Brothers Raan and Shea Parton grew up in Santa Barbara, where surfwear is serious business. They spent a lot of time in technical trunks, but were careful not to wear their baggy beach gear in the bars lest they be roundly mocked. Now that they're professional designers – the duo owns the socially conscious menswear brand Apolis – they decided they needed to create something worthy of both the beach and beach bars.
"If you think back to the sixties and seventies, lifeguards and watermen didn't have shorts for each activity, surfing, diving, swimming, hanging out," said Raan Parton, who steers the design side of the business. "They had one universal pair. That's the idea." Made in a factory near Huntington Beach that has produced California lifeguard uniforms for decades, Apolis's Chambray Swim Trunks are designed to be worn on and off duty.
Shea Parton says that changing into activity-specific trunks can be impractical. Constructed from a combination of nylon and cotton chambray, Apolis's feel like swim trunks without looking like them.
"It's not like we're competing with the action sports market," says Shea Parton. "These are for that casual guy who just wants one."
Evidently, there's a market for that. Last year, J. Crew tapped Apolis to sell its chambray swim trunks in its retail stores. The collaboration was short lived: They sold out. Now, the Partons are offering the shorts for sale through their own site so buyers who missed the boat last year can grab a pair. They're available in light-and-dark blue multi-stripe and royal blue single stripe. [From $98; apolis.com]