Fashion,  Inspiration

Alexander Wang X Haydenshapes | My Interview with the Founder

Alexander Wang has a way of making things known. Firstly, his cool, off-duty pieces. Secondly, his four year old niece (especially when she wears her
 ‘parental advisory’ t-shirt). And more recently, Haydenshapes Surfboards. Haydenshapes is a brand thanks to a failed attempt at ‘surfer chick’, I definitely would 
still be oblivious to if it weren’t for AW. Being slightly more versed when it comes to fashion, it’s in my interest when the two worlds cross. As the saying goes,
 often the best things are unexpected. The collaboration is no different. Above, is the latest Summer Cage installation in Alexander Wang’s Soho Flagship store. 
Below, my interview with the founder of Haydenshapes, Hayden Cox. Surprisingly, one of the most inspiring and relevant ever on Currently Loving. 
(Hint: Uni isn’t the path for everyone, and sometimes it’s worth proving wrong those who think otherwise.) Take a read.

How did Haydenshapes Surfboards begin?

When I was around 15 years old, I traded in my school holidays for work experience at a local surfboard factory – sweeping, taking out the trash etc. On the
 last day the factory owner realised I was there on my own accord and not through a school program, so he took a little pity and showed me the very basics 
of shaping a surfboard. He let me shape one side of the board on my own and it was pretty terrible. I kept at it though and eventually started building boards 
for friends and teachers and school. Everyone seemed to like them so I decided to start my business. 
Where does your passion for surfboards comes from?
I’ve always loved design. I started surfing when I was 4 and surfboards were always really interesting to me. It’s creative, mathematical and functional and connects
 me to the ocean which is my favourite place. My parents were very big on camping trips by the beach when we were younger and that is where I learned to surf. 
Although I didn’t grow up on the beach, I made sure that I found a way to a beach every day after-school and most days before school. There was a bit of an 
expectation that all of the kids in our family would go to uni, get a degree etc. I tried it for a short while and quickly realised that all I wanted to do was build
 surfboards and continue with Haydenshapes. I was determined to make it work.  

What is the main idea behind Haydenshapes Surfboards?

I would describe Haydenshapes as a modern high performance surfboard brand. My whole shaping philosophy centres around creating surfboards that are 
ridden and loved by the most elite level of surfer, but also the everyday surfer. Aesthetically, I like to have a unique style, look and feel to the product also. 
I get influence from a lot of different areas – fashion, naval architecture, art. I often look beyond the surf world for different ideas. In saying that, first and 

foremost a lot of my designs are influenced by my team of pro-surfers. Craig Anderson is probably one of the most influential free surfers of today and has 
such a laid back and unique style about him. He was the muse behind the Hypto Krypto which is currently a global best seller. 

How does your interest in design impact what you create?

Designing surfboards is pretty artistic in a way because it’s basically creating a functional sculpture. Although the foam can be designed using computer software 
and be machine cut, the rest is all done by hand via around 12 or so different processes. You have to be interested in not only the aesthetics, but also the maths 
behind it as something as simple as 1mm in width/thickness can make a huge difference in how it performs as a product. 

What does a typical day look like for you?
 Im pretty involved across the all facets of the business – accounting, operations, marketing, product development etc. I usually wake up early, surf and head 
straight to our offices/manufacturing facility in El Segundo, California, which is around 15 minutes from where I live in Venice beach. I’ll normally jump in the 
shaping bay and work on boards for our team of pro surfers for a few hours which is a huge part of my role. I’ll then catch up with the sales team and get updates
 from the rest of the departments and jam through a whole heap of emails. Australia then kicks off at 4pm (LA time) and I catch up with the Haydenshapes team
 over there and respond to emails. There is a lot more desk work involved than people think.. I thought that by running a surfboard busin