The highly competitive surf clothing market has a new player. Outerknown, Kelly Slater's eco-friendly surf wear brand, is open for business.When Kelly Slater and Quiksilver parted ways, it was quite clear that the 11-time world surfing champion would create something from scratch. The rumours spread, but Outerknown was confirmed.
Style, sustainability and travel. These are the core values behind Slater's Outerknown, a joint-venture sealed with the Kering Group, owners of Volcom, Electric, Cobra, Puma, and many other brands.
Outerknown stresses the company's perspectives as designers, producers, storytellers, and athletes.
But there's more. Kelly Slater has never lost track of 21st-century concept: sustainability.
"I created Outerknown to smash the formula. To lift the lid on the traditional supply chain and prove that you can actually produce great looking menswear in a sustainable way," explains the Floridian surfer-entrepreneur.
"It's clear now just how challenging it is for any brand to put sustainability at the forefront of their business, and I'm proud that we're one of the few taking the lead."
The surf clothing business environment is not an easy one. Outerknown has already brands like Patagonia addressing the new generation of "green" surfers and beach lifestyle enthusiasts.
Slater teamed up with menswear designer John Moore and Aquafil to create a brand... for men. In nearly 28 months, they've designed, cut, colored and developed the inaugural collection made from recovered materials, such as fishing nets.
"The initial stages of brand building are a really good time, it's a chance to dream, and for Outerknown the inception was special. All concepts are valid in the beginning; there were countless names, logo iterations and images that came and went," underlined Moore.
"In between contests, Kelly would fly back to LA and spend marathon creative sessions at our original design space. 13 staff members were stuffed into a less than 2000 square foot office with only three parking spots. When Kelly was traveling, he would text me images from whatever exotic destination he was in to work into the artwork concepts."
Outerknown kicks off with a collection of outerwear ($225-$645), sweaters ($225-$425), sweatshirts ($148-$198), t-shirts ($78-$118), shirts ($165-$195), pants ($185-$195), trunks ($125) and a line of accessories ($95).