It’s hard to fault a man who names his surf shop after his favourite basketball player.
And that’s exactly Marky Hill, aka @funmaori, did with his Whangamata store. Probably. Sol Mercado’s the name of a Filipino/American point guard who currently plays for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association), and given the unlikeliness of it being a coincidence—and the fact that Sol Mercado doesn’t actually mean anything asides from sounding cool—one can assume that the lanky baller is the inspiration for the name.
The reason that we’ve travelled to the beautiful Whangamata on the east coast of the north island of New Zealand, is that The Critical Slide Society is touching base with all their old friends, to celebrate how the brand came into being in the first place. TCSS, in its inception, was a collective way for creatives to be able to show their wares. Surfing was what connected them, and the clothing was a nice way to join the two worlds and feature some of the artwork.
The startup dough for the brand came from a $10,000 loan against founder Jim Mitchell’s ’97 station wagon, and to this day, TCSS remains fiercely independent. It’s been nine years since the loose collective launched, and “Society”—the new stripped back “campaign” of which Marky is the first—is a nice excuse to touch base with friends old and new who make up part of the brand’s DNA.