MOVE over beard-wearing, top-knotting hipsters. A new fashion “core” style is bringing athleticism and ease of lifestyle into the mainstream this summer: Surfcore.
“Surfcore comes from an actual community of people who live that life every day” (Sadler, J in Steele, L 2015).
It doesn’t matter where you are from, it’s hard to deny that The Endless Summer idea of running out of the surf perfectly bronzed and turning on your leather-bound radio while combing your hair back isn’t appealing. The surfing lifestyle – the tan, the laid back vibes, the idea of always being surrounding by your friends, is something that a majority of people would love to have and live that life. Board shorts promote the lifestyle of either constantly coming or going to the beach and sun bleached blonde hair signifies always being out in the sun and saltwater.
For everyone who lives in a big metropolitan area, this surf lifestyle seems very attractive. It’s effortlessly cool, in total connection with nature, and relatively stress-free. These elements of life are considered a luxury in the city. So, much like other popular lifestyle looks, the key is bringing those aspirational qualities and values to people who can’t spend their days on the water.
Mainstream society has adopted these trends with huge surf clothing companies making surf culture accessible to all areas of society, even if they don’t surf. People are able to buy surf brand clothing in surf shops and dye their hair blonde in an attempt to obtain an authentic surfer look without actually practicing the sport. Clothing that was initially designed to be specifically for surfing, like board shorts and t-shirts aimed at surfers, have evolved into an essential component of not only the surfers casual everyday wardrobe, but of the wider society as well.
As Ormond suggests, surfing has become “…predicated on consumerism. It is the romantic aspect of consumerism that is crucial here; consumerism is based upon desire and the possibility of achieving the perfect life through buying and consuming objects and experiences” (Ormond, J 2005).
And it seems to have caught on across the country. Hardcore surf brands like Quicksilver and Noon Goons have released retro speciality items to designers like Kenzo, putting beach-inspired looks on the runway (see above). And Masafumi Watanabe, a self-described “outsider” of the surf world has juxtaposed beach culture with Japanese design in a new collaboration with Reef, to bring to the city some of the surfer free spirit, but also to take a certain urban sophistication to the coast (see above).
And, of course, where would any of these designers be without the “walking advertisements” that enhance their brands image (Adcock, D, Halbord, D & Ross, C 2011). With the roots of western surf fashion stemming from the need for practical and comfortable clothing to serve both in and out of the ocean, branding has become the most important role in the consumption of these “surfy” clothes. Designers are sponsoring elite or celebrity surfers, such as Tony Hawk and Kelly Slater (see above), to wear their cloths and, ultimately, promote the lifestyle that comes with wearing their brand. This association with celebrity and lifestyle makes a pair of Quicksilver board shorts more desirable to the consumer than a pair, for example, from Kmart that does not overtly promote this subcultures way of life.
The Surfcore aesthetic comes from simple, clean, well-designed elements that support the needs of the surfing lifestyle day in and day out, on the beach, and now more than ever, in the heart of the city.
Adcock, D, Halborg, D, & Ross, C 2011, Marketing Principles and Practice (4th Ed.) Pearson Education, United Kingdom.
Ormond, J 2005, Endless Summer (1964) Consuming waves and surfing the frontier, Film and History: An interdisciplinary journal of film and television studies, London.
Sadler, J in Steele, L 2015, ‘How Surf Style Finally Went Mainstream in 2015’, Men’s Journal, viewed 7 September 2015, < http://www.mensjournal.com/style/collection/how-surf-style-finally-went-mainstream-in-2015-20150608>.