Surf’s Up at Thaddeus O’Neil for Spring 2017
New York native and veteran surfer Thaddeus O’Neil designs clothes that embody a surf culture and the nomadic wanderlust of a born traveler. O’Neil was born and raised on the eastern end of Long Island, New York and was exposed to fashion at an early age through family friend Bruce Weber. Weber who lived near his family home, shot their portraits when he was a child, and introduced him to modeling and assisting photographers, which became his first gigs. The surfer/model is known for sporty casual pieces that are easy to wear and layer together to create playful silhouettes. This season, orange-red Shinto temples that O’Neil saw while on a trip to Japan inspired the theme of his spring 2017 collection – Temple of the Burning Sun. His presentation also featured a performance by Taiko drummers that O’Neil encountered while walking in Washington Square Park. His signature softly tailored wardrobe pieces include sun bleached hoodies and joggers in bold prints and sporty stripes rendered in fine cotton, cashmere, wool, silk and linen. O’Neil’s main source of inspiration continues to be surfing off the beaches of Fire Island. “Surfing is play, he says. Typically what we do with our leisure time is play. So it’s my take on leisurewear and what I like to wear,” says the designer. A playful beach aesthetic is an apt description for his clothes which come in high quality fabrics like Washi paper knits, ultra-suede water resistant shorts and oversized cotton hoodies. For spring, O’Neil collaborated with Ugg Australia, (his go to shoe for the beach.) All of his models sported chestnut Ugg boots or slippers worn with bright orange socks. A few of the highlight include a gold jacquard bomber, a birds-of-paradise knit trouser and multi-colored melange sweaters that energized the line. O’Neil is a master at creating clothing that effortlessly blends artisanal luxury with casual comfort. He looks to his own lifestyle when designing clothes. It has to fit my lifestyle and travel well, he says.