A surf connection the fabric company built that started in 1924 The transformation of Hoffman California Fabrics into the modern surf industry's leading fabrics manufacturer was led by big wave pioneer and businessman Phillip "Flippy" Hoffman. But before this transition could take place, Phillips father had to build the business from the ground up.Born in New York in 1893, Rube P. Hoffman was the original founder of Hoffman California Fabrics. Even before his son escalated the company to surf industry fame, Rube had built the business into success. In just a few years from opening day in 1924, he grew the business from a local wool supplier to an international textile designer and converter. Rube learned everything about the business starting at the age of 14 when he began touring the US with his uncle selling clothes using fabrics from his dad’s company. After completing his military training, he took all the experience he'd gained with his uncle and moved with his wife to Los Angeles to start Hoffman California Fabrics.
In November 1930, Hoffman and his wife gave birth to their first son, Phillip. Nicknamed "Flippy," (we have no idea why, according to his brother) he would change the face of the company - and surfing - with his passion for big wave riding and surf lifestyle. It started in late 1952. After seeing 8-mm footage of big waves at Makaha - shot by his younger brother, Walter "Big Wal," while stationed at Pearl Harbor - he was inspired to buy a ticket to Hawaii with the intention of being the first person to ride big waves. With his fearless surfing style and utter disregard for his safety, he found himself - along with fellow surfer, Bob Simmons - successfully dropping in on the biggest waves ever surfed at the time. In 1975, he took it to an unimaginable new level by riding Kaena Point, a wave on the then uninhabited western side of Oahu thought to be the final frontier of big wave surfing. But then, four years later, he teamed up with Micky Munoz to design the 16-foot boards that broke the barrier again, becoming the first surfers to ride the outer reefs of North Shore, Oahu.
During these 15 years of pushing the limits - which also included some of the first ever trips through Mexico - he supported himself as an abalone diver. His skill in this no doubt gave him the confidence to charge the big waves, as he was "notoriously too tough to let the 'bends' slow him down." It was with this drive and passion that in the late 50's both he and his brother took over Hoffman California Fabrics from their dad. They soon found that they could use their surfing lifestyle as part of a new business direction. They used images of surf culture to create new designs and patterns for their fabrics, and researched new methods of production. With these innovations, they quickly became the number one supplier huge surf industry companies like Ocean Pacific, Quiksilver, Billibong, Volcom, Stussy, Surfline Hawaii and Hinano Tahiti. And, in the 80's, solidified their position in the mainstream surf industry with an aloha shirt worn by Tom Selleck in the T.V. series
Magnum, P.I. In 2006, the two brothers were honored in the surfing walk of fame for their contributions to surf culture. And in 2014, Hoffman California Fabrics celebrated its 90th anniversary, continuing their longstanding tradition as the number one choice in the surf industry with over 800 new screenprints and Bali batiks hand-drawn and hand-painted by in-house artists each year.
The Vissla Cutup collection uses material from Hoffman California Fabrics selectedby former Stussy Design Director Nick Bower. Nick is considered one of the most influential people in streetwear and his design work is recognized as being at the forefront of streetwear style. To help curate this collection Nick walked through the endless halls of the Hoffman printed fabric archive and sought out a pattern that resembles a short that may have been made in the 80’s, when surfing was loud, uninhibited and radical.
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