When I first met Hayden Cox, it was at Halcyon House where the surfboard maker and all round good man had just been named as the newest member of the MR PORTER Style Council. Fast forward to 2022 and the Australian designer has come full circle with the luxury online retailer, with the launch of his very first collection of clothing now available on MR PORTER.
It’s just another notch on a belt of accomplishments for the 40-year old who has been able to transform his unique surf-inspired aesthetic and designs into an array of objects – from paywear in collaboration with Westpac Bank (long before your rando cousin was talking Dogecoin or NFTs at family dinners), to artworks with Daniel Arsham and even a line of furniture. But clothing has been something that has been at the back of his mind for close to a decade.
“It’s been a vision, or an idea, to move into this category for the past eight or 10 years,” Cox tells ICON. “It took that time to consider the category in the way we wanted to approach it. There was definitely a lot of things we need to build up as a brand and as a designer.”
“But the journey from day dot sitting down and saying ‘okay, we’re going to design our first collection’, that was probably about 18 months ago.”
Dubbed Acetone, a nod to the materials used by Cox to craft his surfboards, the first season collection is a blend of surf, active and casual utilitarian pieces that, in Cox’s words, are designed for multifunctional purpose. This ability – to easily shift location and scenario – was important for Cox to capture in as it’s something he himself has demanded from clothing in his own wardrobe: “I definitely feel like a lot of my own personal style is woven into it.”
Cotton jersey shorts, sweatshirts and track pants come with an almost imperceptible colour gradient to create a bleached like effect. Shell trousers made with technical fabrics offer crisp casuals as alternatives to your standard chinos while being both wind and water resistant.
Minimalist in design, functional in purpose it’s surprisingly lacking in what some may describe as archetypical surf aesthetics – no excessive graphic prints, no garish colours, no sunsets or waves. Which again reflects Cox’s own personal style. If you ever meet the man, he’ll be wearing a variation of a uniform black. Rather, the designs are clean, veering towards austerity if it weren’t for subtle detailing that grounds the collection.
“I wouldn’t even say Haydenshapes is a traditional surf brand,” explains Cox. “There’s pieces in the collection where the fit and cut are critical, and there’s a fair bit of tailoring involved. Then there’s some more technical pieces that have a performance element to them, such as our surf shorts.”
Buttons made from upcycled foam fibre glass collected from the waste materials from surfboard construction were handcrafted in Cox’s Mona Vale workshop to use across the Japanese twill garments, while custom ‘leash
plug’ inspired metal hardware provide the beach life nuance that marks the brand’s heritage.
Keeping these nuances subtle, and ultimately wearable, was an important element to how Cox approached creating his first collection.
“I do like versatile garments. I like to dress simply and be able to wear it all day and have it translate at night time. Or be in a pair of boardshorts that can work during the day but be able to swim in them after. This kind of multifunctional, versatility in the designs and also a trans-seasonal feel is important.”
Haydenshapes Acetone first collection has launched exclusively on MR PORTER.