Men’s swimwear for summer: five under-the-radar labels for that prints charming look
Catwalk trends are making their way into swimwear. Think eye-catching prints, vibrant colours and attractive styling details – of the streetwear vibe of Rhude, as worn by Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg
Men’s swimwear used to be a boring business. For many years the category was dominated by established players such as Vilebrequin and Orlebar Brown, giving men stylish, albeit limited choices when it came to their holiday wardrobe.
Now the offerings are heating up as more luxury brands and emerging designers enter the market. And that means more fashion-forward styles influenced by catwalk trends.
“This season we are seeing retro swimwear vibes with vintage-inspired prints or cuts. Brands like Dries Van Noten, Prada and Acne Studios have included prints that mimic their runway pieces. As with menswear, fabrics like seersucker are also having their moment,” says Olie Arnold, style director at Mr Porter, an online retailer.
While printed swimming shorts are still a popular look, designers are adding their own twist to the category by creating unique motifs inspired by different cultures or personal pursuits. Washed-out colours, geometric and ethnic prints are also major trends this summer, says Arnold.
Before making a purchase, men should also consider other important details such as silhouette and cut.
“Shape wise, don’t buy swim shorts that go below your knees. They need to stay on or above your kneecaps. For trunks, keep the length at around the middle of your thighs and go for a simpler and more versatile print which you can pair with a white shirt for holiday [wear],” he adds.
Adam Raby, founder of Mazu Resortwear, offers this advice on finding the perfect style this summer.
“Why not try something a little different to your usual look? Choose vibrant colours and a bold dynamic print. Have fun with your clothing and don’t be afraid to experiment with your style. It’s important that you feel your character is represented through your outfit choices and that you connect with the brand you are buying from,” he says.
Here are five under-the-radar men’s swim brands that are trending this season.
Although based in Britain, lifestyle brand Frescobol Carioca is inspired by the swimwear capital of Rio de Janeiro (it’s named after the popular beach sport played by its residents). Its fabrics are all exclusive. The brand is best known for its prints, which are inspired by anything Carioca. Instead of tropical designs, its collections feature reworked patterns that reference the city’s unique pavement mosaics and architecture for a more modern look.
Highlights this season include retro-inspired cherry tree and diamond prints, and a special pair featuring a hand-drawn print by Brazilian artist Paolo Mariotti detailing Rio’s buildings.
Available at www.matchesfashion.com
Entrepreneurs Carl Cunow and Nathan Romano founded Onia (which means boat in Hebrew) in 2009 with the mission to create everyday walking shorts that double as swimwear.
At the time the manufacturing processes used for men’s swimwear were outdated, so they worked directly with mills and factories to innovate and modernise the production.
Their collections celebrate fabric and quality versus trends, with technically advanced styles made from quick-dry fabrics and decorated with fade-resistant prints. The silhouettes are tailored, yet clean and come in various lengths to suit all body types.
Available at www.mrporter.com
British-Nigerian designer Bola Marquis founded Okun, which celebrates his African heritage, in 2012. The fun label is known for its vibrant designs, so expect bold prints and colours that make a statement. Marquis goes beyond traditional wax, batik and Ankara native prints and instead highlights artisanal techniques and textiles from various parts of the African continent, including stamping and block printing.
Custom-made prints include the Oju, which represents timeless infinity, and the Eban, a Ghanaian motif that symbolises love and security. These are made more contemporary thanks to a cool colour palette and tailored silhouettes.
Available at www.mrporter.com
Rhude isn’t technically a swimwear label. Based in Los Angeles, it was founded by Rhuigi Villaseñor as a contemporary brand that takes its style cues from minimalism and street style.
The resulting collections are known for their tailored staples with a streetwear vibe, and the swimwear is no exception.
Perfect for guys who are after a more urban look (it’s already a favourite with rappers like Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and A$AP Rocky), the range includes shorts with logo details and colour blocks of black and other bright hues.
Available at www.modaoperandi.com and Lane Crawford
Hong Kong-based label Mazu was launched by former advertising and sports apparel executive Adam Raby.
The label’s motifs are inspired by the city’s maritime culture, from fishermen to the boats that frequent its harbour, so it has a slightly nostalgic feel.
The latest collection includes designs inspired by sampan water taxis from the 1970s and by bamboo, which is transformed into a minimalist pinstripe effect on swim shorts.
Construction and quality are also top of the list, so expect handcrafted metal aglets and double needle stitching for a polished finish.
Available at www.mazuresortwear.com