Oliver Hall talks to aussieBum CEO Sean Ashby.
What inspired you to start aussieBum?
My inspiration to create the styles I started with was because I grew up wearing Swimwear briefs made from a nylon fabric that were light in weight, quick drying and also didn’t squeeze everything it covered. It was also a style commonly worn by men of my generation.
It wasn’t so much inspiration that started aussieBum however as is was about myself being able to pay my rent and still spend time at the beach. The name of the brand was born from myself being an ‘Aussie’ and the fact I was literally a beach ‘Bum’. aussieBum.
What are the latest trends in male swimwear that are changing the market?
The latest trends that really changing the market is more about the attitude all men are taking to men’s fashion overall. Mainstream men were governed by what their partners or girlfriends purchased. Gay men were very much the trendsetters in style, however today the next generations of men are not classed by their sexuality or their allegiance to a stereotypical influence or role model. Today the next generation are not interested in labels that are consistently being marketed to them. They are more interested in discovering labels that no one else knows about or they have been influenced via social media recommendations. The latest trends are a reflection of labels that are listening to their audience. Are part of their lifestyle or culture and designing more personally and somewhat in a niche specific way. Based on this I do see a resurgence in the men’s Nylon Brief swimwear style. The square legs (hipsters) are also getting shorter and shorter. New innovations in fabric treatments are also allowing designers to push the boundaries more, though the saturation and quality of colour in swimwear is still being held back by the affect chlorine has on the fabric. Prints are also getting more and more popular and the ideas for men’s swimwear are becoming more dynamic and theme driven. Australia (and NZ) are typically the real trendsetters in swimwear globally as it’s the first place for summer in the new season, so ideas and higher level of choices are often see locally first.
Where do you see men’s swimwear in 5 years time?
That’s a tough question. If I look at the past five years what I forecast is a greater diversity in styles and ideas with no set expectation. I believe men will become more conscious and educated about the different styles and basically what they look good in. The fabric and treatments of the fabric will become more technical in all different ways. For example seam free. No stitching, everything is glued or heated into place. Form molding to compliment a persons figure will also be more relevant.
Your products can be ordered internationally from your website – do you notice different demands for certain designs for different countries – for example are the designs popular with Australians differ from what is popular with Germans?
Our top five markets in no particular order are Nth America, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Australia. For Australia we are still be much classic brief driven in style. Nth America is slightly more conservative and prefers the hipster, square cut shape. France is more brief style driven though the hipster is starting to become more and more popular. Germany I have to say is the most unique. I absolutely love the fact they are willing to try new ideas and will not just choice a style they will also choose all the accessory items like a tee to compliment the swimwear also.
What are your best sellers?
Our best sellers are the aussieBum Classic swimwear range. League, BeeBee’s.
Generally speaking are your gay and straight male clientele looking for different things from their swimwear designs?
A few years ago I could see a very distinct difference however today you can’t. in some instances the straight male is overtaking the gay male in style with respect to trying new colours or cuts that are pushing the boundaries somewhat. It’s a very exciting time to be a men’s swimwear designer that’s for sure.
What does the future hold for Aussiebum?
2015 is a very exciting time for the company will have a new ‘brother’ label that is designed specifically for the Winter season. The origins are actually born in NZ and will heavily feature NZ are the backdrop for its inspiration. For aussieBum I intend to increase our swimwear collection with new prints and cuts. After 15 years I thought I would be worn out but next year I predict will be our biggest and best ever.
Discover more at http://www.aussiebum.com/
Article | Oliver Hal