Whether you're a fan of Rob Dyrdek's unconventional career is irrelevant. After all, you still know who he is, which means he's doing something right. From his hit reality show Rob & Big to his most recent success Ridiculousness, the man is one of the omnipresent figure heads of pop culture. And while most people recognize the name from his days on MTV, our interview aimed to explore a different avenue in his life, specifically his newest entrepreneurial endeavor, eyewear collection IVI. We also talked to the pro-skater turned businessman about his love for MMA and the crazy day-to-day experiences he has by simply being the guy he's always been -- a creative misfit with a passion for simply having fun. Check out our interview with Rob Dyrdek below.
We hear you are starting an eyewear brand called IVI. What are you trying to accomplish with the line?
Starting an eyewear brand was something I had been trying to do for a long, long time. It was about trying to build a premium brand with connotations of action sports and and the associated lifestyle -- but as far as where it sat in the market, premium but not overly premium in cost. That’s why I was really keen on the idea of a name as a logo. At the end of the day the sign in the glass is like your ultimate advertising piece. Most people would have a symbol as opposed to their actual name much like DC has the logo as their name. During the process of hunting down names and ideas, the word livid kept ending up in my list of things, and then Jerome, who Pete Fox had brought in to help create the whole brand was like, what about IVI? You know, just taking the I-V-I which immediately it just has that sort of aspirational and high-level feeling is sort of how we kind of ended up in creating this sort of lifestyle aspirational brand.
Do you think that the DC guy from your previous company would be rocking these shades as well? Is that something that it could be paired with?
I think it could be paired with anything. Whether it’s fashion, skateboarding, music, or art the brand is built with more ambiguous DNA so it's not just about athletics as much as it is about style, allowing it to apply to just about anything. So, does it fit with something like DC? Without a doubt. Could it fit with an artist or a model or musician? Without a doubt. The whole aspect of the brand is not being pinned to the athletic side of sports but more of a cultural element.
I love MMA and my brothers follow Dana White religiously. I wanted to hear about your relationship with him and are you a UFC fan yourself?
I mean I just, I love it all. Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta are kind of like mentors for me - especially Dana White on the professional side. Those guys took the UFC from nothing and turned it into this multi-billion dollar enterprise and there’s a lot of correlation from that to what I’m doing with Street League. I've become friends with them and they just have really, really taken me in and not only given me an immense amount of access to their business but an understanding of what works for them that I can apply to my business.
Speaking of all the people you hang out with, do you have a friends that you ride with? Can you discuss the crew's dynamics?
Haha.. well, lately since I’m so busy, we’ve had to begin to schedule my partying. I’m just no longer in a position where I can just like “oh let’s go out and get......” I just can’t do it. My schedule is too crazy, so now we schedule our partying and we refer to it as the “rip squad”. The rip squad comes from a YouTube channel where these guys run off all these names and pronounce them wrong, and if you google the pronunciation of Rob Dyrdek, you’ll find it. It’s pronounced Rip Dirunderkunder. Dirunderkunder is my 25-year-old alter ego. The rip squad is whenever we’re like fully crewed up, and that’ll be like me, Big Cat, Bam Bam, my political and social director Paul Viscano, my general manager Brian Atlas of Street League, my boy Nino and Sterling, and of course, other peripheral friends that also roll with us. That’s how we've been rollin, with fully planned and executed social lives.
Dude, I love this. You’re making my job easy right now. So, when I always interview people I like to show a little bit of a different side cause I try to make you guys look good and shit like that, so like are you involved in any charity work? I would love you to talk about that to you know balance out everything we’ve been talking about.
Yeah, it’s a really big deal for me. I’m in an elevated position and I started my foundation years ago to help build safe and legal places for kids to skate man, and since then we’ve raised millions of dollars and built a lot of skate parks all over the country. That is something.
Can I ask you a question? Do you have a favorite? I know it’s a cheesy question, but do you have a favorite?
What? Skate park?
Yeah, as far as even the ones you have built for the children?
You know, I really love the one in North Hollywood. People don’t really know it, but we designed it to be the word “wild” from Wild Grinders (the cartoon I have.) It’s just such a well-designed park, but if you’re up in a helicopter looking down, it’s the logo of the Wild Grinders and it’s just really creative and cool, well-designed, fun-to-skate park.
Obviously you are a busy guy… what do you do to get away and just chill?
I mean I don’t.. what's a vacation?
Yeah, do you have any favorite spots? You know what I’m sayin? Any jams?
Vacation for me is waking up on a day and I can just do whatever I want. It’s very rare, but every now and then I won't schedule anything. I enjoy the little things, like getting my car washed and talking to people at the car wash. Going to the mall is a thrill. Living normally is like a vacation to me. It’s a little annoying when you travel a lot and go back-to-back where you end up doing meetings on Saturday and Sunday. So when you finally get a day to do whatever, you feel like you’ve won the lottery.
Ok, so I have to ask you a cliché, boring question. What’s your best moment or funniest story from the Fantasy Factory?
Oh man, best moment? I’ve had so many crazy ones. I don’t know. I can’t even..
Are there any oddball funny stories that you just want to talk about?
I swear to God it’s like one of those things where so many things have happened. I feel like I’ve talked about them so much. It can't be just one thing that just happened. If I look back on some of my fonder moments more than anything I back all the outfits my cousin Big Cat has worn. I’ve gotten him to wear some of the most ridiculous outfits. A ginger lion, a red-haired lion, and a fairy tiger. I felt guilty and I had to end up buying him a nice Rolex after I had him in the pasty prince outfit, and he was like, “I’ll never do this again.”
Yo, so listen, who do you think is going to hold the torch as far as skateboarding for the foreseeable future for the next decade? Who are the young gunners out there?
I mean, there’s no question that Nyjah Huston is gnarly. He's so young yet so talented. He’s also gonna kind of develop over these next couple years to sit there right along with Paul Rodriguez and Chris Cole. He's in good hands man. Skateboarders are so gnarly and the sport just keeps evolving and the beauty of it is that it relentlessly progresses and is limitless by design. It just keeps getting better and more innovative and that’s how it will always be.
Is there any other skateboarder that reminds you of yourself? Anybody that you would compare yourself to, while you were out there doing your thing?
Uh, no. They’re all way better than me. I became famous because I was smart. I was never that good. I was able to build a really big name off just being really strategic with a solid marketing plan.
You’re really funny dude.
Look, what I got away with over the 20 years of building my career -- you couldn’t do that today. I was able to manipulate the system through my creativity.
What’s next for you?
I want to build a universe. And that’s what I’m in the middle of right now. Look, I know that sounds very ridiculous, but in two years you’re gonna be like, “I get this. I get what you’re sayin.”