Outknown – Sustainable Surf Brand

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Anyone who’s been paying attention to fashion recently knows that the industry has been making many strides toward sustainability. Whether it’s SZA’s sustainability-focused collaboration with Champion, or Greenpeace’s latest report on just how well many well-known brands are keeping their commitments to environmentally friendly practices; “sustainable” is a word on the minds of many fashion conscious people.

When it comes to the topic of the environment, one issue that frequently comes up is that of the ocean. Within the fashion industry, in particular, water pollution is a major concern as it is often the harmful by-product of manufacture. Therefore, it is fitting that pro-surfer Kelly Slater would keep that issue in mind when it comes to his clothing brand, Outerknown.

The brand, which is composed of surf-based apparel, was started in 2015. With the help of co-creator John Moore, he founded Outerknown to be a sustainable label; stating that it would always be mindful of what the fashion industry often neglects, “people and planet.”

The brand has certainly caught much attention on that front, as it is the very first to have been certified by the Fair Labor Association without selling a single article of clothing. Slatyer himself made an announcement during the brand’s release: “We wanted to do something different. Not for the sake of being different but to do it the right way…in handpicked, socially compliant factories where workers are treated like human beings …using textiles/fabrics such as organic cotton and hemp and recycled nylon 6 from disposed fishing nets, to name a few…”

While the brand has been criticized for having a higher price point than most are accustomed to in the surf world; however, Slater reasons that this is a necessary pitfall as sustainability usually doesn’t come cheap these days. “Our principles began with a double mission statement, ‘for people and planet.’ This principle has been directly reflected in our slightly higher pricing than what the surf world is used to.”

However, global textile production breaks records for the amount of greenhouse emission and most clothing in the US winds up in landfills. This, coupled with the fact that the 60 million workers in the garment industry – most of whom are women – are subjected to inhumane conditions, typically being paid $2 to $5 per day. Therefore, many would reason that there needs to be some kind of a middle ground that accounts for a preferred price and the human price of clothing production.

Thus, it falls to brands such as Outerknown to act as an example and attempt to trailblaze the territory. If brands such as this see widescale success, then more and more companies will follow suit. Perhaps, therefore, allowing for variation in price and, finally, changing the industry for good.

Featured Image via Wikipedia

Proud Latina Feminist. My likes include strong coffee, watching the previews that come on before the movie, and things that come in pretty packages. I've been a bibliophile and fashion lover since well before I could read or tie my own shoes.

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