As the influence of activewear takes hold of our daily wardrobes, a new collaboration arrives merging the lines between surfwear and high fashion. And it's eco-friendly to boot.
Paris-born designer Julien David, who studied fashion at Parson's School of Design in New York, was a keen skater until he was seventeen. He still steps on a board occasionally, whether it's to surf or skate, but his ability to blend cool counterculture tropes into his catwalk designs caught the eye of surf giant Quiksilver.
David unveiled the first instalment of a three-year collaboration with the surf brand during his S/S 2015 show in Paris on the ripped bodies of pro-surfer Marc Lacomare and snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov. The line of wetsuits, board shorts and rash vests reaches stores this month and is intended to function as a hybrid of high fashion and performance apparel. 'The shorts are highly technical piece of clothing, but I am happy for people to wear them anywhere,' he says.
When designing, David had in mind 'memories of the brand from the late 1980s and early 90s. There are anti-conformists vibes that I love and that drew me to the sport in the first place and now I'm putting forward the freedom of the spirit at that time. I also used a character from their archive prints called the "Ghetto Dog",' he adds.
His tuxedo trompe-l'oeil wetsuit is a stand out. 'I wanted to have a classy touch in the first season, mixing surf board shorts with tailored jackets. I also did this James Bond-esque tuxedo-inspired wetsuit. I had a 20 person live big band wearing it for the show, kind of a scuba jazz band.'
Much noise has been made about sustainability and eco-footprints in fashion lately and Quiksilver has been honing its eco-driven production methods along with innovative fabric finishes - one of the reasons David was keen to partner with the brand. 'As a smaller designer, it is difficult to have the resources to develop interesting eco-friendly fabrics and research new manufacturing methods so I wanted to ask the Quiksilver team to focus on recycled materials. It's not the main point of the collaboration but it's a bonus for the customer. It makes sense to be more economically aware it if you can.'
Quiksilver has therefore used recycled bottles to create waterproof stretch fabrics with an American company called Repreve, and plant based bio-rubber, as an alternative to neoprene for their wetsuits. Furthermore, the rash guards are made from recycled UV resistant poly-blend fabrics while t-shirts are 100 percent organic cotton. So will it soon roll out to include womenswear? 'Maybe,' he says, 'We have signed for three years minimum, so a lot can happen.'