K-Swiss has recruited some tough new friends in its fight for the youth market.
The company announced today it had acquired mixed martial arts apparel brand Form Athletics, and launched a subsidiary called K-Swiss Orange County. Mark Miller, founder and president of Form, will continue to lead the brand, as well as the new business unit, which will specifically design products for younger consumers.
“I have a dual role,” Miller said. “I will be president of Form, and I’ll also be president of K-Swiss Orange County. It’s the youth culture division of K-Swiss. It will be focused on building a product line and creating a product line around youth culture, skate and action sports.”
While office space hasn’t yet been secured, Miller — who has also served as SVP and GM at DC Shoes — said the division would likely be located in South Orange County, Calif., and staffed with 10 to 15 designers and marketers.
For K-Swiss EVP David Nichols, being located in Orange County is essential to tapping into youth trends. “We want to be as authentic as possible,” he said. “The K-Swiss Westlake Village office is a great place to develop running shoes because of the surrounding hills and trails. Orange County is a great place to connect with youth culture and skate.”
As for the Form brand, Nichols said the label, which currently doesn’t have a footwear offering, has the potential to be a strong player in the MMA world due to its focus on athleticism. “What we liked about Form is that their take on MMA is athleticism, not aggression. It’s about the training, and there are tons of training aspects that make sense in both apparel and footwear.”