Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sophisticated Surfwear

Whether you’re on Folly Beach or Manhattan Beach, surfing is a lifestyle and a state of mind that nobody out grows.
Unfortunately, most surfwear apparel companies assume the opposite. They over concentrate and over saturate the apparel market for tweens and teens then immediately stop when their customers either go away to college or segue into the real world.
As any surfer knows, she or he will be riding those waves until sunset. In fact, Joie Rucker, the founder of Joie Jeans and Rich & Skinny Jeans is a devoted surf girl and she’s well more experienced than the usual teen.
What should a surf girl do when she out grows those teeny-bopper tees and minis and need decent stuff for that cocktail party at the beach cottage or a supper in a proper bistro or a simple run into the supermarket for more wine and cheese? The premier French sportswear company, Oxbow, is swimming to the rescue. After twenty years of sponsoring and nurturing surfers and extreme athletes well into their thirties and forties, Oxbow realized these mature jocks need a more stylish wardrobe than the loud, floral Hawaiian shirt.
Using the French tradition of better textile and tailoring, Oxbow International General Manager, Eric Bonnem , spearheaded a team of designers in evaluating activewear into contemporary sportwear that can transition a surfer woman or a surfer gentleman from sand to soiree without skipping a beat.
To paraphrase, Oxbow’s US CEO, Gary Hunt, “We’re here to carry the surfer from the surf to Skybar.”
He’s reflecting on what it means to be a surfer today and how real surfers live. They’re not in the waves all the time and few abandon the sport after age 18. These educated wave-riders need casual clothes and cover-ups that can double as a pretty dress or a breezy tunic topping off a pair of jeans.
Today’s surfer girl lives multiple lives. As in Gabrielle Reece, they’re fit moms who run immediately from the beach to the babysitter then to the market for groceries. Or, she’s a busy designer like Joie who only needs a simple chic top or a pull on a trouser or a kicky skirt to take her back to the office or studio.

As what Gabrielle’s husband, Laird Hamilton, said, “We’re surfers. We know who we are. We work hard.” The surfing couples, parents or not, want easy but elegant attire for a Summer White Party or hip outfits for that post-beach bar-hopping with friends. These outfits better share multiple lives as the wearer.

In fact, Oxbow would be great collegiate wear for the university surfer girl. This dressy ensemble fits right in campus with a simple sweater and a wrap mini. The professor will never know you went surfing right before class or the night before.
Think of Oxbow as the smarter big sister to all those American surf apparel companies still catering to the kid sister.

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