Why are Luxury Brands Fascinated with the Action Sports Industry?

Haydenshapes and Alexander Wang collab

Luxury + the Action Sports Industry.

By Dan Eagles

It’s a question that has been bouncing around in my head for a while now – “What is the connection/fascination with luxury brands and the action sports industry?”

We hear last week that Leonardo Fiorvanati is now a Gucci Man Ambassador. Burberry London last season had Surfboards in their Oxford St store as part of their campaign, Vuitton launched their soft leather range a few years ago with Alex Olson skating through LA, Dior are currently mid mall at Westfield City with a skate inspired range, whilst we are all too aware of Giselle’s boyfriend surfing a Chanel board whilst she’s spraying her No 5 on before walking out the door. More directly we have seen Alexander Wang’s colab with Hayden Shapes, which has produced works of art and showing the true beauty of a surfboard in the worlds incredible retail locations.

Leo in the lap of luxury. Image: fashionista.com

So what is it about the aspirational side of Surfing and Skateboarding in particular that Luxury Brands cant get enough of? Is it the changing meaning of luxury – we find ourselves daily talking about “everyday luxury” and the casual effortless appeal, that is free of time restraints and more about well being than, well – having. But is this why Dior needs to present product that is accompanied by a skateboard? I don’t see the local groms rocking around in a pair of Gucci trainers…… or to be honest, an LV bag in the back of the Porsche Cayenne parked in Sydneys Eastern Suburbs while its owner goes for a surf…….

One connection that I have come too many times, is Formula One Racing. For a long time the Auto Industry has relied on this category to develop technology that over time becomes standard in road vehicles. Does this mean that the tech that Mercedes have evolved with Garrett McNamara to help surf Nazarre is going to become something that I can buy from my local surf shop in a few years time?

Or is it simply a category that these brands see is wide open for reinvention?

Has the Action Sports Customer evolved to the point where when they were once buying a fullback print tee or some Vison Streetwear hi tops – and now looking to a 5k leather Vuitton backpack to take on his train ride to work?

Whatever the motive, its a conscious decision by some of the worlds largest brands that have access to incredible amounts of customer data to focus their ranges in a certain direction – and this is where they are focussing.

I’m intrigued to see how some of the worlds fastest growing sports, in particular with the Olympic buzz around them, continues to either embrace or ignore the influx of these large luxury brands.

Will this elevate the expectation from the customer of the environment Surf and Skate are presented?

Personally I love the fact that collab’s like Supreme + LV can exist so successfully, as it shows fashion is alive and kicking, not to mention the retail platforms that we saw earlier this year globally, but in particular in Sydney with queue’s around the block to grab a Supreme + LV hoodie keep people coming back for more!

We’ll watch this space with interest and suggest you do too.




Dan is the founder and director of Prospace Design Studios, based out of Sydney, Australia and brings with him a wealth of experience in the shop fit, design and brand experience delivery at retail.

Prospace create innovative brand experiences, no matter the size or scale; their team of experts, in retail design, product and styling live and breathe design and branding. The team’s creative thinking is in tune with clients needs to not only create wonderfully designed spaces, but to fully immerse themselves in the brands strategy in order to tailor excellent customer experiences that yield greater commercial leverage.

Prospace is a team of individuals with varied and dynamic backgrounds that are able to offer a holistic design service in order to bring your vision to life.

Visit the website here.

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