Quiksilver

For decades Quiksilver has been a mainstay in the surf and snow industry with their world-renowned boardshorts, hoodies, and tees. In Spring 2007, the brand launched Quiksilver Limited Collection, “a premium specialty extension” of the main Quiksilver young men’s line.

“Drawing fresh water from the well of [their] deep surf heritage and taking straight from the heart through the use of symbols,” the collection features war paint patterns and angry peace signs in aqua hues, coral and neutral tones.

Uncertain how premium the line really is with boardshorts, hoodies, tees and a couple of knits, we asked Steve Fontes, Design Director of Quiksilver Limited Collection to give some insight into both the design details and the meaning behind the line. You be the judge.

“We build confidence with our retailers to insure that we are worthy of sitting on their floor.”

Format: Please state who you are and your role at Quiksilver.
Steve Fontes: Steve Fontes, Design Director.

Format: Tell us about your background in fashion and design.
Steve Fontes: Started making clothes in high school with friends who were in bands, and my love for it grew when I started working retail at Huntington Surf & Sport. Just to seeing all the brands and wanting to make better clothes than what was currently out there inspired me to design. While at Long Beach State I studied design and then starting working at Split as an intern for about and years. The crew there taught me a lot of what I know today. From graphics to pattern making to tech packs. I learned a lot and will be forever grateful to them. Once I graduated college in 1998 a friend of mine at Quiksilver, Tyson White got a hold of me and I’ve been here ever since. I’ve been lucky enough to design pieces for all categories, but my true passion lies in boardshorts!

Format: Quiksilver Limited Collection collaborated with DPM (Disruptive Pattern Material) and Hardy Blechman of Maharishi for the first Limited Collection in 2007. How did that relationship come about and how has it evolved since then?
Steve Fontes: Quiksilver’s reknowned artist Simon Buttonshaw started the relationship with Hardy and there was a mutual respect for both brands from the start. We kept it a strictly Limited one time offering of product at boutiques. We went in headfirst and the outcome was amazing.

Format: How would you characterize the Quiksilver Limited Collection attitude?
Steve Fontes: The attitude for the range is quite simple: clean, unexpected and true to Quiksilver. We create product that is eye-catching by virtue of the boardshorts and t-shirts that are Quiksilver staples, but at the same time create sportswear that takes slimmer, sleeker silhouettes and pins them in non-traditional fabrics.

Format: What are some daily design challenges that you face?
Steve Fontes: Making sure each line continues to evolve and is different to the last. With this range and the accounts we’re in, the brands around us are much different to our main range and we need to make sure that we build confidence with our retailers to insure that we are worthy of sitting on their floor.

Format: Quiksilver is rooted in surf and snow. How do these two industries play into Streetwear?  
Steve Fontes: The collection takes inspiration from iconic artists from Quiksilver’s early days and reinterprets the design to fit a premium, fashion forward aesthetic. The collection, although it is a premium fashion line, still at its core has the fun, adventurous board-riding spirit.

Format: “What makes Warpaint special is that it wasn’t a direct take from the streets of New York, but was culturally digested, assimilated and re-expressed. It was a commitment to an authentic process.” Please elaborate on this statement.
Steve Fontes: We always make sure that there is a spot for one of our original Quiksilver prints in the range, and it’s chosen based on current trends and overall fit for our line.  It was Quiksilver’s legendary artist, Simon Buttonshaw’s artistic interpretation on any art movement that was never seen before in the surf industry.

Format: What’s up with “the angry peace sign”?
A peace sign needs to be happy in happy times… The happy times are coming!

Format: How does a brand in today’s fashion market stay innovative? Steve Fontes: Look the other way and do your own thing.

Format: What do you have in store for the future? Collabos and FW09?
Steve Fontes: Collabos: got some coals on the fire, but can’t discuss at the moment. FW09: Similar to Spring 09 with a bit more military influence and your unexpected fabrics in classic silhouettes, think ‘Aloha Army’.

Jules C

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