“I know it isn’t the most fortunate date for this announcement but that’s the Universe’s funny sense of humor.” – Kelly Slater
It’s no April Fool’s joke. After twenty-three years and eleven ASP World Titles, Kelly Slater announced his parting from Quiksilver with plans of developing a clothing brand with The Kering Group.
If you follow Slater on social networks, you’ve probably seen his statement:
“I’ve had amazing opportunities and good fortune in my life but my next journey rates right at the top in my world. I’m excited to announce today that I’m developing a clothing brand that combines my passions of ethics, lifestyle and travel with THE KERING GROUP. They truly share my values and have the ability to support and completely look after me and this endeavor.”
So who’s this Kering Group that Slater’s going splitsville for? I’m sure you’ve heard of luxury brand Gucci, and lifestyle brand Volcom. Well, The Kering Group is the billion-dollar company that owns those brands along with other high fashion and lifestyle brands.
The Kering Group will sponsor Slater and his upcoming clothing line, supporting the brand in terms of logistics and e-commerce. Because The Kering Group also looks forward to a future in sustainable products, Slater could possibly become a Kering Group Ambassador due to his well-known advocacy for ocean conservation.
On the Slater-Silver breakup, Quiksilver’s Executive Chairman Bob McKnight stated, “Kelly has been a part of the Quiksilver family for over 20 years. It’s been an incredible journey watching him grow from a young surfer with great potential, to the 11-time World Champion he is today. We wish Kelly all the best as he enters this next phase of his career.”
Slater is not the first athlete to have an ambition to design a lifestyle brand.
Michael Jordan partnered with Nike in 1984 during his playing time with the Chicago Bulls, then later developed The Jordan Brand. According to Forbes, Jordan Brand is responsible for a majority of Jordan’s earnings. The brand currently cashes in royalties of roughly $60 million per year. And Jordan’s been retired since 2003. He makes money while he sleeps. No big deal.
Like Jordan is the king of the courts, Slater is surfing’s living legend. With 11 ASP World Titles, 54 elite ASP WCT victories, and a myriad of mainstream honors, Slater is tremendously accomplished and is arguably the greatest surfer in history. Looks like we’ll just have to wait and see if Slater’s surfing success will transfer to his newest ambition, possibly becoming the world’s next biggest empire.