No posers. Locals only

Gnarly: Aries and David Ledoux capture the free-spirited surf and skate culture of Biarritz
By Ella Joyce | Art | 25 May 2023

Following collaborations with the likes of David Sims and Mia Khalifa, cult streetwear brand Aries is partnering with French-born photographer David Ledoux and stylist Phoebe Arnold for a very cool surf and skate-inspired hardback photo book. As a brand rooted in London subculture and heavily inspired by founder Sofia Prantera’s 90s adolescence, Ledoux’s images of free-spirited youth culture captured in France’s Basque country work in harmony with Aries’ effervescent spirit.

Titled Gnarly and armed with the tagline, ‘No posers. Locals only’, the cloth-bound publication features 118 of Ledoux’s lithographic-printed photographs, painting a sun-kissed portrait of what it’s like to live, surf and skate on the French coast. Surfers are backdropped by a honeyed golden hour as they rip tricks, rev bikes and ride the waves.

Having first begun discussing the project with Arnold in the summer of 2020, the series was born when Ledoux called the stylist with the news he was moving to Portugal. “It felt like fate,” recalls Arnold. “We met on a surf beach and road-tripped together from Aljezur to Biarritz in his caddy van.”Through this relaxed, candid approach, the imagery thrives on an authentic sense of familiarity and community, creating a vibrant record of French youth in their quest for freedom.

As of today, Aries’ newly opened two-floor Soho flagship store will house an exhibition showcasing a selection of Ledoux’s photography featured in Gnarly alongside a never-before-seen film documenting the book’s creation process. Aries has also partnered with seltzer brand White Claw to create a capsule collection of tees, sweats and shorts featuring Ledoux’s images.


Gnarly is available to purchase here and the exhibition will run until June 5th at Aries Store, 31 31 Great Pulteney Street, W1F 9NN. 

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