Wingtip Obsession: Solid & Striped Swimwear

Neon sign

Probably one of the most annoying things about summer — besides the city humidity and smelly subway platforms — is having to pick out a new bathing suit. The market is flooded with thousands of options that, if you aren’t sure what you want, can be a bit intimidating. However, we recently stumbled upon a swimwear brand that has put our beachy woes out to sea. New York-based company Solid & Striped offers a range of vintage-inspired pieces that are timeless, classic and won’t kill your budget.

When arriving at the S&S office in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, one of the first things you notice is a bright blue-and-red neon sign that reads, “No Shoes, No Shirt, You’re probably rich.” (We knew this was a great brand already, but seriously— definitely want that in our living room.) We are greeted by the owner himself, 29-year-old Isaac Ross, who leads us back to his office to discuss the brand, their past collaborations and what the future holds.

 

Wingtip Jungle: How did  Solid & Striped start out?

Isaac Ross: A few years ago I was at a friend’s house and his dad was wearing a great pair of 20-year-old navy blue and white striped trunks. I loved the shorts and tried to find something like it — something classic, timeless, easy to wear at the pool but also to be able to wear with a shirt and shoes to go into town for lunch. I couldn’t find that pair of trunks or anything like it.

So I hired a friend from Band of Outsiders to make a pair. We had 8 fittings and perfected the fit so I had one pair of trunks and I didn’t really know where to go from there.

I found an old bathing suit that I had and I saw it had a [Made in] Morocco tag. So I called my friend from there and he helped me locate the factory that made the trunks. The next day I was on a flight and came back a week later with a bag of samples. I quit my job and started selling swimwear. We launched our e-commerce site in November 2012 and we shipped our first eight accounts. We did three seasons of men’s and then did a women’s collection and now here we are.

Courtesy of Solid & Striped

Courtesy of Solid & Striped

 

WTJ: When did you feel like your brand had finally made it?

Ross: It hasn’t. I’m really excited by results we’re seeing and the distribution is great. Our e-commerce performance is really strong and I think the product is better than it has been. I don’t think you really make it in this business. It never stops. There’s never a time to relax because there’s always the next season.

 

WTJ: You’ve worked with Poppy Delevingne — what is that like?

Ross: It’s great! She’s a lovely collaborator. She’s a very hard worker and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner on the project. She really puts in the time and creative energy and brings a good view and taste level. [Poppy] lives the lifestyle too because she travels all the time, lives out of her luggage and is constantly in a bikini.

 

WTJ: Do you foresee any other collaborations in the future?

Ross: We are launching a collaboration this week with Hilary Rhoda and Sean Avery that was featured in the June issue of Vogue. Otherwise, we are talking to a bunch of other brands, but nothing is set in stone.

Courtesy of Solid & Striped

Courtesy of Solid & Striped

 

WTJ: What’s your favorite part of designing swimwear?

Ross: My favorite part is that you’re dressing people for their happiest moments. It’s nice to know when people go away on vacation and are having a great time, we are a part of that. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

 

WTJ: What swimwear trends are you seeing this season?

Ross: My entire line was inspired by one pair of swim trunks that were 20-years-old, so I’m not really tuned into everything else that’s going on in the market. I try not to be. I think we spend more time referencing moods from different decades than trends. I want something that’s going to work today, ten years from now and would have worked 30 years ago.

 

Courtesy of Solid & Striped

Courtesy of Solid & Striped

WTJ: You’ve tackled swimwear, what’s next?

Ross: For the first time, we did a true fall collection which is coming out in August with a full line of ready to wear. It’s our take on fall — sort of what we want our customer to bring back with them from the beach when they close their vacation house after labor day.

 

WTJ: What are the main things you should consider when selecting a bathing suit?

Ross: How you feel when you’re wearing it. Swimwear is the least amount of clothes that most people are going to wear in public so you want to feel good in it.

 

WTJ: What would you say is the aesthetic of your brand?

Ross: Timeless, classic, understated.

Courtesy of Solid & Striped

Courtesy of Solid & Striped

 

–John Soper

SHARE >Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on Pinterest