Jack Watts isn’t the first AFL player to start a fashion brand – and won’t be the last – but his quirky swim trunks venture, ‘Skwosh’, is far from another brand with the often-heard ‘clean, simple designs on quality fabrics’ mantra.
Skwosh’s designs are loud, fun and bright.
Cacti, pineapples, melons and bananas adorn a cheeky range of trunks that are dressier than boardshorts but by no means formal.
While fun is at the core of the business, Watts has worked hard to make it a success.
“IF FOOTY’S NOT GOING SO WELL, AND THAT’S ALL YOU’VE GOT, IT CAN BE A PRETTY DARK PLACE SOMETIMES.” – JACK WATTS
The 196cm Melbourne utility is one of three key figures driving Skwosh; close friends Adam Walsh and Jack Turner look after the business and creative sides of the business, respectively, while Watts plays the role of salesman and networker.
After months of planning and preparation, the trio unveiled its debut collection of swimwear in December. Nearly three months in, the business is going well.
For Watts, while seeing a project come to life has been rewarding, having a project to focus on away from the footy field has been just as valuable.
“If footy’s not going so well, and that’s all you’ve got, it can be a pretty dark place sometimes.”
To counter that, Watts believes it’s healthy for players to have “a whole lot of other things going on”.
“You’ve got your friendship groups, you’ve got your family, you’ve got your study and something like this – a business to keep the mind ticking.”
Now 24, Watts has a far better understanding of how to switch off from footy than when he began his AFL career.
“When young guys come into the AFL system, it’s sort of all AFL and everything else goes out the window. You just want to play a game and earn some respect.
“But once you’ve been there for a few years you can start to really balance out your life.”
Heading into an eighth AFL season, Watts has a clear perspective of what’s important to him.
“As much as we’re AFL footballers and that’s a huge part of our lives and you’ve got to put a huge amount of emphasis on that, it’s not who we are – it’s not everything we are.
“There’s going to be life after footy – we’re just normal people like everyone else.”