Notes on Men's Style
Make a Splash in Orlebar Brown Swimwear
BY: DYLAN MARTIN
January 26, 2017
Photographer Adam Brown was struck by the state of popular swimwear while on a tropical Rajasthani vacation with friends. “Around the pool, the women in the group looked great, but the men did not.” The baggy board shorts most of his male counterparts were sporting lacked sophistication or sex appeal.
Brown and the other guys on the trip felt the need to switch out of their slouchy bathing suits to look more respectable when grabbing a meal at the bar. As a tasteful traveler, he intuitively identified an unmet demand for more refined swimwear to take gentlemen across their holiday with ease.
This gap in the market led Adam to establish Orlebar Brown, his now iconic label, upon returning to London. “The inspiration really came with the philosophy that fit is paramount — shorts you could swim in, rather than swimming shorts. You can wear them to the beach and then you can go and have a drink or lunch,” he explains.
What makes this brand truly special is that the collection is precision-cut using traditional tailoring methods similar to men’s dress pants. The deceptively simple shorts are based on a 17-piece pattern that includes a shaped waistband and subtle back darting to achieve an exacting fit.
Brown has essentially redefined the swimwear category with his engraved metal side fasteners — offering a sleek departure from drawstrings typically tied around shorts. The savvy innovator also prides himself on using quick-dry fabrics that resist the effects of chlorine, salt water, and sunlight. In other words, these classic designs are as sturdy as they are stylish.
There is a sense of nostalgia emanating from Brown’s swim trunks that draw inspiration from sixties poolside utopia. The founder cites Slim Aarons' legendary photos of Riviera and Palm Beach life as a major influence. The standout suits are decorated in an array of vibrant hues and retro prints — often showcasing the works of celebrated artists, illustrators, and photographers.
“Swimwear is always a category full of fun and whimsy,” says buyer Belinda Yu. “Whether jumping off a jetty at the cottage or kicking back in the Caribbean, a man’s swim trunks should aspire to complement those feelings of fun. Orlebar Brown, for me, is the ultimate brand for leisure moments. It’s authentic and at Harry Rosen we want to support the makers that are ahead of the curve.”
As one of the fastest-growing names in British fashion, the swimwear specialist has swiftly evolved into a lifestyle label that carries jersey tees, polo shirts, and other resort staples rooted in “travel and good times."