One of the first companies founded specifically to meet the demand for surf style clothing, Birdwell Beach Britches began in 1961 in Santa Ana, California by Carrie Birdwell Mann. Carrie had been in an accident and needed someone to be nearby, so her husband and son Robert converted a small house in front of their machine shop into a sewing room for her. Starting out doing alterations and producing women's sportswear, Carrie was soon making lifeguard trunks, swimsuits for friends and custom trunks for a surf team. But it was when Robert--while on business for the machine shop in Huntington Beach--came home with an order for 100 surf trunks per week that Birdwell Beach Britches became firmly embedded in the surf industry.
Carrie started advertising her trunks in the second or third issue of Surfer Magazine, before the publication was even called "Surfer". The original logo--a large letter "B" that the words "Birdwell," "Beach" and "Britches" shared--was soon replaced by the current logo that features the familiar "Birdie," a name coined by Carrie.
Carrie's daughter Vivian and son Robert run Birdwell Beach Britches today. Vivian became a part of the family owned and operated business in 1965, after the Birdwell shop was robbed. With finished goods gone and new orders to fill, Vivian quit her job and pitched in. In 1967, when Carrie left the business to care for her sick husband, Vivian and Robert took over the daily operations of Birdwell Beach Britches and thirty-two years later, are still at the helm.
Last Wave Originals is proud to offer "Birdie" t-shirts; the logo brings back fond memories of wearing Birdwells as a teenager, and their quality custom trunks can still be ordered today by visiting their website at www.birdwellbeachbritches.com. While their slogan is "We don't make a thousand things, we make one thing a thousand ways," they actually make a variety of cool shirts, pants, jackets and tote bags. But they are definitely renowned for their custom surf trunks, always made in the USA.
Ted Rich (left) wearing his Birdwells - June 1966