18 Jul OP (Ocean Pacific) :: The Original “laid-back, California cool” Brand
We thought we would mark the passing of Jack O’Neill with a look at surf fashion and another iconic California brand. O’Neill is widely credited as the inventor of the wetsuit and O’Neill, like all great surf brands had their roots in utility. The allure of the California beach lifestyle brought many of these innovations into mainstream fashion.
O’Neill remains a giant in surf and skate wear, but one of the first brands to hit the mainstream was Ocean Pacific. It’s not too far of a reach to say that the ‘70s and ’80s were owned by Ocean Pacific. Originally a San Diego County surfboard brand, OP is perhaps best known for their iconic corduroy shorts. Those shorts had utilitarian roots—OP’s founder was simply looking for swim trunks that fit well even when wet. OP expanded into t-shirts, flip flops, and polos that glorified the California surf and sand—eventually finding their way into mainstream fashion magazines and the hearts of mall rats around the world.
Like many once great brands that suffered at the hands of mergers and takeovers, OP’s was largely relegated to the racks at Walmart. But earlier this year the brand received a nostalgic reboot in a special collection as part of the Icons of Culture series from Z Supply carried exclusively at Urban Outfitters. True to OP’s roots, the new collection features re-creations of original designs and attention to detail right down to the hangtags.
Read more about the re-creations here.