LOS ANGELES — As a surfwear designer, Lian Murray’s career has spun a 360.
The former creative director and partner at Hurley International has launched a line of sportswear and denim called Aqua VI, dubbing it “premium surfwear.” The move, in partnership with onetime Hurley denim designer Ziggy Williams, comes 22 years after Murray started her first line during college, a junior dress business called Lian Alise.
“I didn’t think I’d be doing this again — I thought I’d retire and move to Hawaii — but I saw a void in the market,” she said.
That gap she sees — for trend-right, higher-quality product — is the one left between street-inspired brands such as Volcom and Stüssy and more core surf brands such as Hurley. Murray argued that an aging surfer may not want to always don that youthful Roxy T-shirt.
“If surf shops don’t donate floor space to the more premium sector, they stand to lose a generation of shoppers that’s growing up,” she said.
Aimed at 18- to 24-year-olds, Newport Beach, Calif.-based Aqua VI features 30 styles each for women and men consisting of denim jeans, miniskirts, boardshorts, knit and silk tops, belts and purses, borrowing a little punk inspiration from silver jewelry line Chrome Hearts and a sex-kitten vibe from Brigitte Bardot’s penchant for French shorts.
Stonewashed jersey knits, layered with inside printing and outside appliqués, flowy miniskirts with big satin ties and sandblasted denim indigo plaids with fleur-de-lis-carved rivets are key looks of the line. Partial to the palm tree and pineapple, Murray gives a halter top a fresh squeeze with a sewn-on juicy pineapple and accents a leather over-the-shoulder purse with brushed-gold pineapple rivets.
Aqua VI’s differentiating factor is its proprietary art, said Murray, who has scoured the Internet for artists. Currently, she’s working with London illustrator Adam Pointer, whose provocative themes, such as a silhouette of a topless girl holding a surfboard in vivid sunset hues, will adorn the line’s T-shirts. Williams also is tapping the ornate factor with the men’s jeans, walking shorts, woven shirts and Ts. For instance, denim pockets have leather trims and rhinestone studding.
Hermès is launching a Laundromat pop-up shop in NYC - dubbed Hermèsmatic - where customers can bring their old scarves to be dip-dyed by an expert. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews (📷: @donstahl)