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Life’s A Beach is hard to miss. Its bold designs immediately capture your attention, as such we’d be surprised if you’ve not seen it adorning skate-shop walls, or when poring over 80s skate photos. After disappearing for 21 years, it thankfully returned in 2013, in part thanks to a nostalgic Melvyn De Villiers.
Melvyn found himself wondering what had happened to the brand, this led him to find out that its licence was up for purchase. From there he notified Greg Finch that he’d worked out a deal with the owners, and that was that. Greg immediately knew he had to get Fergus Purcell involved. Fergus’ work as an illustrator and designer has been hugely informed by the brand, he has three Life’s A Beach tattoos, it was the perfect fit. You’ll likely know Fergus from his work for Tonite, Palace, Stüssy, and many other well known brands.
Life’s A Beach started life back in 1984, it was founded by Jeff Theodosakis and brothers Mark and Brian Simo. All three were based in Chicago and toured the motocross circuit which led them to Florida a few months of the year. Whilst in Florida they would spend time at the beach, and were basically offended by the spandex heavy beach fashion of the time.
They began to create alternatives, baggy surf shorts made out of reclaimed materials including table cloths and curtains. They had some success selling these on the motocross circuit, but it wasn’t until a Fort Lauderdale shop started selling their product during spring break that the company really started to take off. In 1985 they moved the brand to California. Doze Green, the American cubist painter, was involved and is credited with creating their trademark bone pattern, amongst other designs.
As Gary Warnett noted in his Beachlife article, Life’s A Beach essentially assembled an extreme sports lifestyle range way before anyone else had tied the pastimes together. They sponsored motocross rider Rick Johnson, a stand out character, particularly amongst the sartorially challenged world of motocross, as well as surfer Sunny Garcia and BMXer Brian Blyther.
Life’s A Beach, and its skateboarding division Bad Boys Club (introduced in 1988), was represented by some now legendary skateboarders. Bill Danforth and Mark Gonzales repped the clothes, alongside Texans Jeff Phillips and Bryan Pennington. Mike Vallely, Mike Garcia, Ron Allen, Monty Nolder and Reese Simpson were also involved with the brand. The adverts were irreverent and humorous, something that no other company was really doing at the time.
In the 90s skateboarding underwent a rather major aesthetic shift, the bright surf patterns that had defined the previous decade were out as more muted tonal colours began to take over in terms of popularity, which saw Life’s A Beach lose what had made it so unique. This shift lead to the company’s partners break-up in 1990. Interestingly, No Fear, yes No Fear, was born from Life’s A Beach demise. Marty Moates, in partnership with Brian Blyther and Brian’s brother, turned an old Life’s A Beach design into a full-blown company, one that still has success, and some mockery, today.
After 21 years in the wilderness, and a chance find from Melvyn, Life’s A Beach has returned to its rightful place in skateboarding and surf culture, with a team behind it that appreciate what made the brand special in the first place.
We’re stoked to be able to bring you not only their latest Summer 19 collection (shop here) but also some incredible archive pieces that they’ve released since the company was reborn under the stewardship of Greg, Melvyn and Ferg.
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