Billabong USA Becomes

U.S. licensee of Australian clothing brand seeks its own identity.

In what is described as an “amicable parting,” Billy International Ltd., exclusive U.S. licensee of the popular Billabong Australia clothing since 1983, has decided to not renew its contract. President Bob Hurley will instead launch his own clothing label, Hurley, which will be created by the same team of designers and promoted by the same team of athletes that helped make Billabong USA an annual 60-million-dollar brand. Billy International will continue the Billabong USA line until its license runs out in June 1999, but will introduce Hurley this fall for January shipping.

Unlike the Billabong USA line, which Billy International is only licensed to sell domestically, Hurley will also be available to foreign markets.

“My company has been able to create and maintain a quality product that appeals to guys who surf, skateboard, and snowboard,” says Hurley. “But the market is always evolving, and I have to be able to change and expand.”

The Hurley brand will be designed along the same principals that helped the company make Billabong USA successful – a concept described as “classic designs with an edge.” Although he recognizes that launching a new brand name will be difficult, Hurley has faith that customers will recognize the same quality and appeal in the Hurley line. “My philosophy is to never tell my audience what they should wear, but rather listen and observe what they like,” he says. “Success in this business is based upon adaptability and willingness to change – quickly. This new label, where my talented team will remain intact, opens a spectrum of exciting future possibilities.”

At a time when technical-sounding names seem to be popular among new skateboard-clothing companies, Hurley says that he’s always done things a little differently, and is confident his new brand will be at least as successful as Billabong USA has been. “Every name sounds a little silly until you use it for a while,” he says.

Hurley’s introductory line will include denim, knit skirts, walk shorts, board shorts, pants, outerwear, zipperless wetsuits, packs, and accessories, and will debut in stores in January 1999.