GOTHCA!!!
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The Airbrush Campaign

Many of the print ads are remarkable as much for their ingenious solutions to unsolvable problems as for their strategic creativity in positioning the brand in the market. For example, the concept of the Airbrush Campaign originally had nothing to do with airbrushing. We had an ad shoot set up, with a deadline to deliver material to 2 national magazines in 5 days. And we had no clothes. So we had to facsimilize them, and make the whole thing look good enough to be seen as though this was what we intended to do in the first place. Pivot. Adapt. Keep your cool.
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The Breakout Campaign

The Breakout Campaign of 1981 represented Gotcha's breakaway from the market and the traditions of creating advertising in that space at the time. It was sexy, it was product focused, it was shot close up and had production values never before seen in the surf market. This was in 1981, when the surf market was still coming out of its seventies hippy hangover. It was a watershed moment in the evolution of the brand.
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The Computer Campaign

No computers were used in the creation of the Computer campaign. This was the pre-digital age, pre-Illustrator and pre-Photoshop. We knew change was coming, but we had no idea in what form or how. All we knew was if we blew up the pixels that make up a photographic image we would create the effect of some futuristic technique and it would look like we were visionaries of some sort.
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Don't Surf Campaign

The SubCulture campaign was (and probably still is) the only youth culture advertising that addressed the politics of cool in the Southern California surf world and didn't rely on celebratory athletes to sell its products. Rather, it hoped to tribalize surfers by expressing a common social belief and attitude in a humorous way. Surfers have always prided themselves on their underground status; on the fact that their way of life was not bound by the rules and regulations of bat and ball sports, just the ocean and its mythology.
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Don't Skate Campaign

The SubCulture campaign was (and probably still is) the only youth culture advertising that addressed the politics of cool in the Southern California surf world and didn't rely on celebratory athletes to sell its products. Rather, it hoped to tribalize surfers by expressing a common social belief and attitude in a humorous way. Surfers have always prided themselves on their underground status; on the fact that their way of life was not bound by the rules and regulations of bat and ball sports, just the ocean and its mythology.
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Too Many Kooks Campaign

By the time the nineties were in swing, this underground status was under siege by crowds - hundreds of thousands of new surfers were in the surf everyday putting a serious question behind the notion of surfing being this cool exclusive thing. Every spot was packed and finding those uncrowded days was challenging. "If you don't surf don't start." "If you don't skate you don't relate." "Too many kooks." Subculture was advertising with a social message, and was one of Gotcha's most memorable campaigns.
kite

The Trestle Campaign

The Trestles Campaign. Trestles is a group of quality surf spots in Southern California, just south of San Clemente. We used it as a staging area for many shoots, mainly because Gotcha had assembled a team of the world's elite surfers, and the only way to keep these guys focused on the task at hand was to shoot them in a place they could relate to, where they were in their element. Shot tight, with no set up. Just the photographer capturing the interaction in real time letting the surfers do their thing.
underwater

The Blue Cool Campaign

The Blue Cool campaign. We were looking for a design strategy that didn't preclude the idea of showcasing the talents of our formidable surf team. We wanted to show surf action shots but we didn't want the ads to follow the cliched industry formula of action shot with brand logo attached. We needed a prism through which the action could be viewed that gave it an identity separate from the competition. We found it in the album covers of Blue Note records from the sixties and seventies. Gotcha received numerous design awards for this copy-driven, graphic-heavy campaign.
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The Punk Campaign

The Punk series was, in many ways, a pinnacle for the brand. The original photography and post-design work put the brand in a different league from other surf brands.
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PLAID BERMUDAS Products

Every brand finds its original success in an item, a particular style that takes off and drives the brand's momentum. For Gotcha, it was the plaid bermuda. It started off as pure satire - kids in Laguna Beach (the brand's home) were taking plaid pants bought at local thrift stores, or hand-me-downs from old retirees living in Palm Springs, then cutting the legs and wearing them as shorts. And they were wearing them long - to the knees. The minute we put them in the line they sold out. And then sold out again. A trend was born and it wasn't just about the plaids, it was about the longer length. Up until then, the lengths of shorts were mid thigh. Our plaid bermuda fell just above the knee. Shorts have stayed around knee level ever since.
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COLOR BLOCKED BOARDSHORTS

Gotcha’s first foray into surf trunks was constrained by the fact it cost too much to have them printed. Prints require a minimum yardage and we would never sell enough to cover that minimum. So we made them solid, using different colors in the geometric panels referencing a new wave influence that was beginning to show up in music.
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UTILITY BOARDSHORTS Products

In 1982 and 1983, we introduced the Utility, the first ever stretch boardshort in the surf market. It's hard to imagine, but back then performance fabrics with stretch capability were unheard of - we thought it would introduce a whole new dimension to the market, which of course it did. Another feature of the Utility was the engineered waistband, which sat lower on the front than the back and made for an excellent fit.
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NEON DREAMS Products

There was a period in the eighties when the surf market was defined by neon colors. Crazy bright was the order of the day - whether it was boardshorts, t-shirts, or outerwear.
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Stripes Products

In the early 80s, Gotcha introduced horizontal stripes in knits and fleece. We got the idea of a repeat stripe in black and white from 50's TV shows like Leave it to Beaver. It started as a short sleeve knit shirt in 2 colors and evolved to every permutation of stripe imaginable across every category of apparel.
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PHOTO IMAGE PRINTING

If Gotcha were to be recognized for a single design innovation, it would have to be introducing the long short to the market. Right behind that would be engineering photographic images into the design of a garment. Today using photography as part of a print is so ubiquitous, it is almost hard to imagine there was a time when brands never did that.
kite

RHYTHM DIVISION Products

The Trestles Campaign. Trestles is a group of quality surf spots in Southern California, just south of San Clemente. We used it as a staging area for many shoots, mainly because Gotcha had assembled a team of the world's elite surfers, and the only way to keep these guys focused on the task at hand was to shoot them in a place they could relate to, where they were in their element. Shot tight, with no set up. Just the photographer capturing the interaction in real time letting the surfers do their thing.
underwater

LIGHTWEIGHT OUTERWEAR

One of Gotcha's biggest sportswear innovations was a category called Rearguards, an alternative to fleece sweatshirts. We took a medium weight twill, cut it in a fleece silhouette, stonewashed it to create an aged appearance and a hot item was born.
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FROM SURF TO SPORTSWEAR

From the get go, it was Gotcha's mission to bring fashion into the surf space and to do so with unbridled irreverence. Gotcha was experimental, innovating at a furious pace and continuously developing new fabrics. Our commitment to innovation inspired a lot of our competitors.
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Catalog History

During its formative years, Gotcha's innovative product and strong graphic design drove the brand forward. In particular, the brand's approach to catalog design was unique: far more concept driven than product driven, far more focused on aesthetic execution than whether style numbers, prices and delivery dates were correct. Catalogs were the equivalent of today's 5 minute clips, acting as brand platforms: ambitious, edgy, modern, and in some cases, definitely weird.
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New Wave Catalog

Gotcha's first catalog, New Wave, came out in spring of 1985. Michael Tomson explained: "We called it New Wave because new wave music was happening...Depeche Mode, the Cars, New Order...we were listening to KROQ a radio station out of Pasadena and we were working with Jay Vigon and Rick Sereini, two art directors out of LA with a modern sensibility. Of course we had no budget to do something grand, so they suggested doing it diecut in an angular shape. It looked cool, didn't cost that much, we went for it."
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Waterborn Catalog

The Waterborn catalog, produced in 1987, raised the bar for creative ambition. The location - inside Haleakala crater on Maui - was extremely challenging. It's a dormant volcano and its illegal to drive down into it. The goal was to capture an eerie moonscape effect as a backdrop to the narrative of a lost tribe called the Chagots (the Gotcha word scrambled), who were obsessed with the clothes. The experience was at times completely surreal, but the results were outstanding.
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Weather Proven Catalog

In Fall 1987, the images were shot in Seattle in the rain. We were shooting seasonal clothes so we called it the Weather Proven catalog, and created a rubber cover.
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Earth Life Animal Power Catalog

By the time Spring 1988 rolled around, we were ready for something straightup product driven. We used saturated color in a large 22" x 8" format with bold type on the cover stacked vertically: EARTH LIFE ANIMAL POWER. Very impactful, very product driven and very successful in communicating the identity of the clothes.
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House of Gotcha Catalog

Spring 89: The catalog, House of Gotcha, was created for our European partners and shot on the beach.
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Evolution Catalog

Evolution is one
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Russian Catalog

Gotcha was featured in a Russian catalog.
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Fashion Catalog

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