Streetwear and its codes have become so integrated into the fashion vocabulary, it is no longer considered to be a separate category by many of the globe’s top designers. Consider the long-standing collaborations between Stella McCartney, Yohjo Yamamoto, and adidas, Erin Wassen x RVCA.
What shouldn’t be happening right now is a decline in the surf brand industry. The big 3 brands are no longer part of a subculture. Surf and board sport style have never been more important to the boarder fashion and consumer market.
Many have pointed to the supply chain inefficiencies – and Quiksilver and Billabong are certainly making some positive moves here. But what I don’t see happening is a conversation about where these brands fit within the larger apparel market. They still consider themselves to be subculture, perhaps it’s a crisis of identity.
Customers are looking for surf, more specifically they are looking for surf fashion.
“There’s definitely a bigger dialogue happening right now beyond the pieces themselves. I think fashion today is a way for people to create a community. It’s a conversation. That’s where the individuality of people takes it to another level. It takes it back to a point in time when clothing meant something. It’s important to speak back to that time. “ – Humberto Leon in conversation with Carole Lim and Shayne Oliver of Hood by Air at Selfridges
Authenticity is a significant part of any fashion experience. If the big 3 surf brands were offering the right style, it would be the ideal purchasing decision, and a better alternative to buying the fashion from retailers who are not grounded in the sport of it.
The Board Room at Selfridges
Last month luxury department store Selfridges introduced The Board room, featuring street sport classic brands Stussy and Eastpak, alongside Hood by Air, Y-3, Oak NY. Reinforcing the blurring lines between ‘street’ and fashion, the retailer also sought out it’s designers to create decks, including Jil Sander, Dries van Noten, and Rick Owens.
Slam City Skates have opened a pop-up to help with the technical aspects (i.e. hardware) of skating. It’s a nice introduction into the sport for the fashion-set. The retailer has a skate park & is offering 1-hour lessons to ensure that new Christian Louboutin boards doesn’t remain as wall art.
Taking a closer look at the influence skate and surf has had on the fashion landscape, Dazed & Confused produced a special issue of the magazine for Selfridges. What is so great about The Board Room is it pays proper homage to both street and fashion, and encourages the growth of both.
The big 3 surf brands should take a look. The market is increasing, the demand for their product should be at least keeping pace.
“A lot of what we do speaks back to this feeling: to really want to be part of something, and relating to brands.” – Humberto Leon in conversation with Carole Lim and Shayne Oliver of Hood by Air at Selfridges