A swell at sea has been building and has finally crashed upon the shores of Ivy Style. Yes, there’s a surfing micro-trend going on in Tradsville.
Beyond the coinciding of their heydays, the connections between surfing and the Ivy League Look are quite incidental. The founder of Ivy-Style.com used to surf, but that’s really stretching the connection. However, as we’ve remarked several times before, the 1964 movie “Ride The Wild Surf” includes a very interesting usage of the term “Mr. Ivy League” to refer to a clean-cut, handsome young man with an air of quiet superiority.
But while there’s little direct connection historically, there are a number of things going on right now in the clothing business. In mid-May we reported on the “surfing Weejun” shorts put out by Japanese brand Beams Plus and sold by Mr. Porter.
A few weeks later the Vancouver Sun ran a trend story saying how vintage surf was influencing men’s collections:
You can be sure photos of vacationing West Coast icons Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and most importantly (but perhaps lesser-known today) record producer Terry Melcher were pinned to more than a few design studio “inspiration” boards when designers were at work on this season’s clothing.
Here’s a young Melcher working his Richie Cunningham vibe:
The Vancouver Sun story came to our attention thanks to this passage:
What makes the summer men’s collections of 2013 different from any other year is the very specific sartorial moment of the key influence: 1966. This was a transitional period in men’s fashion, from the utilitarian shapes of post-Kennedy, Ivy League uniforms to the pre-dandy peacocks of the later 1960s. Think of it as Ivy League loosened up, or preppy gone wild.
As the media (including us) paddles out to catch the latest trend, you can be sure the major preppy brands all checked the same swell forecast well in advance. Tommy Hilfiger launched a “surf shack” collection this season, supported by a big marketing campaign.
Ralph Lauren, meanwhile, recently made this surf-themed shirt:
Previously there was this t-shirt…
… not to mention this juxtaposition of surfing and polo:
At Brooks Brothers there’s all kinds of stuff going on. These embroidered shorts with a surfer motif (apparently from a previous season), came up in an image search:
Currently, though, Brooks is offering a surf-themed tie, t-shirt and embossed belt. The surfboards in the top image were made for a photo shoot, and Brooks used surfing imagery in marketing materials for this season:
But it’s in the wacky imagination of the Japanese that surfing and the Ivy League Look really come together. Turns out the surfing Weejun shorts made by Beams Plus were in collaboration with Koji Toyoda, who had an exibition of his graphic designs called “The Surf Ivy” at the Beams store in Tokyo last month. Here’s his own take on what an Ivy surfboard might look like:
And here are the fins:
For those who don’t live near a surfable body of water, there are ties, wallets, paint-splattered loafers…
… and popovers:
If you can ride a Weejun, why not a rep tie? One imagines that the surfer in this painting has torn off the symbol of 9-5 drudgery and embarked on a surfin’ safari:
Today is July 1st, meaning that, as much as we may wish it were endless, the first month of summer is already gone. Make hay — or catch a wave — while the sun shines. — c C m