By Mat Arney
For months rumours have abounded about the form and direction that Kelly Slater’s new apparel brand will take. News of his association with international fashion megasauraus Kering started to circulate following the April Fool’s Day announcement of his departure from Quiksilver (below).
Well, now the secret has been unveiled and it’s called Outerknown. The news was announced via Slater’s instagram feed, with the following statement (below) with the same image (by Morgan Maassen) that also welcomes you to the brand’s new, fairly minimal but very stylish web portal:
“It’s been a long time coming and I’m proud to let you know that the clothing brand I’ve been working on has launched our ‘Handshake Website’ at Outerknown.com this morning. Our team, lead by designer John Moore and supported by our strategic partner, The Kering Group, are tirelessly working on a brand that blends the relationship between style, sustainability, and travel. I believe we have an obligation to build better products and understand the way our consumption impacts the world around us. In saying that, the focus of our brand is to make a product that has a positive effect on every possible level. I look forward to telling you more as the brand develops and beginning today you can follow our daily feed at @Outerknown to learn more. #Outerknown #BeLikeWater #LaunchingFall2015” – Kelly Slater
Kelly has partnered with his former VSTR co-conspirator John Moore (below), a highly acclaimed designer from California with his finger firmly on the aesthetic pulse, and the pair’s latest endeavor is backed by the Kering Group (pronounced “caring”) thus making them stable-mates with industry peers Volcom and Electric as well as global luxury brands such as Gucci, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney.
Naturally, the unveiling of a new surf brand that will likely be marketed outside of the world of surfing to satisfy the business needs of its parent company means that there are already scores of digital detractors posting opinions online. But Slater has a smart head on his shoulders, and not just for contest tactics; getting into bed with Kering provides Slater and Moore with support from a large, successful apparel business that is also openly attempting to improve the ecological and social performance of the fashion industry. Slater has made no secret of his personal politics regarding environmental issues, so it is not surprising that he has chosen to partner with a company that champions the same cause. Few things are perfect, and business will always be business, so it will be interesting to see how the surf community reacts to this head-turning newcomer entering stage right.
So there you have it; this time next year we can expect to see the first collections for men and women from Outerknown. One of the first pages of the website states, quite simply, “This is a clean slate.” What we are interested to see, however, is whether or not this also means a clean slate for a refreshed Kelly Slater?