Will Beeslaar and Duncan Forbes, two east coast surfers, have launched Scotland’s first surf clothing brand. “We developed Staunch to fulfil a dream of creating a home-grown Scottish surf label. A brand that represents us, the people we meet and our definition of a modern Scotland,” says Duncan, founding partner.
Surfing has been a niche sport in Scotland for decades, yet over the past couple of years it has grown dramatically, fuelled by media coverage, innovative wetsuit technology and the realisation that Scotland is regularly battered by storms and swell. With increasing crowds comes tension and frustration but also the birth of a larger Scottish surf community.
“We always felt a little odd wearing Aussie surf brands, you end up feeling like a tourist in your own clothes. Initially we started making t-shirts for a laugh, creating designs that reflected our surf adventures. Staunch the brand is a natural progression for us. We are offering a home grown alternative to the global surf brands. A celebration of modern Scotland and all it has to offer.”
Duncan and Will met in 2002 when they both worked for a marketing consultancy. They always envisaged working on projects together. The creative partnership thrives from a balance between strong conceptual design coupled with an understanding of what their consumers want. “We don’t always agree on everything, but since Staunch was developed for people like us we always know when we’ve got it right.”
When it comes to buying t-shirts most people want something unique. Staunch only produce limited amounts of each design. Duncan admits: “We’re not interested in churning out meaningless graphics, there is a story behind every one of our designs and developing this story is the best part of the process. From a business point of view we are probably lucky to be based in the East Coast, it’s during the frustrating flat spells and long drives searching for a wave that most of our ideas are born. It helps keep our spirits alive while we’re out of the water.”
And the ambitions of the Staunch boys doesn’t stop there. They are currently in discussions with local manufacturers to develop more technical clothing and other surf inspired products. “It’s crazy, we’ve already had enquiries about designs for a range of surfboards,” says Duncan. “We don’t expect to get rich from Staunch. Our priority is to keep making quality clothing that we and our friends want to wear. If it makes us enough cash to book another surf trip to Indonesia we will be over the moon.” Just like surfing, if you try too hard you wipe out.
Staunch clothing is now available direct from the website www.staunchclothing.co.uk