I found Sluggers Swimwear, an Australian swimwear company on Instgram. They ran an ad and it piqued my interest. After looking up the brand I was really impressed. They have a great sense of style and believe many things we here at UNB also believe! I missed the call from owner Adam one day but we finally connected. I have to admit his laid back Aussie attitude came through and drives his philosophy in his company.
Adam, tell us why did you start Sluggers Swimwear? What made a bloke want to go into the swim brief business?
Since my late twenties I have been a fan of what Americans call ‘a speedo’. They’re just comfy and practical. Let’s face it – they’re what most Aussie guys wear to the beach or pool. The expensive name brands would lose their shape really fast in my pool, and most of the other brands didn’t carry the kind of prints or colours I wanted to wear. They seemed really conservative. Or they were just covered in logos. Or just looked terrible on me.
I decided to design my own, so I met with lots of very nice people and over the course of about 15 months and a few thousand dollars designed our pattern and prints and launched the online store.
I am still wearing a pair we released in August 2015. It’s survived two Summers of sitting in my backyard pool and spa and looks the same as it did the day I grabbed it off the shelf. I am pretty proud of that.
I am a regular guy. Average build. I am confident with clothes, but not too showy. The philosophy behind our designs is simple – if I wouldn’t wear it we won’t make it.
The crazy part is, people really responded. We’ve managed to make a profit from our first month in business and all the hard work has really paid off.
Sluggers Swimwear has 4 different styles. Why did you decide to do so many styles? What was your reasoning behind this?
Because we’re all shaped differently! And when you get down to three tiny bits of fabric and a string you suddenly get very specific about what you want. In our first season I realised that there were plenty of men into what I was doing, but not all of them fit the pattern. I decided we should make different cuts for different body types. Our customers are really responding to that, and it’s giving a lot of guys confidence because they know the cut is made for them.
On our phone conversation you mentioned that the Deetees do better in the States, why do you think it is more popular than your other styles?
No offence intended – but the beaches and pools in America that I have been to are a little more conservative than the beaches here in Australia. At least that’s my observation. The Classics and Racerbacks have a 5cm side, and that’s starting to get pretty thin for the States.
I think the DEETEES are a great cut for you guys because they aren’t making a big statement. They aren’t skimpy. There’s no bells and whistles. They are what they are. They have a 7cm side and nice coverage.
The DEETEES are made from super soft lycra. That means they feel incredible, but they also don’t hug you in too hard. Put simply – they leave a bit to the imagination. The sides are slightly wider. If you asked me what an entry level pair of Sluggers would be – I’d say the DEETEES.
I’m not sure of you know this, but DEETEES (or D.T.s) is a nickname Aussies and Brits have for swim briefs. It stands for Dick Togs.
I really LOVE the prints you do. How do you find such fun prints? I would dare to say this is the signature of your brand since you don’t have many solids. Would you agree?
I am a big fan of prints for swimwear. If you’re gonna let it all hang out you might as well have some fun. I love that we’ve become known for our prints. We put together the designs in house and then print everything locally. We buy a lot of art from places like Deviant Art and repurpose it for Sluggers. We’ve worked with some of our social media community as well. I love how you can take something that’s gender neutral or even feminine and play with the scale and colour to make it really masculine.
Our Pineapples, for example, are a watercolour design that sticks to different hues of blue. And the Bananas. They’re always a talking point!
Funny thing is though … I don’t really wear bright prints in daily life – just in shorts and Sluggers.
What has been your most popular print?
The most popular ones for us have been our Hokusurf print and the Pineapples. Although we added a print earlier this month that sold out in an hour, so I guess ADD ME is a big one as well. Blue is such an easy wear for guys of every skin tone, so they tend to buy those first.
You also mentioned that in Australia swim briefs are just what guys wear. You have come to the States a few times. What has been the reaction by American’s when you have worn them at beaches/pools/water parks?
I get looked at. The funniest part is when we’re at a resort and you walk up to the Pool bar and you’re almost naked compared to what other guys are wearing.
I do get a bit self conscious, but after a couple of Mai Tais I stop caring.
They really should serve those with breakfast.
We have the Swim Brief Challenge every year. In order to get more guys to wear swim briefs, regardless of age, body size, etc. What advice can you give guys to step out and try a swim brief?
Man up! haha. Seriously though – wear them for a few days and you stop caring. Body confidence for men really kicks in around the mid twenties and stays forever. That’s where our customer is. I don’t have a six pack. I don’t have big muscles. My nickname isn’t ‘Horse’. It’s not about that.
It’s about getting wet and drying off, throwing kids into the air as high as you can in the pool and having a laugh with your mates.
If you’re self conscious just wear them to the beach under your boardies and just wear them when you’re getting wet.
And if someone looks at you funny just smile at them.
In your trips to the States have you ever convinced guys to ditch the board shorts and put on the swim brief?
I don’t think so. If we get drinking with other families I might offer them a free pair. I tend to get lot of messages from Americans on my Instagram feed letting me know that they have started rocking Sluggers in their home town after seeing me in mine all Summer.
Lastly, do you have a favorite style or print in your current line up?
The Banana DEETEES have been my go-to over Summer. Those or the SKULLDUGGERS Classics. It depends on where I am. If I go to a water park with the kids I wear DEETEES. At the beach I am more likely to be wearing Classics.
Where can our readers buy your swim briefs? Or follow you online?
Thanks heaps for your interest in our little Aussie swimwear company. We really appreciate it.