When pro surfer Kelly Slater announced that he was ending his relationship with Quiksilver last year it was a big deal. It is not overstating things to say that it was on a par with Michael Jordan leaving Nike or David Beckham parting ways with Adidas. The 11-time world champion had been with Quik for more than 20 years and it took some getting used to seeing Slater surf without the brand’s mountain and wave logo on his boards. Even the timing of the announcement on April 1 led some to believe it was all an April Fools Day hoax because it was that hard to imagine Slater and Quiksilver going in different directions.
Shortly after his split with Quik, Slater announced he’d be partnering with the Kering Group, the parent company of high fashion brands like Gucci and Balenciaga, on a new brand called Outerknown. And last week, Outerknown released its first collection of menswear basics, ranging from jackets to sweaters to, or course, boardshorts. The company is focused on creating stylish and functional garments while maintaining sustainable production methods. Slater is joined in Outerknown by creative director John Moore, one of GQ’s Menswear Designers of the Year in 2014, and Shelly Gottschamer, who came from Patagonia to oversee the brand’s sustainability efforts.
“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,” says Slater.
The debut collection is ideal for the guy who is looking for staple pieces that can seamlessly go from the beach to a meeting to a restaurant. The clothes are particularly well suited for travel (something Slater is certainly familiar with) because of their versatility. The garments aren’t cheap, but they fit right in with the “buy less but buy better” ethos. Boardshorts are made with an innovative textile that transforms fishing nets into nylon. Even the labels are made from compostable, water soluble paper.
We looked through the debut collection to pull out the must-have items for guys.
EVOLUTION TRUNK 19
The quest for the perfect pair of boardshorts is a neverending one. They need to move with you in the water, dry quickly out of the water, and—not least importantly—look good. Outerknown may have cracked the code with these boardies that are made from a reclaimed fishing nets and have a zipper fly instead of those annoying Velcro ones.
The traditional M-65 military jacket has been a menswear staple for years. For Outerknown’s spin on the piece, they shortened the length to make it more like a windbreaker. The shell is a recycled polyester and the cozy lining is a recycled microfiber. The jacket also get a modern detail with a taped seam zipper to conceal the hood.
SUNDAY POCKET TEE
Outerknown’s approached the French nautical stripe tee with a more artistic vibe to the stripes. The shirt also has a great texture owing to the organic cotton and hemp fabrication. If you’re looking for a “dress-up” T-shirt, this one will serve you well.
It’s a little hard to think about wearing jackets right now, but this bomber is destined to be a go-to come fall. The outer shell is made from a water-resistant recycled polyester that is bonded with a warm fleece liner. You can wear it on its own over a T-shirt but it also makes a great layering piece.
Everyone loves a pocket T-shirt, so why not a pocket sweater? This crewneck sweater is a wool-cashmere blend that provides the ideal levels of warmth and softness. Stylish design details like a rolled neck mean this will look as good after a surf session as it will during a night out.
The denim shirt can be tough to pull off. One wrong move and you’re in full-on Canadian tuxedo territory. But Outerknown’s version has a modern fit and style so you don’t have to worry. Made from organic cotton and hemp denim, the collar has a shorter cut than your traditional button down for a feel that is more downtown than rural.