After laying low Down Under for the past few years, premium denim label Ksubi warmed its Bondi Beach House pop-up on Thursday with an influential guest list. It comes as the brand plans to open new stores in Sydney and Melbourne in early 2024. Ksubi’s return to operating stand-alone stores in Australia has been a long time coming. When Inside Retail spoke with current CEO Craig King back in 2018 it was established that the company was scouting for CBD locations in both Melbourne and Sydney. Al
Almost four years later, the flagship location has been locked in at 113 King Street in Sydney and is due to open in March 2024, followed by an undisclosed Melbourne location. Until then, it’s time to relax at the Beach House and take a look at the brand’s new kids’ collection. Overseas secret Ksubi sauce After a colourful few years operating in Australia, where its internal workings became quite public, Ksubi focused on growing the streetwear brand overseas and gained a cult following of celebrities, tastemakers and loyal consumers. Today, Ksubi has five retail stores in real estate hotspots, such as New York City’s SoH, West Hollywood in Los Angeles, Miami’s Design District, Walton Street in Chicago and, most recently, Carnaby Street in London. The Ksubi Beach House is the entree for the brand’s big launch of its first store in Australia in a decade, scheduled to open at 113 King Street in March 2024. Ksubi CEO Craig King told Inside Retail, “Summer in Bondi is about as international as Sydney gets – ahead of our Sydney flagship store opening in March, we wanted to bring a little Ksubi energy to the beach.” Exclusively Australian The vacant space transformed into the Ksubi Beach House, has hosted a number of pop-ups and events for one or two nights of late, including Estee Lauder and Venroy. Now, it has a longer-term tenant for the summer season. As an ode to its “spiritual roots” the brand will release the archival ‘BADDIES’ collection exclusively to the Australian market and the Beach House will carry further limited-run offerings to its guests. The community-first approach Ksubi is taking to re-immerse itself into the local market after a lengthy American residency is similar to the collaborations orchestrated by independent creative agency AndPeople, which are all about forming meaningful connections between brands and sub-cultures. For the month of December, the Beach House will host sundown sessions with sounds by local music acts Momentum Mag, Lovejoy and Bodega Collective, with bites from iconic Sydney foodie hangouts Kosta’s Takeaway, Ricos Tacos Burger Park and Pizza Oltra. G’day USA to save the day Ksubi now operates as an independent business, but before that, it was run as a joint venture between Breakwater, an LA-based investment firm that acquired the brand’s security and intellectual property in 2014 and moved its headquarters to the US, and General Pants Co, an Australian streetwear retailer that obtained a distribution agreement to sell the brand through its retail channels. General Pants Co was primarily responsible for the brand’s turnaround during this time, Ksubi said, handling the day-to-day running of the brand and helping it to “iron out the kinks.” In 2020, a new operating arm called Ksubi Sales International (KSI) was formed, which separated the brand from General Pants Co. Led by King, the former CEO of General Pants Co, KSI is responsible for opening the five current international flagships and the two Australian stores scheduled to open in 2024. Recent years have seen Ksubi strike exclusive distribution deals with top-tier retailers such as Barneys, Kith and Selfridges, allowing the brand to steady its cash flow and rebuild. However, direct-to-consumer sales continue to be the strongest part of Ksubi’s business, according to the brand. The next gen of Ksubi Ksubi has made several key hires in recent months to drive its global growth, including new general marketing manager Suhana Spires, who is returning home to Australia from Milan, where she worked with Oakley, and is focused on partnering with people and brands to create cultural moments that demand attention.A second collaboration with American rapper Juice Wrld 999 will drop in January 2024 and other big- name partnerships will follow. KStudio, the brand’s global HQ, was launched in 2022 in Sydney and is a base for the team to host Australian creatives, musicians and artists on a global stage. The brand’s recent move into the childrenswear market will add a lucrative revenue stream to the brand that it previously had not tapped into, while also catering to its consumers’ life journey. The capsule retails at the Beach House and online, and consists of mini-me versions of the brand’s signature styles for kids aged two to five years old. Ksubi’s roots remain on the shores of Sydney’s beaches where the global streetwear brand was co-founded in 1999 as a somewhat happy accident by three friends Gareth Moody, Dan Single, and George Gorrow. It was originally called Tsubi. T cemented its reputation for rebellion at its Australian Fashion Week debut in 2001, where 200 rats were sent down the runway. Since then, the attention of international celebrities has ensured its success with consumers through testing financial times, and with thoughtful, strategic leadership under King, the resurrection of direct-to-consumer retail stores in iconic Australian retail and fashion precincts is well underway.