To make this year even more unusual than it already is, some big news was just announced in the world of surf brands this week: the launching of John John Florence's new surf & apparel company, Florence Marine X.
Perhaps this was bound to happen, after a major shakeup with the sale of Nike-owned Hurley to the investment firm Blue Star Alliance at the tail end of 2019. Not only did Bob Hurley himself jump ship from his name-brand, but John John and his camp quickly negotiated a deal to opt-out of his remaining contract. So what does one of surfing's greatest powerhouse names do next?
Well, he circles back with the original founder and establishes his own brand of course:
“I am excited to announce Florence Marine X, an apparel brand I am proud to launch alongside Bob Hurley, who has been an inspiration to me over the years, along with longtime friends and industry leaders,” John John said. “We are excited to explore what’s possible and build products that celebrate the ocean, sustainability, exploration, and overall just doing the right thing.”
With this new brand, John John cements himself among surfing's elite who have enough star power to create a private label company that continues to draw fans & consumers away from big-name brands. It's happening in the general fashion world, and we're seeing it reverberate to specific industries as well.
Our favorite part about this is how a smaller brand like his will attempt to take another step towards sustainability in a world that feels like we need it more than ever.
As watermen ourselves here at Driftline, we have a similar goal of being as green as possible and sourcing the safest and environmentally-friendly materials – all while continuing to innovate within the watersport industry. The notion of buying from overly-corporate, household names doesn't resonate with consumers like it used it, and people (ourselves included) prefer supporting smaller, private brands who care about their impact from top-to-bottom.
The hope with Florence Marine X is that the backing of Hurley doesn't eventually point the new brand in the direction of its predecessor – being bought out by a corporate overlord that dictates based on fashion trends rather than what's good for the Earth. We certainly understand business when the time comes, but there's no need for it to point us backward instead of forward.
John John reports that Florence Marine X plans on creating “products for outdoor exploration and thriving in the elements, while doing its best to protect the ocean and the land.” With a planned launch for Spring 2021, we're all excited to see what he has in store.