It’s a question that has been bouncing around in my head for a while now – “What is the connection/fascination with luxury brands and the action sports industry?”
We hear last week that Leonardo Fiorvanati is now a Gucci Man Ambassador. Burberry London last season had Surfboards in their Oxford St store as part of their campaign, Vuitton launched their soft leather range a few years ago with Alex Olson skating through LA, Dior are currently mid mall at Westfield City with a skate inspired range, whilst we are all too aware of Giselle’s boyfriend surfing a Chanel board whilst she’s spraying her No 5 on before walking out the door. More directly we have seen Alexander Wang’s collab with Hayden Shapes, which has produced works of art and showing the true beauty of a surfboard in the worlds incredible retail locations.
So what is it about the aspirational side of Surfing and Skateboarding in particular that Luxury Brands cant get enough of? Is it the changing meaning of luxury – we find ourselves daily talking about “everyday luxury” and the casual effortless appeal, that is free of time restraints and more about well being than, well – having. But is this why Dior needs to present product that is accompanied by a skateboard? I don’t see the local groms rocking around in a pair of Gucci trainers…… or to be honest, an LV bag in the back of the Porsche Cayenne parked in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs while it’s owner goes for a surf…….
One connection that I have come too many times, is Formula One Racing. For a long time the Auto Industry has relied on this category to develop technology that over time becomes standard in road vehicles. Does this mean that the tech that Mercedes have evolved with Garrett McNamara to help surf Nazarre is going to become something that I can buy from my local surf shop in a few years time?
“Or is it simply a category that these brands see is wide open for reinvention?”
Has the Action Sports Customer evolved to the point where when they were once buying a fullback print tee or some Vision Streetwear high tops – and now looking to a 5k leather Vuitton backpack to take on his train ride to work?
“Whatever the motive, its a conscious decision by some of the worlds largest brands that have access to incredible amounts of customer data to focus their ranges in a certain direction – and this is where they are focussing.”
I’m intrigued to see how some of the worlds fastest growing sports, in particular with the Olympic buzz around them, continue to either embrace or ignore the influx of these large luxury brands.
Will this elevate the expectation from the customer of the environment Surf and Skate are presented?
Personally I love the fact that collab’s like Supreme + LV can exist so successfully, as it shows fashion is alive and kicking, not to mention the retail platforms that we saw earlier this year globally, but in particular in Sydney with queue’s around the block to grab a Supreme + LV hoodie keep people coming back for more!
We’ll watch this space with interest and suggest you do too.
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