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A laid-back vibe may permeate this boardsports brand, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in ambition

Insight claims to be a label inspired by surfers who “don’t give two fucks what anyone else thinks”. But will this blasé attitude help the brand achieve the 20% annual growth in the UK it is looking for?

The brand was founded on the surf shores of Australia by ex-professional surfer Andrew Down in 1982 and entered the UK market in 2003. Since making its debut here, it has intentionally kept a low profile, carving a niche as a cult skate/surf fashion label. The laid-back approach is part of its surfing identity, but seven years on it is ready to start making some serious waves.

Insight has big ambitions, and while it has no plans to ramp up its 60-store UK stockist base, which includes the likes of Urban Outfitters and etailer Asos, it is bullish about its intentions to steal market share from rival streetwear brands Volcom, Element, Carhartt and Fenchurch.

“We provide an alternative to the boardsports style. We want to be the brand to revive the boardsports industry and move it on,” says Franck Goudou, Insight marketing manager for Europe. “We would like to take market share from our rivals such as Volcom, which we compete with in 60% of our retailers.”

In the UK, 40% of the brand’s stockists are young fashion retailers such as Glasgow-based etailer Spoiled Brat, 20% are skate/surf sports retailers including specialist Plymouth indie Prime Deluxe, and 40% are what Goudou describes as being crossover stores, which include indies Paper Scissor Stone in Leeds and Mash on Oxford Street in London.

The brand’s heritage is steeped in denim and the category comprises 45% of Insight’s range. For spring 11 it has introduced the Bucks Programme, a sales drive to encourage retailers to buy into basic product such as T-shirts and knits to boost market share, while a Fast Answer Programme has been introduced to improve delivery times to 45 days after ordering.

The head office and design team operate out of Australia, but in 2009 a designer was hired to create product that was appropriate for northern hemisphere fashion tastes and practicalities such as knitwear and heavy coats, which now make up 20% of European sales.

Key pieces for autumn 10 include a stonewash denim coat with embroidered badges for men and women and floral-print jeans, as well as photographic-print T-shirts. Wholesale prices for the brand range from £10 to £100.

The UK agent for Insight is Deadly Serious, which also represents young fashion brands Comune and Gentle Fawn.

Insight 07917 506924



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