Whether to Laugh or Cry; Tommy Hilfiger Debuts Surf Line

It’s Friday evening, my wife is out of town, and a friend sent me this article from May 20 announcing the debut referenced in the title. I’ve had a glass of wine and think I’m going to break a rule and have another one as I write this. Or more. God knows what I’ll end up saying. If you search the subject, you’ll find some additional information.  

According to this article, the line will include limited edition surfboards as well as men’s and women’s apparel and accessories “…including beachwear, footwear, sunglasses, watches and bags.” I guess that about covers it. If it catches on, I’m sure there’ll be an SMU for Costco.
Here’s what another article says. “Tommy Hilfiger is launching a new collection that finds inspiration in the carefree, seaward lifestyle: The"Surf Shack" capsule features gorgeous, après-surf lifestyle pieces — colorful, breezy, and always with that trademark prepster twist.”
“Expect cozy, striped Baja pullovers, lightweight anoraks, crisp shirtdresses and chambray playsuits, plus a line of accessories like watches, shoes, scarves, and bags. (Prices are reasonable, too! A pretty striped clutch clocks in at a cool $68; a bikini at $128.) And, for those who might actually make it off the sandy sidelines and into the waves [Damn few I imagine], the collection also includes a range of surfboards created by American artists Lola Schnabel, Richard Phillips, Scott Campbell, Gary Simmons and Raymond Pettibon.”
They’re featuring artists, with shapers apparently an afterthought- or no thought at all. Okay, I’m going with laugh, because my other choice is throw myself off a tall building, and I got a lot of stuff to do tomorrow. I’d really be laughing if we didn’t have Hollister as an example.
I don’t know why I’m bothered by this. I’m supposed to be a business guy and I’ve spent a few years telling anybody who’d listen that it’s not different this time (or any time), that business cycles happen and that growth in the wrong way can be dangerous. But with all the issues in the surf industry and some of its companies right now this is just the last thing I needed to hear.
As an industry, surf starts to lose credibility as soon as it moves beyond its core consumer.  There is, of course, a balancing game there for each company; how far towards fashion and aware from surf  can you move and how quickly and still be credible with the core.  You can do that for a while, but there’s a limit.  Tommy Hilfiger doesn’t care about the core I’m guessing.  Their target consumer won’t be surfing.  But they are happy to take advantage of the market opportunity that’s been created by the surf industry until it’s not an opportunity any more.   
I suppose that as an industry the only thing we could have done to prevent this is not grow beyond the core surf market. Then we could have maintained our distinctiveness and some more brands could maintain a competitive advantage. But that wasn’t going to happen in surf any more than it happened in skateboarding or snowboarding. Every company does what it perceives to be in its own best interest.  But the longer term result is that the core companies create the opportunity that the large fashion based companies can take advantage of and with whom the core companies have trouble competing for the customer who’s more distant from the core.
So we’ll go through (are going through) what I guess is, unfortunately, the inevitable cycle where the styles represented by surf (or skate or snow) won’t  be very differentiable and won’t attract all the nonparticipants who don’t really care about surfing (or skating or snowboarding). We’ve got companies like Tommy Hilfiger yelling “More Cowbell!” And if you don’t know the Saturday Night Live skit I’m referring to, here’s the link where you can see it.
People who want to surf, skateboard, or snowboard are going to go right long doing it. And happily, they’ve all got great product to do it with. But meanwhile, we don’t need "More Cowbell!"  We need less.
I hope that analogy sounds goods in the morning.