5 Brands Making Men’s Swimwear That Doesn’t Look Like Swimwear

Ron Dorff: The Sporty Short
Spurred by a distaste for the loud colors and graphic logos often found in men’s sportswear, the Swedish designer Claus Lindorff teamed up with his former advertising agency colleague, Jérôme Touron, in 2012 to start the label Ron Dorff. Their unfussy line offers stripped-down essentials that a man might need before, during and after sports. “We mix Swedish functionality with French style,” Lindorff says, a reflection of his and Touron’s backgrounds. “Thus, any detail is there for a purpose and minimalism is the key word.” When it comes to men’s swimsuits, Ron Dorff avoids the sorts of bold patterns that have flooded the swimwear category over the last decade. “You will never see prints with palm trees, pineapples or bananas on a Ron Dorff swimsuit,” Lindorff proclaims. And, befitting a label inspired by sports, the swim trunks take design cues from vintage rugby shorts. Lindorff says they’re so light and comfortable that his customers have begun to wear them at the gym. That realization that prompted the brand to create a two-in-one trunk, made from quick-drying nylon and designed to be worn in and out of the water.

Salvage Public: The Modern Board Short
“We didn’t have to look far to be inspired to have swimwear within our collections,” says Joseph Serrao, who started his clothing brand, Salvage Public, in 2013 with his brother, Noah Serrao, and his friend Napali Souza in Honolulu. “We live on an island, and most times, a nice pair of swim trunks is our daily attire,” he says. As a testament to the designers’ laid-back Hawaiian sensibility, the brand offers board shorts — a classic surfer’s style of swimsuit — only in understated colorways and in trimmer, more tailored fits. “One of our biggest inspirations is surf history here in Hawaii,” Serrao says. “We’re recreating those original board shorts that were made of durable materials and made to last.” What’s more, having the drawstring hidden within the waistband lends the trunks a clean silhouette. For Serrao, the option to have a more subdued trunk without any outlandish print or color is a matter of cultural immersion. “It becomes the situation of the local versus the tourist,” he says. “To be local is to blend in and not stand out too much: Especially in Hawaii, you never want to appear like you’re trying too hard.”

Everest Isles: The Eco-Approved Suit
As a former United States merchant mariner who worked on cargo ships around the world, Jeff Hladky has a unique perspective that informs Everest Isles, the sustainable swimwear brand he founded in 2012. The shorts are inspired by the many vintage military pieces that Hladky has collected on his travels around the world; they combine Marine-grade finishings, like grommets and zippers that will never rust or corrode, and durable technical fabrics that can withstand heavy wear. After witnessing firsthand the devastation of the globe’s waterways and oceans, Hladky wanted to ensure that Everest Isles had as small an environmental impact as possible; the brand’s swim trunks are not only built to last but also eco-conscious, made of regenerated textiles (like nylon yarn from abandoned fishing nets) and shipped in recycled and reusable packaging. “We want to offer a swim trunk that is well designed and discreet for either the beach or the street,” he says of his styles, which feature cargo pockets, internal bungee key cords and a signature utility hook and come in everyday colors like black, navy and silver. “I’ve always been attracted to brands that value quality and design over everything else,” Hladky says. “The goal is to create timeless pieces that will not only stand up to the elements, but also look great season after season.”


Robinson Les Bains: The Silky Short
The French designer Christophe Verot worked at several established luxury brands before creating his own swimwear label, Robinson Les Bains, in 2007. From working in public relations at Hermès and Balenciaga and in sales at Dior Homme, Louis Vuitton and Céline, Verot has the résumé and experience to understand a thing or two about fashion. But it was his former hobby of playing water polo and his passion for the sea that inspired him to turn to swimwear. “I realized no designer, except for a few, was paying proper attention to the category,” Verot explains. Fabricated from fine lightweight nylon that enables faster drying, Robinson Les Bains bathing suits feel softer and silkier than most. The brand’s second-skin lining is a far cry from the uncomfortable netting commonly found in men’s trunks, making the styles easily adaptable. “Our shorts, particularly the Oxford style, are wearable everywhere from the poolside to the beach, also when you are driving your scooter or playing golf,” Verot says. “If you wear them as a Bermuda and happen to find the opportunity to swim somewhere, you’ll be ready.”

Marané: The Tailored Trunk
Alessandro Aquilina started his swimwear label Marané in 2016 with a flagship store in a small Uruguayan fishing village; the name is derived from an expression in the indigenous Guarani language meaning “unspoiled land.” The designer explains: “Spending so much time in the water, we are so fortunate to enjoy this ease of freedom. It was only natural for us to begin with swimwear and to share this feeling.” With a threadless, bonded-seam finishing, his trunks are designed to have a streamlined fit that share little in common with the ballooning, baggy shapes common to men’s swimwear. “We simply wanted to make a beautiful short that felt just right,” he says. For the designer, that means “no bells, whistles or any other adornments.” A seasonal cut or a trendy pattern does not interest him; instead, after hundreds of iterations, he has constructed a short with a timeless fit versatile enough to wear during various occasions. “A silhouette is a silhouette, in or out of the water.”



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