Collins combined their money from working as commercial fishermen and heli-ski guides in Alaska to record action sports on film. Their ideas, often featuring leading athletes, drew attention to this sector, and from there, they formed TGR, establishing its headquarters in Wyoming and becoming highly sought after for ski, snowboard, and surf films.
TGR continues to grow and expand its footprint. With online content, that means their website is a hub for action sports videos. Within the field, they partner with top action athletes like Jeremy Jones, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, Ian Walsh, and Angel Collinson and started selling gear appealing to both fans and outdoor enthusiasts in general.
Additionally, the company examines its impact on the environment and supports projects like Protect Our Winters, One Percent for the Planet, BICEP, and the Surfrider Foundation intended to help preserve our world and its resources.
For the TGR x Grateful Dead collection, the company reached out to some of its favorite artists in the Dead community – Helen Kenedy, Fernando Lyons, Cetana Works, Peter Forsythe, Wyatt Grant, and Brett Whitley – to create T-shirts and hoodies featuring recognizable graphics and allusion to the band’s lyrics.
For the Deadheads out there, these include “Sugar Magnolia,” “Terrapin Station,” “The Wheel,” “New Speedway Boogie,” “Box of Rain,” and “Crazy Fingers.” We had a chance to speak with TGR founder Todd Jones about the collection, as well as TGR’s mission.
Tell us about the TGR x Grateful Dead apparel collection: What inspired you to create a collection inspired by the Grateful Dead?
TGR’s co-founders Todd and Steve Jones have been longtime Grateful Dead fans, so integrating one of their passions with TGR was a natural fit. We’re honored to have been official licensee partners with the Dead.
Each piece features lyrics from the band’s songs. How did you decide on which lyrics to feature?
This was a combination of our favorite lyrics and tracks combined with our partnerships with the artists that created the designs in the Collection and the songs/lyrics that inspired them the most.
You also worked with various artists from the Dead community. How did you decide with whom to collaborate with?
Some of the artists we’ve worked with before, so that fit was natural. For others, we’ve admired their work for years and were excited for an opportunity to work with them.
The Dead are also known for their concert tees. How does the TGR x Grateful Dead collection distinguish itself from these recognizable designs going back decades?
Some of the power of what TGR brings to the table is our ability to bring to market designs that, at times, are a clear nod to those concert tees while bringing a fresh take on them. The artists themselves deserve the credit, though, as it’s their work that makes this Collection so special.
Tell us about your background: How did you start Teton Gravity Research?
Teton Gravity Research (TGR) is regarded as one of the world’s premier outdoor action, adventure, and lifestyle brands. TGR is known for original and branded content, lifestyle apparel and optics, and worldwide events.
TGR’s best-in-class storytelling has captivated audiences for 27 years. With 50+ award-winning films, numerous television series, and national commercial spots, TGR delivers a global, multi-channel footprint.
Teton Gravity Research is one of the fastest-growing outdoor media and lifestyle brands with a thriving Millennial audience, award-winning multimedia film projects, a rapidly growing experiential platform, and unprecedented viral content.
Aside from videos, TGR has a collection of outdoor clothing and gear. What has been your mission for developing apparel and other supplies for the outdoors?
Our mission as a company is to inspire the global action sports and adventure lifestyle communities to live the(ir) dream through our products and experiences while protecting the places where we all work and play. This comes to life in everything we do … from our annual ski films and content for HBO to our apparel and accessories.
The Dead has also influenced your pursuit of adventure filmmaking. How did their music kickstart or influence this passion?
Fire on the mountain:
Considering the popularity of limited-edition collections and concert merch, do you think TGR will do any other brand collections in the future?
TGR has many existing relationships with bands and brands from across the spectrum. We’ll continue to create product collections that bring something unique to the market while inspiring our consumers to live their dream.