STOKED: surf style and situated bodily practice.

Ripley, Julie (2015) STOKED: surf style and situated bodily practice. In: Fashion and the Body Workshop, 5-6 May 2015, Centre for Fashion Studies, Stockholm University.

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Abstract / Summary

The rise of 'surf style' in mainstream fashion in the 1990s made enormous profits for businesses like Quiksilver and Billabong which had begun life as specialist sportswear suppliers to a niche market. Since then the look has become ubiquitous, and now, just as the wearing of military style is not confined to the armed forces, 'surf style' is worn in and out of the water by surfers and non-surfers alike. But this is a look which can not be reduced to the superficial use of hibiscus flower motifs and surf-related slogans: it is typified by the surfing body.

The surfing body, clothed in brands that convey subcultural authenticity or naked and wearing only sun bleached hair or tribal tattoos came into being in the late 1980s. Against a background of economic growth in the West, a new youth culture emerged. Working visas to the antipodes for under 26s were available along with, in the UK, a student grants and readily available casual work at home to finance the trip and on arriving, to venture into the Pacific Rim. The 1990s gap year phenomenon was born, and with it, the surfing body.

Heels cracked by salt water and sandals, hair knotted by the sea, the surfing body signified conspicuous leisure as clearly as the crinoline-wearing bourgeois wife's of the 19th century. No wonder then that products aimed at creating its simulacra in chilly buttoned-up Britain were so eagerly marketed and consumed. This paper will explore some of the issues around social class and aspiration inherent in the pursuit of the surfing body, examining the gendered consumption of a fashionable look which embodies both activity and idleness.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Fashion & Textiles > Fashion
Fashion & Textiles
Social Sciences
Courses by Department: The Fashion & Textiles Institute > Textile Design
Depositing User: Julie Ripley
Date Deposited: 08 May 2017 10:55
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2023 13:39


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