Surf fashion still booming

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SOUTHERN Man Surf Shop rode the wave alongside some of Australia’s top surf brand when beach culture took off in the early 1980s.

When Billabong, Rip Curl, Quiksilver and Mango, to name a few, introduced their new surf fashion labels, Ulladulla’s little surf shop at the top of the hill jumped on board.

Surf clothing went from guys wearing a pair of shorts in the water, to wanting a whole range of colourful boardshorts, t-shirts and jackets to wear on and off the beach.

Owner Juanita Saunders said Southern Man embraced the popular labels and went from selling a few pairs of shorts a week, to selling hundreds of pairs of boardies in a couple of days. “It went mad in the ‘80s,” she said, “everyone wanted these bright surf clothes.” “Everyone wanted to wear the surf labels that were so big around the country. “At the time, we were the only surf shop in town.”

By the end of the decade, women wanted part of the action and the big names went into ladies wear. Southern Man expanded to stock women’s swimwear and a range of fashions and accessories. Juanita said surf labels have never lost their appeal with women and young girls.

Many smaller labels have come and gone, but the big names are still popular and are leaders in fashion around the world. “The girls like to wear Billabong and Roxy clothing,” she said. “They still have swimmers, shorts and tops, but also a range of dresses, skirts and more dressy styles as well.” She said, along with the rest of the fashion industry, surf fashion was constantly changing and people were always seeking out the latest styles.
“We have new stock every six weeks,” Juanita said. “It is always changing and we have to work hard to keep up and ensure we have the current look. “There are four seasons now, not just summer and winter.”

Kent said Southern Man has continued to focus on surf wear, but has introduced skate wear, including shoes.

“The surf and skate shoes are really big now,” he said.

“It’s always changing. “We never used to sell many thongs, but now people want surf brand thongs and we sell hundreds of pairs.”

Surf fashion is not just about summer clothing, winter is just as big for Southern Man with loads of jackets, wetsuits, jeans and fashions from the big name brands.