Birdwell and RVCA have long enjoyed what might be called an “apparel crush.” The RVCA kids have looked over at Birdwell and thought, How did they manage to get it right the first time around what with the nylon, the stitching, fit, the quality? and the Birdwell team has smiled back going, Great vibe, great spirit, great surfers and skaters, love the Artist Network Program. Well the big news is that the crush has grown into a collaboration. I recently sat down with RVCA founder and president Pat Tenore to get the scoop.
Tell me about RVCA’s collaboration with Birdwell?
Birdwell has always stood for quality. Levis’s has the 501 and it’s like a staple in American culture, and in our subculture of surfing, Birdwell is the same. From the Newport Beach lifeguards wearing them back in the day to my brother-in-law from the East Coast—he came to visit me about fifteen years ago and he had these Birdwells that are pink. I asked him, “How’d you get those Birdwells so light,” ‘cause I knew they were originally red. And he’s like, “I’ve had these since junior guards,” and he’s quite a bit older than me, so those were from the ‘70s, and he still wore them over a decade later. I was always impressed by how long they’d last. Quality is our gimmick—that’s their saying, and it really is quality. I’ve always been a fan, and I’ve always wanted to work with Birdwell. We were able to collaborate and I’m able to use Birdwell’s product and RVCA’s platform to combine with the artists and advocates and surfers and so on, so the product will have a little RVCA twist to it. It’s a good collaboration ‘cause we’re bringing our tribe into the Birdwell mix, and the product is constant, it hasn’t changed, and the nylon that they use and the stitches for the britches, everything they do just makes so much sense. When something’s original and functional the first time you don’t have to redo it. It was a good fit.
What will the boardshorts look like?
Well it’s the original base cloth that they use, and some of the liners are screened with our original check patterns that were made fifteen years ago. We also have towels, hats. We had to hold the integrity of Birdwell and use RVCA as a platform, so there’s just minor tweaks here and there so it’d sit well with what Birdwell set out to do and what RVCA’s done for the last fifteen years.
You’ve been in the youth culture world for a long time now. What about it is most interesting to you?
For me, surfing and skateboarding are individual sports. I enjoy watching competition, but that’s not really what it’s about. It’s fun for me to find interesting people and following their journeys. I like watching the individuals grow—what they’re up to next, where they’re going. I love seeing people to do what they love to do. I love to be a fan and in the audience. It’s like watching a movie, but in real time.
Shop the Birdwell X RVCA Collection here: https://www.rvca.com/shop/mens-birdwell-x-rvca