At Orlebar Brown, life revolves around water. The British brand sailed into public consciousness with a tailored approach to swim shorts, but the company has grown to include much of what a stylish man (or boy) could need in the surf and sun. Which is exactly where founder Adam Brown prefers to be

It was on the beaches of Miami that Adam Brown first thought about creating fashionable swim shorts that could take a man from beach to bar. It was a few years later around a pool in Rajasthan in 2005 that he had the impetus to start the business. Swim shorts for men were either too tight or too baggy and never suitable for lunch or evening wear. In London in 2007, Adam launched Orlebar Brown: a business selling a selection of four quick drying shorts with the cut and finish of suit trousers. The male market dived right in.


“Those early years were fun,” says Adam, “It was just myself working, speaking to customers, asking for feedback. It was exciting to see it all forming,” Roll forward 11 years and Orlebar Brown currently has 25 stores, employs 130 people across the world and its products are stocked in over 250 retailers. With their distinctive colours, patterns, prints and styles, the swim shorts are still core in people’s perception of the brand, but the OB range now includes resort clothing, accessories and shoes. “Our T-shirts, polo and linen shirts now make up the vast majority of our sales, but everyone knows us for our swim shorts,” Adam explains.


Having spent his childhood in Hong Kong and frequently on his grandfather’s day boat, Adam is still drawn to water and warmth in his downtime. He can regularly be found surfing in North Cornwall, or hanging out in Mykonos, Ibiza or Southern France, and out of the office he’ll choose his shorts according to his locale: “I’m usually wearing the Setter or the Bulldog (the short and mid-length swim shorts in the range), and in a plain colour that reflects the energy of the place I’m in. If it’s Club 55 in St Tropez or Ibiza they’ll be bright, in Cornwall they’ll be navy blue.”


Orlebar Brown’s Setter swim shorts caught a wave of publicity when James Bond – played by Daniel Craig in 'Skyfall' – wore a sky blue pair, and one of the brand’s original four designs. Collaboration with the film franchise this year has resulted in a capsule collection that features OB’s best-selling Bulldog style adorned with retro Bond poster imagery. But for those who crave exclusivity, OB has pioneered the photographic swim short with a ‘Design Your Own’ service that uses any image, sketch or pattern to create a completely unique pair of shorts.

As Adam acknowledges, there are depths to this lifestyle brand that he hasn’t even explored yet, “We’ve barely started,” he says, “Even if you just take our core categories, we haven’t yet fulfilled our potential in terms of the number of people we hope to reach. There are also so many other product categories all of which are relevant to sunshine, travel, happiness and good times.”

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