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Published
Aug 20, 2015
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Pilot Fish to distribute Roark Revival, Almond and AMBSN in Europe

Published
Aug 20, 2015

Almond, Roark Revival and AMBSN, these three Californian brands have an eye on the Old Continent: they will all be available for European customers from spring-summer 2016, and French company Pilot Fish will manage their distribution.

Pilot Fish, headquartered in Biarritz, France, is a company specialized in sales development and support for fashion brands. It is the result of a partnership between Arnaud Gaillard – a former Managing Director at Nixon and Teddy Smith executive, and Antoine Tinel – who used to work for The Lifestyle Company and Façonnable and has also created Anomalie, a company providing distribution and support expertise to young brands in the clothing sector.


Arnaud Gaillard and Antoine Tinel


Gaillard holds 75% of the company, and Tinel the remaining 25%. André-Pierre Bonamy – who worked at Dakine and Billabong, helps the duo in the sales sector, through his own entity. “Our aim is to maintain a direct relation with the brands’ owners. In the sport area, a rapid development, fueled by the funds, limits the capacity of some of the brands to stay up-to-date”, comments Gaillard.

The objective of Pilot Fish is to facilitate the distribution of Californian brands that are not yet available in the European markets. The model is original enough so as to make the financing possible without jeopardizing the development. “We sign a hybrid contract combining licensing and distribution. We pay the brands at factory price once the items are sold and the retailers have paid us”, explains Gaillard. Contracts are signed for 5 years and span the Europe-Middle East-Africa area. Pilot Fish can also produce the items directly in Europe, for logistical reasons or in order to adapt the collections to European preferences.

“From spring 2016, we will start with France, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom”, adds Antoine Tinel. Sales agents – and their showrooms, are based in London, Bilbao, Lisbon and Paris.
Brands from the Western coast of the United States have a strong identity. For instance, the identity of Roark Revival is built around the notion of adventure, with Californian values and a design influenced by the surfing community. The concept of the founders is to spend, every year, two months in a different country in order to be able to draw inspiration from the local culture. While Iceland will be the feature of the fall-winter 2015-16 collection, Vietman will be brought into the limelight for spring 2016. This brand is expected to find its place with retailers that already offer Brickstone, Obey, Element or Fred Perry.

AMBSN is a brand offering board shorts for the Californian teens. Almond, which is already known in Europe for its surfboards, is the brand that is closest to the surfing community, using technical cotton and neoprene fabrics sourced in Japan.

Pilot Fish will work with agents, and will use French company Sodilog for the logistics part. In addition to these three textile brands, Fish Pilot plans to add accessories, bags and eye-wear brands to its portfolio.

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