Look like Laird
Hawaii waterman Laird Hamilton teamed up with Steve & Barry's to create a new surf-and-skate clothing line for men, dubbed Wonderwall
Long before the days when you couldn't be a celeb without launching your own clothing line, and even those on the street understood the power of individual branding, surfers were living the concept.
Pieces from the Wonderwalls collection include casual to work attire, with pieces such as graphic T-shirts, board shorts, cargo shorts, polos, jeans, and more, costing no more than $9.98 per piece.
When: Laird Hamilton will be in the store at noon Saturday
Place: Steve & Barry's, Waikele Premium Outlets
Laird Hamilton, on the phone from New York where he had several business appointments, recalls he was 16 when he picked up his first clothing sponsor, Maui and Sons.
"Without the support of sponsors, we could not have done what we were doing," he said. "It was always my goal to make something of my surfing. I think what's happening is somthing beyond my wildest dreams."
Today, the renowned big-wave, tow-in and paddle surfer is a viable brand in his own right, associated with adventurous spirit, grace and athleticism, and that is what Steve & Barry's wanted when they approached Hamilton regarding starting a surf-and-skate collection for men.
While he has worked on clothing lines before, he said, "This is the first with a whole line that I have final approval of, where I've been involved in creating the name and the logo."
The result is Wonderwall, a nearly 200-piece collection that reflects all aspects of Hamilton's lifestyle, from active wear fit to tackle 70-foot waves and marathon paddleboard journeys around the world, to day wear suitable "to take meetings in New York," he said.
The line debuted last week and will have its Hawaii launch Saturday at the Steve & Barry's store at Waikele Premium Outlets. Hamilton will be there at noon to mark the occasion.
"It was perfect timing," Hamilton said. "I'd been looking to do something like this and once I understood their business philosophy, I discovered this was a perfect match."
Steve & Barry's delivers trendy apparel at a per-piece cost of $9.98 or less ($8.98 in mainland stores).
PHOTOS BY BETTY SHIMABUKURO / BETTY@STARBULLETIN.COM
Among celebrities associated with Steve & Barry's collections are Sarah Jessica Parker, below, Venus Williams, Amanda Bynes and Ben Wallace. Prices are $8.98 or less across the country, but a dollar more in Hawaii due to shipping costs. At the first Hawaii store, in Waikele, video screens show scenes from Parker's "Sex in the City" movie over a display of her Bitten collection.
Hamilton, who spends winters at his Maui home and summers in Malibu, appreciated the idea of making clothing accessible, due to his roots on Kauai, where he remembers the humiliation of growing up poor, with only two pairs of pants and T-shirts for school.
"By the end of the year, I'd have puka pants and I was embarrassed," he said. "Clothing is connected to our self-esteem and everyone should be able to find clothes that look good, that they can afford. We're also there for people who can afford it but are tired of paying so much for clothing.
"Through my experience modeling and working in the garment industry I know how much stuff costs to make, and when people are charging exorbitant prices for something I know doesn't cost nearly as much to make, I just think, 'That can't last forever.' "
In spite of Hamilton's status as a global surf icon, married to professional volleyball player and model Gabrielle Reece, he hasn't lost his humility and prizes clothing for qualities of fit, function and comfort. His board shorts have "all the necessities: good drawstring, wax pocket, quick-drying fabric, comfort, fit, the whole thing."
Still in tune with his younger self, he envisions meeting the needs of guys who prefer "tracking the next big swell or finding a new skatepark, not worrying about having enough money for T-shirts and shorts."