Stab Magazine | RVCA x Birdwell

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RVCA x Birdwell

‘Quality is our Gimmick’

style // Apr 5, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Quite often we get things right the first time. Reinventing the wheel applies as much in boardshorts as it does in toothbrush manufacturing. Tongue scrubbers, hyper stretch, it’s hard to know where practicality stops and the obscene begins. Birdwell Beach Britches have been making high quality surf trunks since 1961, and, they’re still in business, producing the very same product. The smart raconteurs at RVCA have taken a sprinkling of authenticity from the OG’s of surf trunks, and tee’d up a most divine collab.

Birdwell RVCA 2

Carrie Birdwell started hand stitching surf trunks in her front room in southern California in 1961, and when she realised that she was onto a winner, she put her husband and son to work. In subsequent years, seven Birdwell children worked on producing the two-ply nylon beach britches. To this day, the original Birdwell factory is still making the exact same product to the exact same standards – although Mrs B’s not manning the sewing machine anymore unfortunately. 

Birdwell RVCA 3

They say that fashion is in cyclical in nature. And, well, I’ll be blowed if all the savvy gent wants in his surf trunks these days is a boardshort that’s shortish, plainish in colour, and flattering in fit. If you leaf through the surfing history books, there’s no denying that the period in which surfers looked the coolest was the 60’s. Before things got cosmic and weird in the seventies (which was totally cool for different reasons) surfers looked sleek: clean shaven, shirts – occasionally ties – tailored trousers, nice shoes. They were as anti-establishment as surfing ever was – sleeping in the Salvation army hut near Makaha for entire winters, surfing, fishing, stealing chickens – while the rest of America was buying second homes and refrigerators. But here’s the real kicker. Apart from the tan, they didn’t look like surfers. And who the fuck wants to be pigeonholed? Keeping them guessing until the very last is just the way to be, and what a magical period in surfing culture the early to mid sixties was.

Birdwell RVCA 4

One of the smart things that RVCA does is to play on the interests of their team riders. You reckon Alex Knost was stoked when he found out his sponsor was doing a collab with the OG’s of californian surf trunks? You bet your Birdwell he was! Happy advocates equals walking billboards who’re actually stoked to rep their employers, and happy biz equals sales, ultimately. In the words of Mrs B herself, “quality will always be our gimmick.” Bravo RVCA, and bravo Birdwell Beach Britches. 32’s all ‘round.

Birdwell RVCA 5Birdwell RVCA 6Birdwell RVCA 7Birdwell RVCA 8Birdwell RVCA 9

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