Dr. Austin Gallagher is a busy guy. Not only does he spend his days working to protect the world's oceans, but now, he moonlights as a fashion designer as well.
As both a marine biologist and founder of Beneath the Waves, Gallagher has dedicated his life to marine conservation, and specifically, the protection of threatened species like the world's sharks. Part of that work, Gallagher explains, is bringing attention to his cause via partnerships like his new one with apparel brand Southern Tide. A partnership, he says, was a rather hands-on experience.
"We put a lot of those designs out to our team. And asked them, 'How would you wear this?' 'How does this look?' 'How do you feel about this?' It was definitely an iterative process," Gallagher says, before looking down and realizing with a laugh that he was wearing one of his own polo shirt designs on a recent Zoom call with Travel + Leisure.
All this hard work and a quick foray into being a fashionista were well-worth it for the Beneath the Waves team, because it simply means they are getting to draw attention to their cause — one t-shirt at a time.
"You look at the landscape and there are lots of great causes and lots of great organizations out there," Gallagher explains. "Sometimes it can be hard to differentiate. I think the way to really be different and to really become memorable and eventually be impactful is by connecting to people."
The new collaborative collection, Southern Tide says, is launching just ahead of this year's announcement by the UN as the start of the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. It also marks the second year of Southern Tide as the official apparel partner for Beneath the Waves. And, in addition to 5% of proceeds from net sales of the first co-branded collection, Southern Tide will continue to support Beneath the Waves' coastal conservation and preservation efforts on an annual basis.
"We are so excited about the new collection, our continued partnership with Beneath the Waves and the opportunity to support their important research," Christopher Heyn, Southern Tide's CEO, shared in a statement. "Southern Tide strives to have a positive impact on coastal and marine conservation, and we are proud to dedicate our efforts to an initiative that is at the core of our brand. When designing our co-branded collection, we wanted to develop products that not only appeal to the lifestyle of the dedicated Beneath the Waves crew as they set out on shark tagging expeditions but also stays true to the craftsmanship and performance expected from the Southern Tide customer. The collection embodies the adventurous spirit of our customers and the mission of Dr. Austin Gallagher and the Beneath the Waves research team."
Expanding on Southern Tide x Beneath the Waves' existing capsule collection, the new pieces focus on performance wear to help protect beach-goers and boating enthusiasts everywhere. The collection includes a performance short-sleeve sport shirt ($38), the brand's classic women's performance dress ($128), some truly stylish board shorts ($89.50), a wave print button-down ($110), and more, all designed with four-way stretch, UV protection, and moisture-wicking technology.
Beyond buying your summer apparel, the two companies plan to expand their partnership with further content development, as well as relaunching their immersive research activities, including inviting adventurous tourists to join their shark-tagging adventures in the Bahamas later this year. In previous shark-tagging adventures, guests took part in gathering scientific data, helped tag sharks with satellite tags, and assisted with any other hands-on work the biologists needed along the way.
"We deeply value our ongoing partnership with Southern Tide, especially during a time where ocean conservation is pivotal to our future," Gallagher says. "What is even more exciting to us is that Southern Tide actively participates in our research and has supported the Bahamas and Caribbean initiatives to help protect threatened marine life vital to ocean conservation and sustainability."
Be a part of this conservation effort just by picking up a t-shirt now.
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