Browsing legend John John Florence raised eyebrows final February when he walked away from a profitable, multiyear contract with ubiquitous surf brand Hurley. Rumors swirled about whether or not he would signal with one other surf large equivalent to Billabong or Quicksilver, or perhaps a extra mainstream sports activities brand equivalent to Nike.
So when the two-time world champ introduced final summer season that he was launching his personal apparel brand, you’d be forgiven for assuming it’s one other, you recognize, surf brand. As a substitute, he known as his new firm Florence Marine X to offer it flexibility past browsing.
“I don’t see this as only a browsing brand,” says Florence, at present on a World Surf League tour cease in Western Australia. “I see it as an outside brand, primarily based across the ocean. Under no circumstances am I pondering of this when it comes to simply browsing. In my life alone, I’m within the ocean in so many various methods, as are so many individuals, whether or not it’s kayaking, diving, crusing, or fishing. All these methods folks benefit from the ocean, that’s the thought I’m constructing this round.”
The undercurrent of encouraging folks to benefit from the ocean is to additionally foster respect for it and the impact human conduct has had on its well being. Sustainably sourced style is a rising business pattern. Florence hopes his brand helps folks see why sustainability is so essential.
After greater than a 12 months of planning and designing, Florence Marine X is launching its first run of merchandise this week. The road consists of T-shirts ($30), hats ($30), board shorts ($70), and wetsuits ($750), lots of that are created utilizing material repurposed from manufacturing facility flooring scraps. Manufacturers equivalent to Patagonia are an inspiration, for the way it builds its merchandise and runs itself responsibly. For Florence, making its preliminary merchandise with recycled supplies and people that may biodegrade over time is a place to begin, with objectives to increase its use of sustainably made merchandise sooner or later.
The brand is launching with a membership program dubbed the Florence Marine X Society. A one-time sign-up price of $20 will get you in for all times (and a $20 credit score in your account), with advantages equivalent to 10% rewards on purchases, limited-edition merchandise, first entry to new merchandise, and unique content material. A portion of the membership will go towards revolving initiatives, kicking off with the SeaTrees mangrove venture.
In relation to brand design, Florence mentioned he requested his staff to observe two phrases. “I’m not an enormous fan of massive logos in your face, so it was about maintaining issues clear and easy,” he says.
Lately, surf execs Kelly Slater and Dane Reynolds have launched smaller surf manufacturers (Outerknown and Former, respectively), however the surf world is essentially dominated by a handful of bigger manufacturers which were there for many years, equivalent to Billabong, Quicksilver, O’Neill, and Rip Curl. Florence, a two-time world champion, is likely one of the most recognizable names within the sport, one thing that can solely get larger when surfing makes its Olympic debut with Florence entrance and heart on Staff USA.
Florence Marine X is a partnership with Bob Hurley’s new firm, Kandui Holdings. Hurley launched what would turn out to be a Southern California uniform brand again within the ’90s, earlier than promoting it to Nike in 2002. Nike then offered Hurley in 2019. The compelled lockdowns and stoppage of the World Surf League tour final 12 months afforded Florence the time and headspace to wrap his mind round beginning a brand new firm. “Now it appears like we’re on the enjoyable half, designing garments, working with the staff, and it doesn’t really feel like a taxing effort or a distraction,” Florence says. “We’ve been in Australia for nearly two months, with conferences twice every week, however they really give me power, quite than take it away.”
That is Florence’s try to construct one thing that can outlast his professional profession and develop past his sport. He cites one in every of his personal sponsors, Yeti, for example of a brand that may encourage folks to get outside with out tying it to a particular exercise. This strategy will arguably permit Florence Marine X to succeed in a broad client base, whether or not browsing and surfwear are standard or not. Whereas browsing has seen a pandemic-fueled boom, in recent times Quicksilver declared chapter (2015), and each Billabong and Rip Curl have been acquired amid sagging gross sales.
By diversifying the potential viewers, Florence is betting on the recognition of water-based actions and a normal shift towards environmental consciousness. In 2019, 75% of customers mentioned that sustainability was essential to them. “Marine X” is brief for marine exploration, the type that can convey folks nearer to the ocean and outside, whether or not on an epic journey or simply discovering a brand new native spot. Florence hopes that exploration will encourage folks to suppose more durable about how their way of life decisions influence the ocean. “You may inform somebody to cease utilizing plastic bottles, however that normally goes in a single ear and out the opposite,” he says. “However whenever you expertise the ocean in a profound approach, you possibly can construct a deeper respect and concern.”