The first time I ever met Ali Mandalis, we were on our way to what Vaughan Blakey—longtime MC contributor and Ali’s fiancée—described as a “good old-fashioned snort party,” in the Byron region.
I can’t remember the exact nature of the party and whether it lived up to VD’s expectation, but I do remember getting into an in-depth conversation with Ali about the intricacies of raising children. Not sure what I thought I had to offer on the subject, but I remember thinking that Ali Kat would be really good at the job of guiding groms through life. First impressions aside, Ali’s always been a cultural groover on the women’s surfing side of things, first with her label Tallow—which I’m sure any of you who surf but have a taste for the finer things in surf will remember—and now with Resin, her fresh entry into the women’s surf/fash scene.
“I felt like women’s surfing needed another big evolutionary leap,” Ali tells me of her latest venture. “I was overhearing people say how great it was that there were more women in the line-up. It felt patronising. I was like, ‘Hell yeah there are more women out here and we’re ripping!'” Resin’s deal is neoprene and embroidered leather jackets. The leather component to Ali’s baby is all about unique pieces that you’ll have forever. “I wanted a leather component to the company because I felt like women’s surfing had become tougher, the attitude was more rock and roll,” she explains. “I wanted to make one-off detailed jackets that I could never afford to do through wholesale.”
Resin’s wetsuit component uses the same materials that you’re used to seeing in the surf, but they’re not steamers as you’ve previously encountered. The brand’s set on re-claiming surf attire, with flared neo pants, embroidered wettie tops, you name it. It’s the brand’s DNA. “Flares, double denim, bikey jackets, neoprene denim shorts, rashies and surf hats that you actually want to wear,” Ali tells me. “They keep you warm but the real function of them is to feel awesome when you’re surfing in them. It’s about as far out there as you can get but with a pretty simple ideology behind them. Feel good, have fun and own your space.”
Part of the Resin mantra is working with artists whose work lines up with what they’re all about. So far the collabs have included, but not limited to Paul McNeil, Oscar Wrong, Nanda Ormand, Ben Brown, and plenty more. For Ali, it’s something that she holds dear to her heart. “When you love someone’s work there’s nothing better than having them become part of the journey,” she says.
As for the next phase of Resin, Ali’s resisting the temptation to diversify and sticking to the values that gave birth to this thing in the first place. “Movies, more collaborations with more awesome humans,” Ali says. “Soon we’ll be launching footwear and accessories. It’s small run and limited edition stuff that’s all online but eventually, we’ll stock selected stores and work towards flagship Resin stores. We’re not interested in being the biggest brand in the world. We wanna grow slow and make cool shit and have the best time doing it.”