Swims is ready for just about anything Mother Nature dishes out.
Launched in 2006 with a single retro-inspired galosh for men, the weather-friendly Norwegian footwear and accessories brand was acquired in 2016 by Commerce, Calif.-based Differential Brands Group. With an infusion of capital and marketing heft from its new parent, the label experienced a 20 percent uptick in sales in 2017 over the year prior.
“It’s a reflection of the investment and energies we’re putting toward our direct markets in the U.S., Canada and Scandinavia,” said global president Jake Brandman, adding that the U.S. is its biggest market. “It tells you about the opportunity in front of us [in the States].”
Footwear accounts for 75 percent of Swims’ product mix and includes waterproof boots, lightweight TPU moccasins, flip-flops and breathable mesh sneakers, retailing from $130 to $300. “We build smart solutions relevant for [any] time of the year,” said Brandman. “It’s about finding the right mix of technologies to deliver the right solution.”
For fall ’18, Swims’ new lead designer, Dien Nguyen, has introduced the Motion collection, which can take men from a business meeting to dinner. Styles include a cap-toe bal oxford, a classic loafer and a wingtip boot. “The brand is all about reinventing the classic with elegant, smart, weather-friendly solutions fused with utility,” said Brandman.
To build more recognition, Swims this summer will open its first owned flagship in its hometown of Oslo, Norway. The label is sold in 30 countries via a range of wholesale partners. Swims also has several branded stores in China and the Middle East that are operated by partners, and plans to open two more locations in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, this summer.
Stateside, the company wholesales with Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, and in specialty shops including Mitchells in Westport, Conn., and Gary’s in Newport Beach, Calif. “We find ourselves in a unique white space where we sit on the [retail] floor with other great luxury brands,” said Brandman. “We don’t have a lot of competition around similar looks.”
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