With more than a generous handful of surfing’s biggest names having ridden their boards over the past three decades, Malcom and Duncan Campbell are solidified household names in surfing’s past, present and future.
Fathers to the now well renowned Bonzer board template, the Campbell Brothers have contributed so much to modern day surfing, their passion, innovation and dedication through the 1970’s etched into the grains of time, the Bonzer being their iconic mantel piece.
To this day, the Bonzer is still being shaped for a select group of loyal followers, including RVCA’s very own, Alex Knost. After many years establishing a great relationship, the idea of a signature collection embodying the iconic styles of the 70’s with a modern touch of RVCA flare was pitched (over a nice dinner and few glasses of wine with those closest).
After that fateful evening, the rest fell into place and became history, the RVCA x Campbell Bros collaboration collection was born. To learn more about how it all came together and how the two iconic parties joined forces, we caught up with one half of the Campbell’s, Duncan, for an exclusive chat.
Lets get straight to it. The new collection with RVCA looks the goods. Tell us about how the collaboration first came out?
About 4 years ago Alex got his hands on a vintage Bonzer 3 fin form a garage sale, or something like that, I believe it was red or orange in color. There was an edit of him riding it up on the RVCA website. I said, "Damm, thats how it’s done". He had it down! Also, around the same time Ellis showed up riding a 90's Bonzer 5Fin he had found somewhere. There was a great edit of him at Deserts Point. This also ended up on the RVCA site. So the next North Shore season when the boy's stopped in at Cafe Haleiwa for a bite to eat we got to talking about getting some custom Bonzers made for them. We gave Malcolm a call and he started working with the boys. In December 2016 over dinner and wine at the Cafe, Alex, Daniella, my daughter Megan, and I got to talking about doing a 'Bonzer Retrospective' at their gallery - Conceptual Art Center in Costa Mesa. That would show in February of 2017. The rest is history!
With so much rich history, how did this influence the collection aesthetic itself?
The collection was inspired by photographs of Malcolm and I from the early 70's and the clothes and style of that time. There were plenty of lifestyle shots of us in that Bonzer show, so the RVCA design team went to work translating the cross over, using OG logos and graphics we had in our archives. They really caught the vibe 100%.
You’ve both accomplished so much over the years, though usually through the shaping bay. How does it feel to now link up with an apparel leader and have a signature collection?
It has always been tough for us to find a bridge between the surfboard and fashion trends. We come from and era, at least where we lived, what we wore came from the Salvation Army and such. A lot of the shirts and shorts we wore were made by our girlfriends while our focus was 100% on the surfboards. When Alex and the RVCA team approached us on the Campbell Brothers x RVCA collaboration we thought it was a no brainer. They seemed understand us, past and present. Their dedication to Art, Film, Music, and Style, made it easy for us to jump in.
Who were the key people in bringing it to life and how much input did you have with the designs, cuts and materials?
Well, Alex was the 'tip of the spear' for sure. I'm not sure of all the behind the scene stuff, but Mike Brophy worked really close with us on the early formation of the concepts. Mike stayed on top of it all the way through. I had known Pat from his visits to the Cafe over years, I'm sure he had influence as well. To be honest, we handed it over with complete trust, we stepped aside and let it happen. We are really stoked on what they did. Just love it!
Any favourite pieces?
All of it. It all fits together great. It feels natural to wear… of course it does! It's family old and new.