Kelly Slater switches to
Kering to develop own brand
Kelly Slater announced the news himself. The surf legend took to his Facebook page on April 1st to announce the end of his 23-year partnership with Quiksilver. A figure on the professional surfing circuit since 1990 at age 18, Kelly Slater has won 54 competitions and 11 titles, the last one in 2011. And that was all with Quiksilver.
"As a brand and on a human level, they have been a part of my life, career, and personal relationships for more than 23 years now, well over half my life," said the surf champion in a statement released on his Facebook page. "They've supported me through good times and bad, personal hardships and competitive triumphs, and never wavered in backing my choices and desires in all that time. Under the tutelage of Bob McKnight, Bruce Raymond, Alan Green, Pierre Agnes and Danny Kwock (and many others), Quiksilver signed me to a 100% sponsorship deal in 1990, finishing up my amateur career and guiding me into my professional life and adulthood. Having their support group around the world allowed me to create a life I only dreamt of as a child. There aren't enough pages or words to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the experiences that have come from this relationship we've shared together. So it is with a heavy heart and a lifetime of positive memories that I move in a new chapter of my life."
Kelly Slater is leaving Quiksilver even though the company extensively reshuffled its management in 2013. At the time, Andy Mooney took over as CEO from Robert McKnight, and the group's new decisions meanwhile include stopping much of its sports sponsorship contracts. Quiksilver also decided to stop developing VSTR, the brand created in 2012 with Kelly Slater.
New partner Kering
Today Kelly Slater is leaving Quiksilver and joining the Kering group. The giant of luxury and lifestyle clothing and accessories has also confirmed the news.
"For years I've dreamt of developing a brand that combines my love of clean living, responsibility and style," said Kelly Slater. "The inspiration for this brand comes from the people and cultures I encounter in my constant global travels and this is my opportunity to build something the way I have always wanted to. So I am excited to tell you that I’ve chosen The Kering Group as a partner. They share my values and have the ability to support me in all of my endeavors."
It is hard to imagine that this future brand would recycle the VSTR name, but the surfer's identity is closely linked to the label developed by Quiksilver in 2012. Kering says the group will act as partner to the Kelly Slater brand on the operational side (sourcing, logistics, e-commerce, etc.).
At the same time, Kelly Slater will also serve as a Kering ambassador, especially in the brand's sustainability initiatives.
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