Shorts, linen and trunks season is upon us, and thoughts naturally turn to high-summer menswear collections for interesting updates. But a burgeoning number of new brands with a year-round “resort” friendly – aka outdoorsy, summery – aesthetic means that there’s now even more opportunity to revitalise off-duty warm-weather wardrobes. Sartorial shifts in the past decade may have focused on athleisure and loungewear, but resortwear is the cousin that’s quietly been making waves.
Retailers are seeing growing interest in this sector. At Mr Porter, buying director Fiona Firth notes that global clients are no longer exclusively shopping according to the fashion calendar of spring/summer, autumn/winter. “Our customers require resortwear 12 months a year, so it’s increasingly becoming an ever-important part of our offering.” One approach to fulfil this year-round demand for holidaywear is to create exclusive capsules at key moments – often between fashion seasons – such as the new Vive La France project, which features new and exclusive resortwear pieces by 14 French brands. “This collection is curated to cater for a global audience, with pieces ranging from cropped denim jeans and T-shirts from Ami to lightweight suiting from Husbands [£1,270],” Firth says.
Harrods recently bolstered its roster of brands with London-based Bluemint, whose combination of statement holiday clothes, swimwear and lifestyle products creates the kind of holiday wardrobe anchors that men can reliably return to throughout the year. Quick-dry tailored swim shorts festooned with flamingos (£95) sit beside on-trend print linen bowling shirts (£90), Panama hats in an array of shades (£115) and chinos (available in two cuts, from £70).
Having steadily built a vacation-led offering for the past five seasons, Damien Paul, head of menswear at Matchesfashion.com, reveals that over the past two years sales increased by 300 per cent. “We’ve found that alongside the traditional demand for swimwear, customers are searching for more lifestyle products. Smarter loose T-shirts, linen pieces and lightweight trousers are all selling well year round. What has been fascinating has been discovering a wealth of less well-known names that specialise in this area and cater to more nomadic lifestyles and warmer climates.”
Hecho, a label set up in 2014 and based in Mexico City, is one of the new breed of year-round men’s resort brands that is now gaining traction around the globe, with stockists including Barneys in New York, Biotop and Edifice in Tokyo, Darial in Barcelona and Matchesfashion.com in London. Creative director Jack Miner says that he noted “a gap in the men’s resortwear market. Certain companies were doing a great job in the swim category, but I sensed the lifestyle offering beyond that was lacking.” Enter a collection of gently bohemian, timeless pieces such as a terry-towelling belted robe (£284), Mexican infused top-stitched short-sleeved linen shirts (£256) and crisp white linen shorts (£205) featuring frayed panels. The brand might have global intentions, but the idea of celebrating Mexico City is central to Miner’s vision – inspirations include the “Carnival in Mexico” lithograph series by Carlos Mérida, a Guatemalan artist who lived and worked in Mexico City.
Regional influences can also be felt at Uruguayan brand Marané, where modified patterns from original artworks by local artist Claudio Pincas are emblazoned on the Horizon print shorts (£155). “There is more demand for resort and vacation clothing outside the summer months, reflecting the way people travel,” says founder Alessandro Aquilina, who spends half his year in Uruguay, the other half between London and New York. “Our swim shorts are the only ones in our industry to have bonded seams,” he continues. “This allows for an impeccably clean silhouette, reducing the balloon effect you’d often see in elasticated shorts.” On the horizon is a development into linen – a partnership with a family-owned mill in Ireland, which will see the label introduce an overshirt-jacket hybrid.
From Uruguay to Australia – the home of Commas, a label set up in 2016 by Richard Jarman. Jarman’s desire for the brand is simple: to create “a holiday-enriching wardrobe that you won’t want to take off when you get home”. The current collection includes floral tie-front, quick-dry trunks (£246), as well as silk-blend shirts (£299) inspired by Jarman’s father’s trips to the flower market, while cotton shirting (from £191) is super-versatile. These clothes have fashion cachet yet retain a certain laidback elegance. “Australia is a great place for a more modern wardrobe to develop,” Jarman says. “We have relatively mild winters and a fairly outdoors-oriented lifestyle, and so a lot of the clothes we wear have to be transseasonal and able to adapt to different situations.”
This outdoors narrative also resonates with Garrett Neff, founder and creative director of New York-based resort label Katama, set up in 2015 for “the new generation of adventure seekers”. Neff says: “Having been exposed to European high fashion, but growing up as an athletic, outdoorsy guy, I felt there was an area in-between that better represented myself and a lot of the men I know. We want to reconnect with nature while looking smart.” Central to the Katama look are punchy, coloured swim trunks that wouldn’t look out of place in Armie Hammer’s Call Me By Your Name wardrobe. Key looks are the runner-style Braden (from $155) and D-ring belted, military-inspired Jack (from $195). In addition to swimwear and tees, the brand is developing lightweight knits (from $295) and Americana-style baseball jackets (from $450).
Resortwear blossoming out of a swimwear line is a common theme. Brothers Jeff and Greg Hladky launched New York-based Everest Isles to combine swimwear with environmental concerns. “I was wearing a pair of 10-year-old boots,” recalls Jeff. “Why couldn’t a pair of trunks last as long, and not destroy the environment in the process?” Taking their lead from military and navy uniforms – Jeff had spent time with the United States Merchant Marines – the pair developed their bestselling Diver trunks (from $195). As well as using technical fabrics from Japan, Italy and France, which are sourced with marine-grade, corrosion-resistant components, the label works with Bluesign, which certifies sustainable textile production, and is introducing Econyl regenerated nylon into the collection this year (take, for example, the Swimmer GIA Version 1 swim shorts, $175). Recently, short-sleeved cotton shirts ($85), polos ($175) and tees ($105) have joined the collection.
Sustainability is also the driving force for founder of menswear label The Lost Explorer, David de Rothschild, who has, among other things, crossed the Pacific on a sailboat made of plastic bottles. The website proclaims it “a lifestyle company working in partnership with nature to outfit you for the adventure of everyday life”. De Rothschild explains: “I tried to plan the materials, design and function choices around ecosystems instead of the fashion calendar. This seems to reflect how the world really is – a changing climate, an increasing distaste for waste – as well as our community’s constant explorations across continents and hemispheres.”
Year-round collections are built around four ecosystems of desert, mountain, ocean and jungle, and highlights include a boxy, charcoal herringbone jacket (£283) fastened with a hidden magnet, a 22-litre backpack (£322) rendered in Ventile cotton and Corkshell-bonded wool that is wind, water and dirt resistant, and a jacket (£662) also made using Corkshell wool. “It’s a timeless wardrobe you can wear all over the world,” says de Rothschild. “I get that this isn’t how the fashion system works, but to me, it feels like a smarter way to make clothes.”
At Arjé, a US-based concept-driven label launched last year by Bessie Afnaim Corral and Oliver Corral, “seasons” have been replaced by three “chapters” per annum, with a view to telling a continuous story around a “lifestyle-oriented travel and essentials wardrobe”. The couple speak of a “borderless” life that requires shearling jackets and linen shirts in equal measure. This is reflected in the mix of a washed white linen kaftan ($290) with a parchment-hued, ultra-lightweight “liquid” suede zip-up bomber jacket ($2,600) and easy, relaxed‑fit shorts (from $320). “The Arjé man lives between two to three cities, travels for work and pleasure and within the same week he could be living and working in four different seasons,” says Oliver. “He needs practical clothes that pack easily and transition both with the weather and with purpose.”
Commas’ Jarman also feels that seasonal collections are becoming less and less relevant. “Wherever you are, there’s normally a convenient flight to somewhere sunnier,” he quips. “And as the ‘rules’ around what constitutes professionalwear change, and given that the way we work is changing so rapidly, there’ll be more confluence between what people wear every day and what they might wear on holiday.”