Jim Storey’s Surf Perimeters clothing brand is a breath of fresh air within the surf industry. Perfectly combining a clean and minimalist aesthetic, with practical properties and sustainable fabrics, Surf Perimeters is a brand that looks just as comfortable on the streets as it does on the beach.
When and why was Surf Perimeters started?
I started the brand back in October 2015, although it had been on my mind for a long time before that.
Working in London and various other cities for the last 20 years or so, I’ve really struggled to connect to mainstream surf lifestyle brands. The designs and styling can be a bit too gnarly for me to wear in my everyday life.
Looking contemporary and being a surfer shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. Yet that isn’t a design philosophy which exists currently. The stereotypical image of a surfer is no longer as relevant as it once was – we are not defined by where we live or what we do. Surfers live all over the place. We navigate numerous environments.
I’ve also found it difficult ‘connecting’ with the ethos of established surf lifestyle brands. Most focus on selling the dream. But they forget that not many of us can actually live it on a permanent basis! For 90% of the time, most of us are living normal lives, navigating urban environments and holding down a busy work and / or family life. So it makes it difficult, if not impossible, trying to affiliate with them because their identities feel a bit tenuous and, in some cases, completely unreachable.
When my Dad died of Motor Neurone Disease, I guess that was the spark behind my decision to ignite Surf Perimeters. It made me realise that we don’t know what’s around the corner – and that I needed to make more of an effort to pursue my passions and meet my personal drive to explore rather than wait for another day or until the mortgage is paid off. Do it now. Before it’s too late.
Who currently works on the Surf Perimeters team?
Just me at the moment. Although I’ve been lucky enough to have found an incredible team of strategic partners who I work with closely & who I really see as part of the Surf Perimeters team.
In terms of Sourcing and Manufacturing, I have had an unwavering commitment to quality and sustainability from the outset. I’ve developed strong relationships with two exceptional partners, one of which supports us with our casual range and the other with our technical collection.
From a Branding and Design perspective, we work with creatives who have experience working for – and running – lines for lifestyle brands as well as more fashion-centric ‘street’ and higher end brands. This fusion of experience and perspective helps us to view surf fashion more holistically and ultimately breathe a fresh, contemporary perspective into our designs. One individual who I have to mention here is a guy called Simon Lown – he was one of the first people who I reached out to with my crazy idea of igniting a new surf brand from scratch and he has been absolutely pivotal to the minimalist branding which lies at the core of Surf Perimeters.
In terms of PR & Marketing, our partners – Canoe – are one of the leading and most experienced creative communication agencies on the planet. It’s a privilege to be working with them & I think when they agreed to partner with us, it gave me renewed belief that actually what I had created could genuinely become embedded as a new brand on the block.
Finally, in terms of Leadership, it’s just me who’s leading the charge. I’m 42 years old, originally from Cornwall (a long time ago) and I haven’t got a background in this space. In fact, I pretty much stumbled across most of my extended team via Google research as I knew no-one who could help me bring my vision to life!
How would you describe the aesthetic of Surf Perimeters products?
Our aesthetic is contemporary and minimalist with a very high attention to detail.
Central to the product designs have been clean lines and branding which speaks immediately to saltwater spirit but in a more minimalist way. This has been really important for us and our identity – we are an authentic surf brand but with a slightly more refined, conservative style. From the outset, I wanted us to be instantly recognisable in the market via our branding, which I think we’ve achieved with the SP surfboard icon which you will see in various forms across the collection.
You will also probably notice quite a lot of Scandinavian influence in the range, as I’ve always been a huge fan of their design principles not only in terms of contemporary styling, but also their ability to fuse together function, durability and clean lines in such a unique, compelling way.
Who is the Surf Perimeters demographic?
I’m hopeful that there are a lot of people out there who can affiliate with the ethos which underpins the brand but also just appreciate the minimalist aesthetic of the products themselves.
So the demographic is probably quite wide, with an appeal to both hardened technically advanced surfers who may want to adopt a more contemporary look with a fresh brand as well as those who have perhaps just dipped their toe in the water but lost sight of realising their ambition to improve due to busy lifestyles or landlocked locations in which they live.
I’ve also had a lot of interest from people who just like the aesthetic and may not be into surfing. So there is probably a market out there who just like the look and feel of the products.
Also, whilst our launch range is largely male-focused, quite a few of the products have been bought by females who have an appreciation for our aesthetic. It’s definitely in our plan to develop a range for women in the seasons ahead.
However, more than anything, I’m also excited about breathing a fresh perspective into the surf scene; an outside influence if you like. And potentially opening it up to anyone who feels an affinity with the sport or the values which it encompasses.
What differentiates Surf Perimeters from other surf brands?
- Our identity is unique. No other surf brand strives to understand or connect with the lifestyle dynamics and parameters of those of us who are constrained by time and / or location
- Our branding is minimalist and contemporary. Heavily influenced by Scandinavian fashion, we are breathing a fresh perspective into the surf apparel market through adopting a more refined, clean approach to our product designs
- There has been an unwavering focus on quality across the entire collection from construction details, fabric selection (which is very much driven by a sustainable environmental outlook) and meticulous attention to the manufacturing process.
- Our range speaks to people who want to weave saltwater spirit into their wardrobe each day. Whether they are on the commute, at the gym, in the mountains or at the coast.
- Our audience reach extends beyond the surf community. Our identity and designs affiliate with consumers who simply appreciate minimalist fashion as well as those who want to showcase their saltwater soul.
What are the future plans for the brand?
I’m hesitant to get too carried away as it is still early days. I’ve worked hard over these last 2.5 years to bring SP to life, and I’m absolutely stoked with where we’ve got to. It’s been a journey and there have also been many moments of doubt as I’ve come across obstacles or struggled to find time to dedicate to the business whilst holding down a ‘normal’ job, spending time with my amazing family and also living the spirit of the brand by going on mini-adventures and trips.
I’m heading out to California next week to have some meetings with potential partners. And we’ve been busy working on some awesome new products for AW18, including our SP Navigator blazer, long-sleeve casual shirts, a rain jacket, striped crews as well as new organic tee designs. We also have samples of our forthcoming recycled polyester board shorts which I trialled whilst on a surf trip in the Indian Ocean a few weeks ago and, no joke, they are the lightest, most comfortable board shorts I’ve ever worn!
I also have aspirations to build a community of like-minds who live and breathe the brand, which may include bespoke surf trips and exploration-type adventures. I am also intent on helping with the plastic pollution problem, we recently sponsored The Plastic Project, which is an incredible initiative led by award-winning surf photographer Tim Nunn. I am in the early throes of trying to influence the broader corporate world to adopt more sustainable practices to reduce and ultimately eliminate single-use plastic from their supply chains.