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Getting a Sense For... Will Yates, founder of Apnéa

October 27, 2020

 "The word Apnea means 'temporary cessation of breathing’which to us means, for a better tomorrow we need not hold our breath but work towards a better future." 

Will Yates

Introducing our latest feature where we share how our favourite designers, creatives, and friends of Del Rainbow Store are fulfilling their senses; getting a feel for who they are, where they’re from, and how they spend their days. We are incredibly proud to stockApnéa in-store; a brand founded by Will Yates — avid surfer, talented photographer and devoted father & husband to fellow creative, Emily Yates. A true nomad, he lays bare his love of the unknown, the power of good karma, and how, with Apnéa, he hopes to creative positive change.

How are you satisfying your senses:

I’m reading…The Years Thunder By, A voyage across two oceans and a continent by Nick Jaffe

I’m watching…Pelé

I’m listening…to my friend Riley’s Nostalgia Killer Vol.1 playlist on Spotify

I’m eating / drinking…pasta, and if it’s the evening a glass of red, maybe topped off with a crème brûlée

I’m feeling…at ease

Can you share the inspiration behind Apnéa, and the story behind the name?

The Apnéa journey all started in 2014, it took a few years to get things rolling and in 2016 we finally created our first samples. Slow and Steady. My main inspiration was to make a positive change in mens fashion, in all aspects really; simplified, modest, stylish and most importantly sustainable. The word Apnea means 'temporary cessation of breathing’which to us means, for a better tomorrow we need not hold our breath but work towards a better future. Create a world we all want to live in.

Describe the Apnéa customer in five words.

Active, Environmentally Conscious, Stylish and Modest.

I. Apnéa Obscurity Boardshort

How do you hope the Apnéa customer feels when wearing your creations?

We hope they’re feeling good!

You donate a percentage of yearly profits to The Ocean Cleanup foundation — what does sustainability mean to you, and what hopes do you hold for Mother Earth?

Sustainability to me means a simpler way of life, being conscious of your surroundings and creating a better future.

Can you share some insights into your manufacturing process for Apnéa, the materials you have chosen, and why?

Our shorts are made in Bali, Indonesia. I was living on-and-off over there for a few years when I first created the brand. Everything is at your fingertips in Bali and it was really just a fun side project that kept my mind busy and creative, as well as being able to employ local artisans in the place I was living.

When we first started there was only a very limited number of factories that were using sustainable fabrics and manufacturing techniques. Since 2014 that has changed massively for the better, it’s an amazing thing to watch and see grow. We use Repreve which is regarded as one of the best sustainable fabrics for activewear in the world. It’s light-weight, super stretchy and extremely forgiving. It was really out of luck to be honest, but super happy we got to partner with Repreve and use their fabric. Always need a bit of dumb luck when living in Bali. Good Karma we’ll call it.

II. Apnéa Vivid Boardshort

While 2020 hasn’t been without challenges, it’s helped us gain newfound perspective on what’s most important. Who, or what are you most grateful for?

I’m currently at home in the Northern Rivers, NSW. 2020 has been a bit of a different year for us so it’s nice to stay put for a while and enjoy the small things. I'm grateful for my wife and one year old son, Fox. Family, friends and health - the most important things in life!

Describe your perfect workday.

Probably a day off (hah!), when the waves are good and the suns out.

What is your creative outlet?

Surfing and being out on the water in any capacity. Calms the soul and washes off that land anxiety.

What does the future hold?

I have no idea, which is the best thing about life. Keep it simple and enjoy every second.

III. Apnéa Dusk Boardshort