September 19

Surf Megabrands Forgotten Their Roots

Surf Megabrands Forgotten Their Roots

Yesterday’s announcement by Rip Curl that the iconic surf brand will be sold-up raises questions about what happened to Australia’s most iconic surf brands. The fact that big three surf brands Rip Curl and Quiksilver are experiencing shrinking sales and growing debts has well report. Surf-branded clothing is becoming less popular among suburban consumers. Combined with the rise in online shopping, there are increasing doubts about the viability of corporatised surfing brands.

The surf industry is definitely affect by raw economics. Recessions in America and Europe have hit the big three most hard. They have concentrated their retail investments there. It was terrible timing. Quiksilver, like Billabong, expanded their business operations just before the GFC. Billabong purchased a large number of surf retail outlets. Quiksilver bought a number of non-surf leisure brands, including Rossignol skis, and Cleveland Golf equipment, and had to sell them. When retail returns disappeared, expansion led to huge debts that were difficult to finance.

A Subcultural Surf Industry

Understanding the surfing subculture can help us understand the problems faced by the big three. The selling of surf is strongly influence by the subcultural values and fashion cycles in the surfing scene, which began as a simple way to shape boards in backyard workshops or tool sheds.

Our new book on surfing, which will published by University of Hawaii Press next year, argues that it is a subcultural sector define by tension between large corporate labels and smaller independents. Independent labels are more credible because they are closer to surfing culture’s grassroots. They often have their headquarters in certain surf regions, such as southern California, the Gold Coast and north shore O’ahu, where strong surf subcultures thrive.

Brands become corporate entities when they grow and expand. In 2000, Quiksilver was list on the NYSE and Billabong was list on the ASX. This marked a dramatic shift in the structure of the surf industry. Many surfers believed that capital growth and profitability were more important than satisfying their needs and wants, rightly or wrongly. Surf companies have increased production, acquired smaller brands and opened flagship retail shops. They also supply stock to departmental stores. Quiksilver supplies its surf-wear to Macy’s in America and David Jones in Australia. To increase market share, shareholders should paid dividends. It is essential that brands are visible to the masses. This undermines the brand’s claim to serve local roots and meet the needs of everyday surfers.

Sub Mining Surf Credibility

Companies can now sell surf products to a wider audience by marketing the cool image of surfing. Despite its location, the US Mid-West region saw a staggering $457 million in surf retail sales in 2010. Selling surf-wear in department stores reduces scarcity and subcultural values. Brand credibility suffers.

This isn’t a new concept. This is not a new concept. In the 1960s surf, brands Ocean Pacific and Hang Ten successfully expanded from board shorts and surfboards to other types of swimwear and surfwear. Subcultural affiliation fell apart when their products were moved from surf shops to department stores in the 1980s. It seems that the big three are moving in the same direction.

Other independent labels can fill in the gap when scarcity value has been lost. They are more genuine and responsive than their competitors. It is harder to find their surfboards, clothing, and apparel, which increases the scarcity value. Independent brands are rooted in surf cities and regions. Corporate companies, however, seem unreachable and uncool. The majors, in turn, will swallow up smaller, less well-known independents over time as was the case with RVCA, Palmers and Dakine, temporarily increasing their street cred. The cycle continues, but it’s not over.

Divergences And Differences

Although the three major surf brands are clearly in trouble, it is not fair to assume they are all equally at risk or will fail. Quiksilver is list as Billabong. Future business planning will be influence by the responsibilities of shareholders and investors. Quiksilver and Billabong will not be restructure, nor will they be able to regain their subcultural appeal. This is evident in the recent appointment of Launa Inman, former CEO of Target, as Billabong’s head.

Rip Curl is, however, still privately owned. It is unclear if this gives Rip Curl more freedom to continue doing business in a way that maintains credibility and profitability. Rip Curl’s strategic focus remains on hard wear, which is wetsuits, and surfboard retail. Rip Curl is still profitable, despite a dramatic drop in sales over the past 12 months.

Surfing Industry, Surfing Subculture

The performance of Australia’s biggest surf brands has been affect by broader economic conditions. However, macroeconomic conditions are not the whole story. Surfing is not a market for mass-produced consumer goods. It’s a subculture. Surf products and equipment will continue to be in demand due to Australia’s strong connection with surfing. Newer, more innovative brands will rise and compete for market share. It will be fascinating to see how the big three Australian companies adapt to subcultures. The key to understanding capitalism lies beyond the mall. It is important to observe the subcultures that make up its subculture.

September 19

Globalisation Isn’t Dead Shed Slick Cover Story

Globalisation Isn’t Dead Shed Slick Cover Story

It’s becoming more common to say that the golden cover age in globalization is over due to. The rise of nationalism, protectionism, and Donald Trump’s America First vision. The three-decade-old global Village is closing its doors. Globalization was never about internationalism or shared development. Globalization has been more of a political concept than a reality.

Global governance is merely a strategic term. The term global governance is define as systems that rule at all levels human activity, from family to international organisation. Where the pursuit of goals through control has transnational consequences. It obscures the true objectives of globalization.

This Western-led system has, over the past 30 cover years been primarily a managerial approach for complex natural and human phenomena. It has in fact reproduced deliberately the problems it was suppose to address through global collaboration: crime and environmental devastation, human trafficking, insecurity, terrorism, gender-based violence and political suppression.

Neoliberalism is another name for globalization. It has primarily served to reify white supremacy and generate profit. It is still alive today in this sense.

Local Neoliberalism Cover

Michel Foucault, a French philosopher, has criticized neoliberalism. He argued that states that enforce justice have been abandon by neoliberal governments. We have today managerial states that use policy to manage the growth and health of the population. This is a government decision-making process to alter or orientate social. Actions in the form of a series of legal, technical and political elements.

They don’t do this through direct intervention, as in welfare states like Ecuador or Norway. Which actively promote and protect the economic and social well being of their citizens. Instead, neoliberal nations, like the United States, reduce social policies to a minimum. Providing the lowest level of assistance to the most vulnerable members of society. While encouraging the wealthy and corporate sectors to finance health and education incenvitising market, according to its defenders.

The neoliberal government on the domestic front achieves maximum productivity. While minimizing social responsibility by convincing people they are responsible to their wealth and well-being. This is the old bootstraps narrative. People who can’t afford the necessities of life often left to their own fates.

This governance mentality is best illustrate by the American free-market insurance. Fiasco that left out 33 million citizens, poor people and young, healthy individuals.

Negative Externalities Cover

Modern capitalism cannot reproduce itself unless people around the globe produce, consume, and then produce again. Global governance is the way we manage the international expenses this globalised market has.

Globalization’s powers have used global forces to control the populations at home and abroad, ranging from migration and the environment to drugs and terrorism. According to Forbes magazine’s 2015 assessment of globalisation, the system was originally design to raise all boats in rich and poor countries. It has use in practice to ensure the survival and reproduction for white and western peoples.

This April 2016 Harper’s interview, in which an ex-aide to Nixon admits that the war against drugs meant to criminalize the blacks, will convince you.

Many laws have been created to marginalize the poorest and darkest-skinned of the world, and, in predominantly white societies and gay men and women, often to the point that they lead to their death.

Unchecked free market capitalism is not responsible for violence and environmental destruction. These are externalities that need to be managed. We see that homicides and pollution are mainly caused in the developing world.

One such production center is Central America. Transnational corporations are grabbing timber, zinc and other resources, rapidly destroying the environment.

Locals who defend their land and themselves against exploitation are often killed or criminalized. Latin America is the most dangerous place in which to be an environmental activist.

Rich countries are forced to bear these problems if they have policies that both explicitly and implicitly target their poorest neighborhoods. It’s the Native Americans of Standing Rock who are hit by oil companies and the black and Latino drug addicts who end up in jail, rather than their white counterparts.

Migration And Murder Cover

Sometimes people in the developing countries get sick of the struggle and want to flee their dangerous or poisoned homelands. There is a solution: domestic and international migration policies.

Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen and others believe that border enforcement is necessary for national security. It protects the natives from terror, violence, and criminality.

Securitisation discourse is a term that describes migrants in three ways. None of them are good.

First, migrants are transnational actors that pose strategic threats to host countries. Right-wing politicians in the UK have suggested a link between recent terrorist attacks and immigration, and offered a xenophobic explanation to close English borders.

Second, migrants pose a threat both to a country’s national identity as well as to its cultural and ethnic balance. This idea leads to racism, racial identity politics, and, in particular, the numerous attempts to limit Muslim headscarves and veils in France, Germany and Belgium, as well as other European countries.

Last but not least, migrants are economically competitive and profit from Western welfare state social benefits. This category includes Trump’s promise to restore the working class American jobs by deporting illegal Mexicans, and the Labour-Market rationale behind Brexit.

Nothing New Under The Global Sunlight

Although the current political state is uncertain and scary, it has not fundamentally changed. The current right-wing revival is merely a confirmation of neoliberalism’s fourth decade-old roots. It doesn’t need subtle political discourses on global governance or international cooperation for its continued success. In the last year, racism and nationalism democratically elected and approve by referendums in the UK, the US, Hungary, and Argentina. These are legit movements, not subcultures and aberrations, but plain-faced political preferences.

September 19

Steampunk And The State Of Subcultures Today

Steampunk And The State Of Subcultures Today

Subcultures may seem to be in decline in a globalized environment where blandness seems to reign and people are more connected, and thus more homogenised. This is not the case. Paul Hodkinson’s research into gothic and ageing shows that subcultures include a wider range of people than today’s youth.

Whitby Goth Weekend is a strange event that takes place twice a year in a small coastal town. The festival was originally organize as a goth gathering back in 1994. It is now one the largest events on the European goth calendar. The festival, which was held the last weekend in November, is no longer limit to goths. Many steampunk fans have begun to attend. What does this all mean for subculture today?

Goth was popularize in the 1970s. Andrew Eldritch rejects any association with The Sisters of Mercy. Although the music is varied, it is often characterize by heavy drum beats on a drum machine, rock guitarists, low-register male vocals and, as a counterpoint to this, a high-register female voice. It’s not just a music genre. Goth is a lifestyle choice for many.

Goths are most well-known for their dark aesthetic. This is why they often choose black clothes, piercings and tattoos. Catherine Spooner’s forthcoming novel explains that this is not to suggest that the culture is terrible. Whitby Goth Weekend’s humorous side is evident when we take a look at its annual football tournament, which features black-clad supporters and players with unusually long, dark hair.

Dracula’s Backyard Subcultures

Whitby Goth Weekend’s foundations are root in a specific musical and sub-cultural affiliation. However, this has been somewhat diversified over the years. Whitby attracts many people who may not identify themselves as goths. They enjoy the spectacle of fashion and the photography opportunities. Many are attract to the literary heritage of St Mary’s Church and the Abbey, which were feature in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula. Some attendees find this a distraction from the subculture, much to their dismay.

There have been long-standing debates within theories of subculture over the nature of authenticity. This includes Sara Thornton’s concept of subcultural capital 1995. She believes it is tie to an assertion that one is unique and a claim of subcultural authority. Ross Haenfler points out that, while individuality, tolerance, and creative-free play are all often cite as subculture markers, in reality, there are always fights over hierarchy.

The festival is not static, however. Recent appearances by William Control, a synth-rock band from London, and Cold in Berlin, a darkwave band from London, show that there are new sounds and a new generation of attendees.

Diversification can also include other genres like steampunk. To coincide with the festival, James Richardson-Brown Captain Sydeian organized the first steampunk meeting in Whitby in 2007. In a series fringe events held at The Rifle Club, steam punks have gathered alongside the traditional community since that time. It’s not that these subcultures don’t overlap. Abney Park, one of the most prominent steampunk bands has headlined the main event three times. This shift shows that there is fluidity in both subcultures.

A Girl Wearing Goggles Is My Favourite Thing About Her

KW Jeter, the author of the term steampunk, is often credited with inventing it. He later defined it as a taste for copper and brass and the ticking and hissing mesh-&grind of Victorian technology. He describes steampunk as an aesthetic rejection of modern mass production’s smooth surfaces. This retro-technology is also embraced by many steampunk participants.

Not unlike goth steampunk was born from literary culture, but not music. It embraces anachronism, science fiction, and has reference points that include Mary Shelley and H G Wells. Steampunk is at its best when it is political. The Steampunk Magazine contains a wealth of radical politics, including discussions about gender, activism, and anti-capitalism.

Unwoman, a performer whose stage name is derived from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale 85, explores many of these themes on her 2012 album The Fires That I Started. However, The Men that Will Not Be Blamed For Anything emphasize the “-punk” aspect of the genre and slam the Victorian age’s inequalities in songs like Third Class Coffin.

Dark Tones And A Nostalgic Subcultures

Steampunk is associated with dark tones and a nostalgic, but not uncritical, approach to Victorian times. It includes technology and arts and craft practice. But there’s a darker side to Steampunk, as Captain Sydeian, among others, has called it.

This steampunk/goth overlap is perhaps best represent by Dr Geof. His art is a combination of historical anachronism and whimsy as well as subcultures, fetish and gentle satire. He might usefully place in wider debates about Neo-Victorianism poker pelangi.

Where are the UK subcultures going from here? Although the idea of subculture synthesis does not necessarily mean their demise, contemporary discussion about these identities is dominate by ideas of what Hodkinson refers to as a pick-and mix approach. Whitby attendees believe that any future resentments could ease. The steampunk community is now able to have its own weekend in Whitby, February 2017. There are also several events that focus on their subculture. The Lincoln Asylum is the most prominent. It seems that the notion of a localized belonging is still very important in this age of globalization.