Let's ask Kelly!
Remember, what was it, a year ago, when we first heard about Kelly’s new clothing label Outerknown? It was to be produced by 24-billion-dollar-company Kering, that behemoth of the luxe clothing world, owners, among other labels, of Saint Laurent (I’m wearing the 17cm jeans now!), Christopher Kane (tiny little surf trunks, I own a pair!), Gucci (kinda yuck) as well as surf co’s Electric (those watches!) and Volcom and it would “blend 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.” So wrote Kelly Slater in a press release last September.
It sounded so fantastic. I like the world too! And there was more!
“The name Outerknown references the furthest reaches of our knowledge today,” wrote Kelly. “As designers, it challenges us to build better, more sustainable products. As producers, it asks us to lift the lid on our supply chain bringing the consumer along on our journey to transparency… it offers the opportunity to observe this multi-cultural world we live in and bring together seemingly unconnected people and ideas for the purpose of discovering the next Outerknown.”
Kering actually used to be called P.P.R. (short for Pinault-Printemps-Redout). The name Kering was chosen in 2013 because it can be “pronounced and understood as ‘caring.'” The company chose an owl as their logo, said company CEO François-Henri Pinault, because, “it is a discreet and protective animal.”
Anyway, a cursory Outerknown website appeared (click here). An Instagram account started uploading photos, mostly, it seemed, of the designer John Moore’s musings, even his kids. (Click here for the IG.)
An industry insider told me I should I do a story about what had happened to Outerknown. He’d earlier predicted that when Kelly first setup shop with Kering, that Kering would sign Kelly with promises of a label and then, when Kelly lost interest and went surfing as he apparently tended to do, the label would disappear and he’d end up wearing Volcom.
If proof was needed, why wasn’t Kelly, the insider asked, now, on the eve of its launch, wearing the gear now or even surfing with an Outerknown sticker on his board. According to the WSL, they just booked 29-million viewers in Brazil alone.
I looked at the website; I looked at Instagram.
“Launches July 2015,” the homepage said.
Wait, what date is it now? June 23? That’s one week away! Something had to be happening.
How about I ask Kelly?
So, I did, and Kelly who has to be the most contactable sporting icon in the world, didn’t blink at me waving a rumour mill in his face. Turns out they’re launching July 13 (three weeks away) and he’s actually been wearing Outerknown for months. Said that they’re “deep in ranges but women’s is on hold for now.”
Said that it isn’t an endemic brand (i.e. so not surf-surf) and it “ended up in a more fashionable world once our designs were created.”
Kelly said that he’s “just not that into talking into it’s reality” and that he’ll have logos on his board “soon enough. Just haven’t worried about it,” he said, adding:
“It’s nice to not have any for a change after thirty years of having ’em.”