One of the new comers in the big-boy world of Action Sports Retailers is HippyTree. These rebel artisans turned entrepreneurs have a history of incorporating art and nature into the built environment. Their t-shirts reflect this ideal, as can be seen in their logos and designs.
Beginning with their roots in both nature and surfing, Hippy Tree began with calendars and printed tide charts in 2003. The calendars are made from 100% post consumer paper and feature images of coastlines around southern California. Organic t-shirt blanks are purchased from Article1, and then designs are printed on the tees with soy-based inks. At the time of this article, 50% of their clothing line from Spring 2007 was organic. HippyTree is also affiliated with the Drop Trees Project, which some of you may remember, showed up in Los Angeles and South By in the form of metal trees (the HippyTree log) hung from power lines. This public art display was the source of consternation among local law enforcement and caused area residents to wonder about the meaning behind the trees hanging from power lines.
So why the switch from street art to calendars and t-shirts? Well, owner Andrew Sarnecki feels that "putting artwork on clothing makes it more accessible than hanging it in an art gallery." Not to mention, it also keeps the artisans out of trouble and able to make more art.
For 2008, the calendars will feature California coastlines from San Francisco to San Diego. Yet, the images are a unique mixture of photographs, paper scraps and food labels — items unique to the scene and the area. My favorite tee in the lineup is a brown tee with tiny hippytrees all over the shirt and it also comes in long-sleeves.