Kelly Slater, interviewed by dazzling fashion maven and novelist Marion Hume!
Yesterday, the Australian Financial Review’s magazine ran a Kelly Slater/Outerknown cover story. The writer of the profile piece is the fashion maven and novelist Marion Hume, whose subjects have included Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, Karl Lagerfeld and Giorgio Armani.
Do you like it when a non-surfer swings into our game?
I find it a fascinating collision of curiosity minus the surf idolatry that happens when someone, yeah, like me, gets a face to face. There’s no desperation to impress, no awkward surf talk.
The piece, How Kelly Slater is Shaking Up Fashion, took place at the London College of Fashion and… is sharp.
“He was doing radical manoeuvres. I thought, ‘this guy is going to wreak a fair bit of havoc’ . . . that, and he had the lethal competitive attitude of a great white shark.”
How well these words sum up the guy who has me in an eye-lock, a disrupter who wants to shake up the murkiest corners of the clothing business, the ones in which dirt-cheap sweatshirts are piled high. A guy who’s not afraid to question why garments should be so cheap as to ignore the dignity of their makers, or why they must be individually wrapped in plastic. That wrapping tends to end up in the ocean, where plastic will outnumber fish by 2050 unless we change our ways. Here’s a revolutionary who won’t just suck it up and shut up about an international supply chain that’s broken at pretty much every stage.
But honestly, are you bored already? Because let’s be frank, the least welcome fashion accessory is a halo. For all the chatter about ethical fashion, there’s a reason it remains niche: most consumers just don’t care. Which suits the multi-trillion-dollar global apparel industry just fine. The fate of those who try to do things differently? The business usually sucks them into its swell, then pummels their principles out of them as they strive to make a buck. Or it rolls right over them, spitting them out like flotsam. Exceptions are rare.
I love the part where Kelly tells Ms Hume about his wavepool, a few months before its launch.
During the interview, I’m oblivious when he gives me a scoop on his Kelly Slater Wave Company, which after 10 years of development has finally cracked the first competition-strength, man-made wave. “I don’t even know what that is,” I say and move things back to clothes. Months later his wave breakthrough is announced to frenzied excitement, with surfers around the globe vying to discover its secret location.