As we welcome sophisticated swimwear brand Orlebar Brown back to the Village, we catch up with founder Adam Brown, the man who revived modern glamour back to the poolside.
Where did the concept for Orlebar Brown come from?
“In February 2005, I was invited to a friend’s 40th birthday in Rajasthan. The mixed group of friends were all like-minded in that they were design-orientated and had their own personal styles. Around the pool at the hotel it all seemed a little different. The women looked great – but the men were wearing a mix of briefs, board or baggy boxer short styles. I remember we had to change to have lunch. This was the defining moment and the idea for Orlebar Brown became clear. I did not want a swim short but rather a short you can swim in. A tailored approach to swim shorts that enables you to go from the beach to having drinks or lunch."
Tell us what we can expect from the new Orlebar Brown boutique at Bicester Village, the look and product?
"Our new pop-up in Bicester is an open, vibrant space that reflects the ethos of OB. It’s bright and full of colour and we have an outside space with planting that creates a fresh, welcoming environment."
What are your top destinations to travel to?
"I recently went to Soneva Fushi in the Maldives and loved it. The food, the brilliant light, temperature, foliage, water, smells, snorkling… The only place I always go to is North Cornwall in the UK in August. This is where I have been going since I was four and, for me, it is perfect. People think I am crazy, but I love the big waves and cold water. Other than that it tends to vary. Last year it was Mykonos and St Tropez, this year it is to a very cool, laid-back hotel called Macakizi in Bodrum/Turkey and I am hoping to get to Positano or Capri for a few days."
What key pieces do you advise for men for travel this summer?
"Travelling often means having to pack light and smart. The building blocks of a great summer wardrobe are timeless, versatile pieces that you can wear for any occasion like lightweight tees and tailored swim shorts you can wear for a day at the beach or an evening of drinks. Add in some chinos and a light jacket and you’re set for almost anything.
What is new for Orlebar Brown this season?
"In recent months we have started evolving our swim range. For the last ten years we have focused on our iconic OB Classic shorts and the Bulldog style in particular, we now have the Bulldog Sport and Bulldog Adventure styles launching. At different price points and inspired with exactly the same DNA as everything else we do, but with different personalities. They are both more ‘active’ in spirit but true to Orlebar Brown. We have 20 stores now with new ones opening this summer in London, Cannes, Miami, Kuwait and hopefully Spain – so it is going to be an exciting few months."
What new trends in swimwear do you see emerging?
"As with anything else in fashion, swimwear is no different and evolves in cycles. Whether it is length, culture (surf versus sport versus resort) or styling it goes in waves. From the first heavy swim briefs of the 1940s to short cotton shorts of the 50s, to the beginnings of sports briefs in the 60/70s and board shorts or relaxed boxer short styles, there is always something happening.
We love the core values of sunshine, travel, happiness and good times. How do you reflect this in your swimwear?
"We always aim to be vibrant and fun by embracing colour and experimenting with patterns. Our pieces are playful and epitomise the carefree spirit of summer. Our photographic editions give us true versatility and our Design Your Own #SnapShorts gives us the opportunity to see what summer means to people from all corners of the globe."
What key elements of the design or manufacturing of your shorts that make them stand out from other brands?
"We really do take immense pride in the quality of everything we produce. Our OB Classic swim shorts are where it all began and we call ours ‘a tailored approach’ because they are based on the traditional pattern of a pair of men’s trousers. Sixty elements go into one pair of Orlebar Brown swim shorts and each piece has been carefully considered for the perfect shape and fit. From the shaped waistband to the heat-proof adjustable side fasteners to darts and side vents… it’s the little details that set us apart."