SLVDR: Taking the Boardshort in a Different Direction

Technical boardshorts have ruled the action-sports swim game for years.

But Rob Myers, president and creative director of the Santa Ana, Calif.–based men’s collection SLVDR, wants to challenge swim fashion with his label’s new “Water Short,” which debuted at the Agenda trade show in Long Beach, Calif., on July 10.

Myers grew up surfing and skateboarding on the beaches of Orange County, Calif., which also serve as something of a runway for swimwear and beachwear. It was here that he witnessed the big Orange County action-sports labels such as Hurley, Quiksilver and Volcom dominate boardshorts sales for years. Technical boardshorts, with monikers such as Hurley’s Phantom Fuse 2, have consistently won design awards at the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association’s Image Awards.

But Myers thought the market was big enough for an alternative. “When I’m at the beach, I look around. There’s heaps of guys running around in performance boardshorts,” Myers said. “They work amazing in the water. But once they’re out of the water, they don’t look so great. I thought I could improve on the garments once they’re not used for surfing. I wanted to create a boardshort that would be casual. It would have some function and not have quite such a teched-out look.”

To make this swimwear he calls the “Water Short,” he started with the same stretch fabric used in technical boardshorts. But Myers’ version uses more cotton fabric than technical shorts, which gives SLVDR’s swimwear a pre-1990s style that Myers was going for.

For the silhouette, Myers also designed a retro look. Instead of the baggy silhouette that has dominated beach styles for more than a decade, the “Water Short” falls around the thighs, with a 9-inch inseam. Technical boardshorts typically fall below the knees.

The “Water Short” has all-over prints also used in SLVDR’s Spring ’15 collection. There are graphics of cameras, foxes and ocean waves drawn in an abstract Japanese style. It wholesales for $35.

SLVDR will enter a crowded boardshorts market, said Karen Meena, vice president of the Ron Robinson boutique at the Fred Segal compound of stores in Los Angeles. Ron Robinson has been selling boardshorts since 1978. “Every brand has a boardshort,” Meena said. “It’s a crowded market. But if you do something different, you can be successful.”

While the market for boardshorts is dominated by a few top players, Myers thought the swimwear would be a perfect complement to his wider collection. “I hope it continues to boost brand awareness and allows the collection to be a little fuller,” he said.

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