While flashing lights, high-rise buildings, and the omnipresent vending machine may be marks of 21st-century city living, it seems robotic vendors have managed to creep into the surf industry.
In modern Tokyo, nearly everything imaginable can now be delivered through the all-powerful, product-spewing dispensary known as the vending machine. A few bucks go in and out pops everything from live lobster to lingerie to toilet paper. (Seriously. Japan has vending machines for all of the aforementioned.) With one estimated machine for every 23 people living in Japan, the once-novel idea has become a stalwart in Japanese culture.
Quiksilver now stands in hot pursuit of revolutionizing the concept of the humanless vendor to the surf world. Partnering up with The Standard Hotels, Quiksilver is now selling vintage, specially-designed trunks and bikinis out of vending machines in the hotel's pool area. For $75 a pop and a quick swipe of your visa, the way you shop for trunks may have just been turned upside down…maybe.
According to a report released to the media by Quiksilver, "The boardshorts and bikini will be distributed via poolside vending machines in the hotel's four properties [and] in their boutiques and online at Shopthestandard.com…There are four men's designs in the first batch of boardshorts, which harkens back to the fits and looks of '70s and '80s styles. Each one is inspired by The Standard's four locations in downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Miami and New York. The $75 boardshorts are made in Quiksilver's ultra lightweight, "diamond dobby" stretch material, which “prevents rashes, with a retro scalloped leg and packaged in a waterproof travel bag."
If you're not familiar with The Standard Hotel line, upon opening their doors in the maiden location in downtown LA, the hipster hotel – with four locations in the U.S., has received an array of praise from critics and has become a hot spot for the fashion-forward. In 2005, Cubes Magazine called The Standard "…one of the hippest hotels that Los Angeles has to offer." Further, by partnering with The Standard, say, opposed to a Double Tree, Quik has makes the act of slinging boardshorts poolside from a vending machine seem somewhat legit.
Additionally, each pair of boardies contain a list of five names and addresses of local hotspots and must-see art, music, and food destinations in the waistband that correspond to each hotel's location.
According Steve Fontes, a boardshort designer at Quiksilver, "Quik and The Standard were introduced to each other and the boardshorts were designed and developed through a collaborative process between two companies who have a shared passion for thoughtful, detail-oriented design and a belief that style isn’t about exclusivity or trends, but about honesty, authenticity, and above all else, comfort."
At some surf shops, the response from employees has been less than enthusiastic. At Haleiwa's Surf N Sea, a shop that should be noted does not sell Quiksilver, an employee, Tyler Roberts, remained somewhat skeptical of the concepts.
"They're really doing that? Really? I'm a little baffled," said Roberts when told about the apparel-dispensing vending machines. "It's a different idea, but I think they might be missing out on the retail person being able to describe the trunks in detail, talk about the fabric, you know that kind of stuff."
Currently, Quiksilver does not have plans on expanding their vending machine concept outside of The Standard Hotels.