Quiksilver Global GM on Echo Beach Celebration, and the Future
If you are an active social media user, it has been hard to miss Quiksilver’s celebration of the colorful Echo Beach era from the 1980s, which meshes quite well with current retro trends.
We asked Quiksilver Global GM Garry Wall some questions about how Quiksilver is celebrating Echo Beach and other parts of its 50-year history this year while also looking to the future.
Garry also explained how music and sustainability are going to play a bigger role with the Quiksilver brand going forward.
How is Quiksilver tapping into Quiksilver’s history to make it relevant for today?
Garry Wall: Our current “Generations” brand campaign that is now in its third year is all about celebrating our past, present and future.
What are some components of the campaign?
Garry Wall: We have a ton of digital content flowing across all platforms, ranging from some rad archival stories told by the likes of Jeff Hakman to some of our freshest real time content, all in the theme of past, present, future.
On the product side throughout 2019, which is our 50th year, we are releasing a series of DNA capsules as part of our celebrations.
The first capsule that dropped was ST Comp, which was the world’s first stretch fabric boardshort. With graphics inspired by Formula 1 Racing and a name meaning Surf Train Competition, it was a response to the birth of professional surfing in the ‘80s. ST Comp was all about high performance surfing, from the way the boardshorts looked to the way they felt.
Also in the 1980s, Quiksilver released a collection of clothing that started a movement. The name was Echo Beach and the aesthetic was radical for the time. Designs were bold. Colors were bright. Everything oozed with personality and it was all about rock ’n’ roll. The energy of Echo Beach sparked the first generation of professional free surfers.
The Stars boardshort was first released in the 1980’s and is one of the most recognizable pieces in the Echo Beach collection. It originally appeared in Quiksilver’s iconic “If you can’t rock ‘n roll…” ad campaign and then earned its place in surf history via the movie Kelly Slater In Black And White in 1990.
These two capsule collections are in-market now and we have two more War Paint capsules that will drop in the back half of the year for both surf and snow.
In addition, we have a bunch of speed-to-market capsules that are being delivered from concept to consumer in under 90 days.
What are some examples of how you are activating the DNA capsules in the market?
Garry Wall: Each region is activating in a different way. In the U.S., we partnered with Wave Tools surfboards and hosted a retro surf event called the “No Comp Comp” and an under-18 battle of the bands after-party in Newport Beach a few weeks ago.
In Australia, the team leveraged our relationship with Drop Music Festival during the Quik Pro Gold Coast and did a surprise music event at the contest site celebrating 50 years.
Both of these events also signified our return to the music space and we have a bunch more happening as we reconnect music to the brand. We like to think sports comes with commentary and boardriding comes with a soundtrack.
Are the products segmented to certain types of retail?
Garry Wall: The DNA capsules are segmented to our core channels since they are our key partners in this 50-year journey.
We also have another 50-year logo collection that has broader distribution so all consumers can engage with the brand’s 50-year celebrations. Also a large part of our apparel throughout 2019 has a gold 50th logo on the inside of the garment as a discovery moment.
How much does it help that the 1990s trend is happening now?
Garry Wall: For sure the ’80s-’90s thing is a nice collision on timing, but it’s has not influenced what we celebrate. Our past is our past.
It’s definitely been a wild ride at times, and we know we are not perfect, but we aim to improve every day and we are proud of what we have contributed to boardriding culture since our birth in 1969.
So I’d say the ’80s/’90s deal has affected how we celebrate, but not what we celebrate.
What else can we expect this year for Quiksilver’s 50th anniversary?
Garry Wall: We have no big internal back slapping parties planned. We want to celebrate with our customer and consumer in a more intimate way over the 12-month period.
While we are celebrating 50 years of adventure in 2019, we’re remaining highly focused on the future, like we always have been. We want to use this occasion to raise our voice and make a commitment.
We’re officially dedicating our next chapter to the mountain and the wave. It’s been our inspiration since day one, as we proudly proclaim via our logo. We want to make sure these playgrounds provide as much fun for the generations to come as they did for our founders back in 1969.
Quiksilver is aware of the role we play as a brand and product manufacturer and the huge responsibility we carry. This is why we have elevated environmental considerations on our priority list and started to implement a variety of initiatives to reduce our impact.
We have already recycled over 200 million used plastic bottles with our partners at Repreve and turned them into new products. Now we have stepped things up and are committed to making a 100% sustainable boardshort and outerwear range. This doesn’t just entail an extensive traceable recycled polyester program – we’re also exploring eco-friendly dying and insulation techniques to add to the equation.
On top of that, last year we signed on as a member of the Higg Index, the outdoor industry’s sustainability benchmarking tool that will help us identify and measure key focus areas and ways to improve through collective intelligence.
It’s about continual progress as we look to our next 50 years.