Outerknown - Surfing Takes on Sustainable Fashion

“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…the last two years have been a huge eye-opener for me. It’s clear now just how challenging it is for any brand to put sustainability at the forefront of their business and I’m proud that we’re one of the few taking the lead.” – Kelly Slater 

Launched by 11x Surfing World Champion Kelly Slater (AKA King Kelly) and acclaimed menswear designer John Moore, Outerknown is a “coastal-minded clothing brand that explores the connections between style and sustainability.” 

While the former is known across the world as the GOAT of surfing, John Moore also has an impressive portfolio. He's worked with Quiksilver Women, VSTR and was head of Hollister, Abercrombie and Fitch's teen brand. 

The Co-Founders in Black & White

He went on to create his brand engineering agency POP and co-founded M.Nii, a vintage surf-inspired lifestyle. In 2014 He was named by GQ as one of the “Best New Menswear Designers in America.”

In 2013, Slater sought out Moore and together they created Outerknown. In an Interview with Gear Patrol, John mentions his children as a driving force behind OK's sustainable mission.

Sustainability through Transparency

This begs the question, what is their take on sustainability?

Well, Outerknown has created a Code a Conduct that dictates their approach from sourcing to manufacturing. The guideline includes rules on Child Labour, Freedom of Association (to unions, for example), Compensation and more. This code must be respected by all of their suppliers and they're all prohibited from outsourcing. That means the company will not ever be able to say "we were unaware."

Outerknown sustainability

At source

OK has also partnered with recognized organizations such as Bluesign (who restricts the use of harmful chemicals in the manufacturing process), Fair Trade USA and the Fair Labour Association. 

Something I'm not used to seeing is a detailed description of every single one of their manufacturers, including the manufacturer’s address. You can link individual products to each producer. You can even shop the collection filtered by suppliers. If a journalist or inspector is out to catch OuterKnown, they have all the info they need.


Outerknown’s latest campaign includes a line of T-shirts with the words “IT’S NOT OK.” The statement is a reference to the ongoing destruction of the ocean’s environment through the constant inflow of garbage.

“What if other animals were creating as much garbage as humans?” asks Outerknown founder, Kelly Slater. “It’s pretty appalling if you think of it that way; we need to shift our awareness. It’s not ok to destroy our ocean. It’s not one person’s problem. It’s everyone’s problem.”

The campaign highlights a number of appalling (and scary!) statistics, like scientists’ prediction that there will soon be one ton of plastic for every three ton of fish in the ocean.

The trash we're throwing into the ocean destroys the habitat of sea wildlife, affects ocean goers with diseases (remember that last ear infection?) and directly impacts our health through the consumption of seafood.

Outerknown itsnotokay

Posing Like A Baws

Currently, 100% of the profits earned through #ITSNOTOK products are donated to the Ocean Conservancy to fight ocean pollution and protect our planet’s liquid gold. You can view the T-shirts here. Beach towels and a zip-up fleece will soon be added to the collection. All products are created through sustainability-sourced materials including 100% Organic Pima Cotton made in Peru, 100% Organic Cotton made in Portugal, 55% Hemp, and 45% Recycled Polyester Fleece.

Hopefully, OK’s call-to-action will inspire both businesses and consumers to take part.

Alpaca Fiber. A renewable source that is awesome, because Alpacas are awesome!

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