Salty's Short Supply
I founded Salty's in 2010 after 7 years honing my skills as the designer for Sea Apparel. I'd become a father for the first time and was looking for work with flexible hours so I started designing clothes to sell at the local markets on the weekends. And Salty's was born. I'm proud to say that is truly an independent brand. I have no partners or backing, no staff, no book-keeper, unpaid interns or gofers. Just me with some support from the mrs. I design everything myself and oversee the sampling and production of my shorts in Bali, which by total coincidance hosts some of the worlds most epic waves. I whip up most of the artwork myself with my friends chip in from time to time to mix it up a little. All the t's are screen printed by hand in Byron. I guess you could call it a one man band. I hope you like the products and thanks for your support.
Sea was a privilege to be a part of. It was a true indie surf brand with a great creative culture. Dain Thomas and I founded Sea Apparel in 2004 to partner the existing board brand Sea Surfboards that Dain had founded with Matty Yeates years earlier. I made the clothes and Dain and Matt produced the surfboards which were the backbone of the brand. It was a wild and challenging beast but fun as hell. We did some interesting things. If being copied is flattering, well we were pretty flattered. It never made any of us a fortune but it sure as hell made an impact. Well on me anyways.
Free was the best surf brand that I had ever seen. I was a little slow to catch onto it, finding it only in its later years. But I remember when I did and it hit me like 'a tonne of this shit is awesome bricks'. This was 2003 and there were a couple of other good small indie surf brands out there but nothing came close to it. Ando’s (Andy Davis) whimsical drawings, subtle nods to history and nostalgia, coupled with over-sized colorful prints and finely cut surfing shorts. His graphics were light hearted and light on a logo. Well kind of. Because part of its genius was the name 'Free' as it didn't read like a logo. It read like a statement, a state of being, an ethos and awe aspiring feeling. That sensibility was a long way from the macho heavily branded surfwear available in Australia, and far ahead of its time (or was it 20 years behind it?).
So then I met Andy Davis in 2004. Harry the Hat introduced me when he was out staying in Byron for a few months working on illustrations for “The Way of the Bird”, a kids book with Andrew Kidman. I was excited to meet him. We hit it off… Drank red wine, surfed, drew on beer coasters, danced and enjoyed our new found friendship… Young, single and free as a byrd... Word…
Free and its incarnations are gone for now. Ando is still designing surfwear and when you see it you know it's him. He's still inspiring designers everywhere. I can proudly say that he was my biggest inspiration. And I believe he was the driving force behind the smaller cottage surf brands that are abundant today...
So thanks buddy, for inspiring me to do the most rewarding job of my life. Double Shakas...