The Comeback Kids of Ksubi

When Sydney-based Ksubi first landed stateside, Americans went a little overboard. They were the Bondi Beach surf-and-beer types, who made the skinniest jeans on the planet and sent live rats out on the catwalk. Ksubi captured a sort of burgeoning Australian design style—commercial edginess, beachwear with bite. But the brand was plagued with poor distribution and financial difficulties, and faded after a few years from the public eye. Now, after an internal restructuring, they are poised to come back in a major and slightly cleaned-up way (but without sacrificing the appeal which gained them notoriety to begin with).

“We are focused on getting back in to America in a big way,” says Mikey Nolan, the label’s creative director. “We are always amazed at how much goodwill there is for the brand in the US.”

At Sydney’s recent Fashion Week (Australian fashion operates on a reverse calendar, being deep in the Southern Hemisphere), the brand showed a fully hashed out, boys-and-girls collection of simple, sun-bleached clothes. “The show was really about drumming home an easy-to-wear attitude, which is why there was largely an absence of print, bar a few references to our surf and skate heritage,” says Nolan.

Being down under has presented, and will continue to present, its fair share of challenges. But Ksubi will continue with its rogue aesthetic and attitude; it is natural and intrinsic with the brand’s DNA. As founder George Gorrow says, “Isolation in most cases would probably be considered a con, but for us it was a pro. I mean, it keeps things real, yeah?”