“Why showcase an exotic animal? Just because it looks cool? That’s not our style. Stick to your genuine narrative.” Says Paul Zeper, founder and Creative Director of NewAmsterdam Surf Association.
And so Trip to the Moon Films ended up amidst a herd of cows during our first collab with the surf apparel brand. The genuine narrative. We’re talking about our campaign film for their FW 20/21 collection: “Road Trip”, directed by Jan Oudemans. As the collection is almost sold out, we catch up with Paul.
We enter the brand new-NewAmsterdam Surf Association store on Amsterdams Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal. Yes, lots of News and Amsterdams in that, and there’s more of that as you enter the store. There’s a creative tanning bed installed, artwork for the brand’s collection SS 2021 “After Sun”. There’s red velvet cake – sadly, there’s also some of us on a diet. There’s Tisja Janssen – starring in our Road Trip campaign film – doing her daily work for the office above the store. And of course, there’s Paul, welcoming us, wrapped in a pink sweater, seated by the store windows.
His brand took a leap forward since our collab. Dropping in the de Bijenkorf Amsterdam; opening their own store around the corner soon after that; and so on. We wouldn’t dare to suggest anything.. that’d be something… but this Trip to the Moon Films… could there be any correlation between the joint project and the following success…?
Could there be any correlation between the joint project and the following success…?
Along came Paul in the bittersweet COVID-spring of 2020. Introduced by – both Trip to the Moon Films’ ánd NewAmsterdamSurf’s – wünderkind Niels Jalving, we took off. After a short chat about content shot on a one-day-shoot, portraying the travels necessary for surf in Europe, the idea was there. Both Paul and we remember the crystal clear brief: “Road Trips for surf in NL and Europe have no ‘aloha’ or ‘coconut-feel’ in them. There’s only one guarantee: it’ll be a long trip in packed cars, through meadows filled with cows. Picture that.”
Paul looks back on a straightforward brief followed by a fitting concept and production: “We decided to keep the impressions in the film genuine while staging the feel in fictionalized set-ups.” Trip to the Moon Films worked together very closely in all phases of the production with the NewAmsterdamsurf crew in all production phases. Next to art direction, both camerawork and casting were joint efforts by the NewAms team and us. It all adds up to Paul’s strong ideas about keeping his brand close to the people who actually build it, in every single aspect. “The current Lookbook we’re shooting will be a mix of our surf-team and the people working at this office”.
Paul looks over his shoulder at a team that is steadily creating new content, campaigns, and designs. “If you start shooting with models, you already take the first step in creating a ‘fake’ image”, Paul continues, “just like this thing with forcing tropical islands in surf pictures: in no shape or form that’s what our surf experiences look like. The same goes for the clothes. They are designed for surfers in Europe, also with a practical intent: fleece-sweaters for the cold North Sea beaches; jackets that work well with wet suits; and so on.”
The atmosphere suddenly becomes somewhat awkward
“So… that’s why your new collection is pink? Because that’s practical? And are we, as non-surfers, even allowed to wear your shirts, Paul?” Paul says no to the latter, and the atmosphere suddenly becomes somewhat awkward… Nah, that’d be edgy. Paul just continues: “For sure, our main core and identity are focused on surf – that doesn’t exclude an aesthetically appealing design, nor does it exclude non-surfers from wearing it.” Paul summarises: “people choose to like what we, as a surf- and clothing brand, design, instead of us choosing to design what people might like.”
Wearing our new NewAmsterdamSurf T-shirts – now feeling confident enough doing so – we leave the store. We wonder what the future holds for NewAmsterdam Surf Association. One thing we know for sure is that they’ll stick to what feels right for them, as we all should.