Recycled Surfwear began in 2017 by Tom & Grace. We were in the middle of our gap years and had a love for op shopping & vintage clothing, in particular surfwear. Very quickly our wardrobes began to overflow, and we decided to have a go at selling what we were finding. At the time, very few Instagram ‘stores’ existed, and there were none specialising in vintage surfwear.
We began as a side hustle with a business model centred around auctions. We sold our first piece in August of 2017, a pair of vintage Quiksilver jeans. Through trial and error, we figured out what worked and what people wanted. Op shopping was our main source of stock for the first few months, but as the demand grew, so did how far we were searching. eBay and Gumtree had an untapped market of people who wore those surfwear grails in the 90s and were now simply clearing out their wardrobes.
As Recycled Surfwear grew, we more and more had to find a balance with our Uni courses. After a couple years of limited growth and output due to heavy workloads, we began to realise that we didn’t want it to be a side hustle anymore and decided to have a crack at doing it full time. We transitioned into a website to sell our pieces at set prices, but still did the odd auction here and there. A couple years later and we are dropping over 50 pieces of vintage surfwear a week and always looking for ways we can grow.
We began and continue to operate with a team of just the two of us, however there’s a long history of surf retail in our families. Tom’s Mum & Uncle Jay have worked in the surf retail industry since the 80’s. Jay still does to this day, running Wear2, a surf shop in Fremantle where you’ll even find a rack of vintage surf tees. You’ll also see Tom working there every now and again! We are lucky to have this background, as it has given us a great knowledge and appreciation of not only the clothing but the culture behind it.
Over the last 5 years, the vintage surfwear niche has gained a cult following. Pieces listed on online get snapped up within minutes, and every week we are stoked that you guys choose us to buy your vintage gear. The popularity of vintage surfwear has grown beyond belief, and we feel partly responsible for shedding light on how amazing the clothing is, which is awesome. With the growth of any market comes greater competition, and while we are stoked with the rise in second hand clothing, sourcing quality gear has become harder and harder. We are lucky to have been around long enough to develop great connections all over the world, and take great pride in paying all our suppliers well to support their families and many of them feel like a part of the team.
We are proud to be doing our part in the fight against fast fashion. Every item we sell has been given a second life. When you purchase a piece of recycled clothing from us, not only are you promoting sustainability, but also receiving unmatched quality. Some of our items are up to 40 years old and the quality & care that has gone into producing them means they will last for another 40. No expense was spared in the production of these clothes and this means you’re purchasing a piece that’s designed to last and will continue to feature in your wardrobe for years to come.
We are forever grateful for our loyal customers who choose to support us. You allow us to continue doing what we love, and we’ve got so much more in store.
Tom & Grace.