Surf’s Up! This Season, We’re Channelling Our Inner Beach Bum
Despite three of the four major fashion cities being totally landlocked, for Spring/Summer 2019 surf culture has captured the industry’s imagination. It’s time to blast out the Beach Boys and get gnarly because, from tie-dye to knitted beanies, shell jewellery to board shorts – and yup, literal wetsuits – the SS19 catwalks were awash with surf-inspired pieces to add to your wardrobe.
Rihanna first dipped her toe in the water of the Cali cool trend last year, when she championed zip-up swimsuits and rash vests for her Fenty x Puma SS18 collection, but this season designers across the board went all out for the ’60s aesthetic.
From New York wunderkind Collina Strada to Fashion East graduate ASAI, tie-dye made a comeback, shedding its hemp-and-hippie connotations with contemporary acid house hues and sheer fabric. The homespun print got the grown-up treatment at Stella McCartney via work-appropriate boilersuits, while at MSGM it stayed true to its beach bum heritage with oversized hoodies and baggy denim. You’ll have seen Gigi Hadid don Ganni’s tie-dye flak jacket at Coachella this year, and R13 set the tone by sending a tousle-haired Kaia Gerber out in a vibrant tie-dye blazer, matching tee and loose denim cutoffs.
Tie-dye aside, the tubular trend was most palpable at Etro, whose SS19 show – aptly called ‘Pacific Zen’ – drew inspiration from far-flung coastal paradises, from the “sport-minded and sun-kissed” of Venice Beach to “the postcard perfect landscape of Hawaii”. With models wearing The Endless Summer -esque paisley print scarves wrapped around wrists, knitted beanies and patchwork denim, the show had us itching to take a gap year. Speaking of fresh graduates finding themselves, Baja jackets are now less Camden market and more catwalk-approved, with The Elder Statesman, Amiri and Adaptation each turning out versions, all available at Net-A-Porter.
Also seen at R13 were the new summer accessory du jour. Part bucket hat, part sunhat, it’s cotton, tie-dye and wide-brimmed but floppy, and everyone from Rejina Pyo to Mango is in, leaving you no excuse to neglect sun protection this season. Elsewhere in the world of accessories, if you thought shell jewellery had its moment in the sun last summer, think again: the micro-trend has only gained momentum this season, with Tohum creating the most collectable gold-plated pieces around. They’ve reached sandals, too, with & Other Stories offering some of the sweetest shell shoes going. If shells aren’t your thing, check out Mikia, a ’90s label producing multi-stone beaded necklaces and bracelets, sure to suit salty hair and sun-soaked skin.
On the more practical side, surf culture is the fastest growing sub-sector of athleisure, with every retailer from ASOS to Browns stocking up on the beach-bound must-haves: rash vests, surf tops, zip-up one-pieces and wetsuits from old-school favourites like Roxy, Rip Curl and Billabong, while Sportmax made its own versions in electric blue, red and grey.
Whether you go for the sporty I’m-here-to-catch-waves aesthetic, or the laid-back sundowners-on-the-beach look, there’s a wave for everyone to ride this season – even if home is Birmingham rather than Baja.
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