Once upon a time ... Oxbow

Once upon a time ... Oxbow

Léa Gourdin |

In early April, the HawaiiSurf team was lucky enough to visitOxbow 's head office in Bordeaux. It was an opportunity to find out more about this French brand, which is committed to designing products for enthusiasts, by enthusiasts!

Oxbow head office

The origin of the brand

Founded in 1985 by Fabrice Valéri and Isabelle Cachot, the French brand Oxbow is today an essential reference in the world of surfwear and board sports. The company has successfully adapted to trends and asserted its identity. Following in the footsteps of a whole generation of board sports fans, Oxbow has rapidly become a leading figure in the surf and snowboard sector. At a time when many ready-to-wear brands are facing major difficulties, Oxbow has managed to hold its own by focusing on what has been its strength since the very beginning: the "surf" spirit and irreproachable quality.

Oxbow Archives

A symbolic name

The name Oxbow comes from "meander of a river" in Old American. Found on a map of the United States, this natural curiosity symbolizes the spirit of adventure and freedom that characterizes board sports and the values of the French brand. This find launched a tradition within the teams of finding inspiration and collection names on old maps that invite travel.

An emblematic logo

Do you know the origin of Oxbow's famous "FourFlowers" logo? It has its roots in the Amish culture. This four-petal flower embodies the spirit of emancipation, drawing its inspiration from the community's first rule: "Thou shalt not conform to this world around thee". It perfectly reflects the essence of the brand, which aspires to break with convention and free itself from established norms. More than a logo, it becomes the hallmark of a community of enthusiasts sharing an authentic vision of life.

Logo patches

Second youth

Despite the challenges posed by the ready-to-wear crisis, Oxbow has succeeded in reinventing itself and adapting to new consumer demands. The brand has developed a range of made-in-Europe technical garments that meet both the needs of demanding sportsmen and women and the growing desire for more responsible fashion consumption. In 2020, Oxbow embarks on a decisive turnaround following a change of ownership. Under the direction of Emmanuel Debruères and Jean-Christophe Chetail, the brand is reaffirming its core values since its creation in 1985, by refocusing its communications on the world of outdoor and board sports. This initiative aims to convey an authentic message to the enthusiasts who embody the very essence of the brand.

Sustainability at the heart of our action

At a time when sustainability has become a major concern, Oxbow stands out for its concrete commitment to environmental protection. Aware of the textile industry's impact on the planet, the brand continually strives to reduce its ecological footprint. From the meticulous selection of materials used in the manufacture of its products to the adoption of environmentally-friendly production practices, Oxbow seeks to minimize its impact on nature while offering superior quality products to its customers.

Oxbow Stoked Planet

Stoked planet
  • Durability: The brand supports its customers to optimize the lifespan of its products. Maintenance tips, upgrades and repairs are just some of the ways in which we help our products to last through the years, and even generations!
  • Eco-design: Oxbow has been committed for several years to reducing its ecological footprint by developing more virtuous alternatives, such as the use of recycled or organically grown fibers. Nothing is left to chance in the design of its products, from the origin and quality of raw materials such as TENCEL Lyocell, GOTS-certified cotton, Yulex and REPREVE, to the assembly of each collection, which is meticulously designed to minimize its environmental impact.
  • Transparency and traceability: Transparency is a fundamental value: all information relating to their products is easily accessible online. Whether it's the origin of their raw materials, the suppliers they work with, or even their carbon footprint, they believe it's essential to offer total transparency to best support their customers in their choices.
  • Community involvement: The brand is actively involved in preserving the environment, regularly taking part in beach clean-ups. It also supports associations that are committed to both environmental protection and social causes, demonstrating its commitment to a better world.

Certified B Corp

B Corp

To consolidate its commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, Oxbow has obtained B Corp certification. This recognition attests to the brand's commitment to rigorous standards of corporate governance, environmental and social impact, and transparency. As a member of the B Corp community, Oxbow is part of a global network of companies working for positive change in the business world.

For enthusiasts by enthusiasts

Oxbow has never ceased to innovate, in terms of both materials and designs. Keen to meet the expectations of board sports and adventure enthusiasts, the French brand is constantly evolving its ranges, while remaining true to its DNA. In close collaboration with the riders themselves, Oxbow regularly proposes new technical products designed to withstand extreme conditions such as rain, snow or wind, offering optimal comfort to sportsmen and women. By testing their products in real-life conditions, they get as close as possible to the reality of the terrain, ensuring products that are truly adapted to the practice of sport.

Surf Check

Did you know? Renowned for its commitment to the world of surfing and snowboarding, Oxbow has also made its mark on motocross! United by a passion for thrills, a quest for adrenaline and a connection with nature, motocross enthusiasts share many similarities with Oxbow's iconic board sports. In 1995, the Oxbow MX in Reygades (Corrèze, France), a major European pro-amateur gathering marked by conviviality, defied prejudice by demonstrating that, beyond the motorized aspect, the values cherished by the brand's other sports could also be found there.

Collector - Made In France


Made entirely in France in close collaboration with its historic manufacturers, the Collector collection embodies the perfect alliance between French know-how and the emblematic durability of Oxbow's historic products. From the knitting and dyeing of materials in the Tarn region of France, to the confection in the Landes region, Collector T-shirts are truly "100% local". Through iconic designs, pastel hues, loose-fitting cuts and a resolutely vintage style, Collector reinterprets the iconic pieces from the brand's golden age.

Such is the attention to detail that some products are once again produced in the original factories, a Proust's madeleine for fans of the brand to find items more than 30 years later, reuniting two generations under the same emblematic garments. No more searching for nuggets in parents' closets!

A major player in surf culture

Laird Hamilton

Oxbow's history is closely linked to its presence in competitions and its prestigious ambassadors. The brand is deeply rooted in the history and development of surfing in France. By participating in events such as the Lacanau Pro, the Biarritz Longboard Tour and the Anglet WLT, Oxbow has solidified its legitimacy within the surfing community. The riders who have contributed to the brand's development, such as Laird Hamilton, Nat Young and Kaï Lenny, have made it an essential reference in the surfing world.

Oxbow continues to actively support riders in their adventures, whether they're surfers, rowers, swimmers, skiers, snowboarders or climbers. Whether on the ocean or in the mountains, their playgrounds are infinite. All united by a common passion for pure gliding in the great outdoors, Oxbow People embody the spirit and values of the brand.

The recent arrival of Maud Lecar among Oxbow riders illustrates the brand's desire to promote inclusivity by actively supporting the presence of women in these sporting fields. These collaborations have raised the brand's profile and strengthened its commitment to the world of surfing and snowboarding.

Film production

Oxbow Movies

In its drive to develop the brand beyond its products, Oxbow is once again embarking on the production of documentary films. "L'Albatros", "Le Cercle", "Hono", all documentaries produced by Oxbow and available free of charge on YouTube. Each of these feature-length films, in its own way, reflects the brand's Waterman DNA and plunges us into the heart of this singular universe.

Through its films, the brand takes a fresh look at putting people back at the heart of these adventures. This connection, this authenticity shines through beyond the magnificent images, transporting us into a dream of pure communion with the elements and the inspiring souls encountered in these productions. These are true odes to joy and sharing, in a spectacular setting where humility in the face of nature's power and beauty comes naturally.

Stay alive.