Wrangler and Billabong mix classic western with vintage surf
On Thursday, July 22, Billabong and Wrangler are releasing the first chapter of an unexpected collaboration. Mixing the western aesthetic of the American jeans brand with the surf culture of the Australian board sports label might not seem like the most obvious link-up, but the two companies have faced the challenges of the collaboration head on, signing off on a consistent collection made using sustainable materials.
"Wrangler was Billabong founder Gordon Merchant's favorite brand of jeans. It influenced the cut of the first Billabong boardshorts, which revolutionized a market that, at the time, offered shorts that were stiff, itchy and uncomfortable," explains Christelle Kipping, European head of marketing for womenswear at Billabong. "In the early 70s, somewhere along the Gold Coast, Gordon Merchant decided to create a tough boardie. His mission led him to deconstruct his favorite jeans. Just like a denim manufacturer adapts to the needs of cowboys and cowgirls so as to allow them to ride in a pair of resistant jeans, we, as surf specialists, come up with pieces that support surfers as they take on the biggest waves."
The first part of the collection is made up of some 40 menswear pieces, including a number of boardshorts inspired by the styles and prints of the 70s. This vintage spirit can also be found in ready-to-wear pieces, such as denim jackets, t-shirts, sweatshirts and jeans. For women, the collection proposes both classic and crochet bikinis, which complement an offering composed of dresses, playsuits in organic cotton or hemp and, of course, jeans, shorts and denim jackets.
Using sustainable materials such as recycled polyster, recycled or organic cotton, and hemp, the collection is very much in line with the commitments made by Billabong this year. The Boardriders-owned brand recently announced the launch of its We Sea Change program, through which the label has committed to ensuring that all of its products that are designed to be used in the sea – from swimsuits and boardshorts to full-body wetsuits, shorties and lycra – are environmentally friendly.
And beyond this ecological engagement, the collection's campaign, which was shot around northern New South Wales, aims to rewrite the connection between the universes of the two brands.
"While we continue to offer new apparel through meaningful collaborations, it's great to work with a brand like Billabong, which is aligned with our values and has taken inspiration from our products since the beginning," explains Holly Wheeler, VP for global brand marketing at Wrangler. "The result of this collaboration is authentic, unique and sustainable, mixing surf and western."
The collection is available through both brands' physical and digital networks, as well as at selected retailers, such as Urban Outfitters, Asos, Zalando, Place des Tendances and About You, in Europe.
A second collaborative collection for fall is set to hit stores in September, with a further capsule planned for summer 2022.
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