I’ve talked about this shirt I used to have before. It was pink and it had a skull on it and was tribute to an old Quiksilver campaign that read: “If you can’t rock ’n’ roll, don’t fucking come.” Mom didn’t like the shirt, of course, but that shirt had energy in it. When I wore it, I had energy. It proved something to people. That I was part of a culture that most people didn’t understand. And Quiksilver, at that time, understood that. And I was emulating them. And proud of what it meant at the time. It started with the team.
They had a variety of people on the team that they used uniquely: Tim Curran and Nathan Fletcher. Kelly Slater and Tom Carroll. Strider Wasilewski (pre WSL version) and Braden Dias. Dylan Rieder and Dylan Graves as groms. Dudes who were unique and gnarly in all sorts of ways. But at the core: they all did something that was fucking sick. And I didn’t feel like it was forced. And while this goes back to my grom days, and it’s been pretty well-documented that Quiksilver has had its troubles with growing up to the size it is today, something recently caught my eye. And it came by way of a box of the strangest, most interesting clothes I’d seen from Quiksilver in a long time.
I poured out the box of t-shirts, shorts and sweatshirts. They look like they were plucked from my 4th grade hamper and enlarged and slightly updated. Sprinkled throughout that mix were strange, fucked up drawings, some you might even call cheesy on their own, but something was kind of coming together when you looked at the line as a whole. Skulls. Crossbones. Aggressive branding. There’s a weed leaf that says “High Performance.” It looked like it just didn’t give a fuck about trends. Or “what’s selling at retail.” It looks like they got Craig Anderson, Dane Reynolds, Mikey Wright and a few other guys on the team together and actually listened to what excited them, from the past and present, and then worked with their designers to create something both fresh and throwback, that their team would actually wear. And they committed to it.
Now I’m not here to go into much about the retail business or sell-through or any of that shit, but when we recently did a massive event in Huntington Beach, and invited every grom wild enough to come hangout with us on a Tuesday, I looked around and I actually saw Quiksilver shirts on kids who look like they wore them on purpose. Kids who definitely surfed. Skated. Moshed. Probably snuck in. Kids living like us. And they wore the shirts as a statement. Not on accident. And I think the last time I’ve seen that was over a decade ago. Maybe more.
The line that I had poured out on my bed has recently been released, and it is all from the “Dark Rituals” line, and the “Surf Tripping” line. Both throwbacks, but both influenced by Quik’s modern team, and the result has been shocking nearly everyone who sees it on me.
And whether this makes you go buy a t-shirt or not, doesn’t really concern me, but if anything, we should all do a nice slow-clap to a brand that’s had it’s struggles, it’s triumphs and looks, to us at least, to be re-entering a culture that it more or less created. And instead of using spread sheets to guide the way, they’re using fuckin’ rock ‘n’ roll.—Travis