We want it to be more of a creative, inviting atmosphere,” Barata said. “We kinda want to be the anti-jeweler.”
It's easy to pin someone as a skater or a surfer. Not that everyone in the scene looks the same or that there are never exceptions. But every statement as a "classic" hidden back in the first few pages of its history--a "throwback" image for each brand that's been dawned by the most influential members of the scene. Brands such as DC, Vans, and Volcom have cornered the skater market. Billabong, O'Neill, and Hurley are the equivalent in surfing apparel.
But this is not to say new brands don't have a shot, nor does it suggest that these mainstream brands aren't looking for new twists. Back in 2010, Billabong's Women's Brand Director Candy Harris said in an interview with Transworld Business magazine, "We aren’t in competition with the Forever21s of the world because we see our brand in a different category. We are not just a clothing brand—we’re an events company, a social-networking site, and a purveyor of surf culture."
In simple terms, brands that target action sport athletes are in a unique position to build on a lifestyle, as opposed to purely visual fads. Therefore, as classic as surfers and skaters may appear to the untrained eye, a closer look will open your eyes to a true evolution.
It's pretty obvious when you look at photographs from today and yesteryear side-by-side: the shorts have gotten longer and the hair has gotten shorter. But more subtle changes are there as well. Brands, through the events and networking Harris referred to, have become so integrated with the skating culture that their logos are front-and-center at any skatepark: They're on every hat and tee in bold colors and four dimensional fonts.
The next step in the evolution of lifestyle brands is already here if you know where to look. At the beginning of February, Vans released its "Love Me" line, inspired by the graffiti art of Curtis Kulig that already has a huge street presence in downtown LA. Here in Long Beach, native son and skateboarding enthusiast Mark Barata has founded and grown the Deviant Design Group, a high-tech custom jewelry store for icing up everything from rings to piercings and board decks. Barata's work has had a tremendous on a number of pro skaters, including Rob Dyrdek who featured Barata on his reality TV series Rob and Big. (Fun fact: Barata's the brains and handicraft of the scaled-down, gold version of Big.)
But, of course, true to the skater code of conduct, Barata's work is not exclusive to clients with high net worth. In this week's Long Beach post, Barata is quoted as saying, "We want it to be more of a creative, inviting atmosphere,” Barata said. “We kinda want to be the anti-jeweler.”
So punk rock...