In my early twenties, I spent a good third of every year climbing and competing in Europe. There weren’t so many climbers in those days and the distance between developed areas was a lot further. I was never a very social person and traveling was often a very lonely time for me. Just a kid on the side of the road with a rope and a backpack hitchhiking through the countryside.

Climbing, I quickly realized, was not only my way of recreating, more importantly it was my way of communicating and coming to terms with the world around me – and that’s why these transitions were so difficult for me.

While “climbing clothing” companies didn’t exist yet in the US, in Europe there were a couple of brands that only climbers wore. I can remember how happy I would be when I saw someone wearing a “Think Pink” sweatshirt (an Italian ‘climbing’ brand). I would run right up to them and introduce myself. It was as though I had a way to find instant friends and guides in whatever part of Europe I found myself.

When I returned home to the US, I often missed the simple introduction brands like Think Pink provided. Outside of my close circle of friends there was almost no way of knowing at a glance who shared not only my love of climbing, but also my way of being.

This was the feeling that gave rise to the idea for Verve, the clothing company I started in 1988.

Since then, I have tried very hard to stick to a few key values that have not only preserved the physical quality of Verve clothing, but hopefully as well, their fundamental role in helping the people that wear them find their own place in the world.

Christian Griffith