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Introduction to the Ksubi Fashion Label

Dan Single and George Gorrow, a Sydney graffiti artist and poet respectively (and both avid surfers), who had previously studied graphic design, met in unusual circumstances – a bar fight in LA. The pair began designing jeans in 2000, after being unable to find any that fit right or looked good – the ‘Ksubi’ (called Tsubi until 2006) was born. Just one year later Ksubi debuted at Australian Fashion week with the now infamous catwalk show, with live rats accompanying the models on the runway. Headlines were made, with images going global and soon style icons, Kate Moss and Madonna, were picture in Ksubi jeans.

Ksubi Womenswear Fashion 01

Their innovative catwalk, installations and presentations gained the Ksubi brand international notoriety and have included the now legendary, 200 live rats being released on the runway in 2001; quirky warehouse installations and late-night booty bar parties in 2002; models walking the plank in a boat show in 2003; a rock chick motorbike calender in 2004; a post-apocalyptic inspired collection at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week in 2007; and Kolor clad girls facing off with muscle cars in the Ksubi Kolours film.

Known for their street-wear aesthetic and distressed denim, Dan and George maintain that Ksubi is not only about menswear and womenswear fashion. Since inception there has been Ksubi art, a Ksubi online magazine entitled ‘Sex and Fashion’, a Ksubi coffee table book, and even Ksubi music – Dan moonlights as DJ Dangerous Dan and is part of Sydney DJ ensemble Bang Gang.

As of 2012, the Ksubi fashion label had seven standalone boutiques – three in Sydney, two in Melbourne, one in Queensland and one in New York. The Ksubi collections are also available throughout Australia in David Jones and General Pants department stores, as well as through selected boutiques. Additionally, Ksubi is available in every corner of the globe in some of the world’s finest boutiques. A full list of stockists can be found on the official Ksubi website.

Ksubi Menswear Fashion 01

Ksubi Fashion Label: Key Dates

  • 2000: ‘Ksubi’ (known as Tsubi until 2006) is founded by surfers Dan Single and George Gorrow.
  • 2001: The Ksubi fashion label hit the headlines with the release of 200 live rats on the catwalk.
  • 2002: Ksubi makes its international debut in London with an installation held in an abandoned tube station at Aldwych during Fashion Week.
  • 2005: The Ksubi fashion label launches its first international flagship store in New York’s Soho with a high profile event that saw guests entertained by the DJ sets of Paddy Boom from the Scissor Sisters, The Rapture, James Friedman, and a live performance from Australian band Cut Copy. Also this year, Ksubi release a coffee table book to mark their five year anniversary, which showcases the art, the people and the fashion that makes Ksubi what it is.
  • 2006: Dan and George reached an out of court settlement with US shoe label ‘Tsubo, who threatened to sue them for trademark infringement over the similar name, which at the time was still Tsubi. The settlement allowed Tsubi to keep its name in Australia but will now be known as Ksubi in the rest of the world – the pronunciation would be the same worldwide as the K and T are silent. Also this year, Ksubi released a diffusion line for Australian retail chain Jean West, entitled ‘Alba Fan Club’, which was immediately well-received, featuring in Nylon magazine.
  • 2007: Ksubi released another book, entitled ‘Sign of the Times’ – the book featured photography by George Gorrow, Paul Wilson and Michael Nolan, capturing the journey of a 7 ft high ksubi sculpture depicting a giant hand doing the peace symbol with the fingers cut off and bleeding – A tongue in cheek statement questioning unscrupulous politics and the current state of world peace.

Ksubi Sign of the Times

  • 2008: Founders of Ksubi, Dan Single and George Gorrow, feature in the BRW Rich List with a combined worth of $24 million. Also this year, Ksubi launches its first online boutique.
  • 2009: Ksubi announces its partnership with Australian retail store giant, David Jones to create a range of shop-in-shop concept stores toh stock exclusive Ksubi collections at a lower price point than the mainline range.
  • 2010: In January, Ksubi was placed into voluntary administration after financial woes. In February 2010, clothing distributor Bleach and Quicksilver Europe founder Harry Hodge came to the rescue bought Ksubi out.
  • 2011: The brand launches ‘Ksubi Kuston Designs’, a customisation service that allows customers to give their Ksubi pieces made-to-order alterations. Ksubi designers, Pauly Bonomelli and Emma Mulholland work closely with the customers to sketch out a desired design and customisations which include, studding, dying, embroidery, distressing, print and artwork. Also this year, Ksubi launched an online magazine, entitled ‘Sex and Fashion’.
  • 2012: After announcing in January that the Autumn/Winter 2012 collection had been their best selling range in 12 years, Ksubi had a set-back in February when $1 million of the brand’s jeans were stolen from a warehouse in south-east Sydney.
  • 2012: Dan Single announces he is to step away from Ksubi.
  • 2012: In early September, co-founder George Gorrow announced that he was resigning as Creative Director of Ksubi with immediate effect. The company noted that Gorrow was exiting on good terms, as he looked to focus his time on taking a break with his wife and practicing to surf. A few weeks later in late September, Ksubi announced that it was releasing an exclusive kidswear collection for department store Target.
  • 2013: In January, Dan Single announced his first solo fashion label since parting ways with the label he founded. The label called DAAN is stocked exclusively at Australian retailer General Pants Co from May 2013.

Ksubi Womenswear Fashion 02

Projects of the Ksubi Fashion Label

The Ksubi fashion label has become well known for its range of interesting projects and collaborations, which have included:

  • Jeremy Loves Ksubi: Iconic fashion designer Jeremy Scott teamed up with Ksubi to creatte the ‘Jeremy Loves Ksubi’ range, which saw Jeremy’s signature prints featuring of Ksubi’s popular silhouettes. The vibrant prints and over-dyed fabrics link Ksubi’s denim with Jeremy’s mainline, with the range featuring skinny jeans, high-waists, quirky playsuits and tailored jackets with a twist.

Ksubi Jeremey Scott Collaboration

  • Richard Nicoll: Ksubi collaborated on a range of sunglasses with good friend of the brand Richard Nicoll, which was inspired by the 1940′s and the ideas of 1990′s futurism, with a little wink to the ‘social misfit’. The range consisted of three styles and drew colour from Richard Nicoll’s Spring/Summer 2008 collection – Metal, silver and white were paired with grey, white and clear acetates.

Ksubi Richard Nicoll Colaboration

A full summary of all recent Ksubi projects can be found on the brand’s official website.

Visit the official Ksubi website, here.

If you like the look of Ksubi, why not check out fellow Australian fashion labels, Trimapee and Claude Maus.


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