“It all began with my grandfather’s galoshes”, says Johan Ringdal, who founded SWIMS – a weatherproof line of shoes, activewear and accessories in 2005. “I was fascinated by the sight of him in his suit and galoshes during the Norwegian winters, so eventually I borrowed them while I studied at Parsons, first in Paris and later in New York.”
Ten years, two successful collaborations (one with Armani, the other with John Lobb) and over 800 points-of-sale later, SWIMS has rapidly emerged as an authority in stylized weatherproof gear. “In order to stay true to our concept, I worked to develop a summer shoe based on a real classic, using innovative materials. Our loafers are constructed using rubber and nylon, perfect for on a boat or being by the sea.” Aesthetically, Ringdal describes his brand as preppy but functional – a fusion of directional Scandinavian design with an ever-cheerful pop of color. “I’m constantly inspired by my travels, talking to people and having those new experiences,” said the entrepreneur, who is currently developing a line of rubber boots and water-resistant loafers to withstand harsh winter conditions. But it was Ringdal’s primary objective in developing SWIMS that resonated most, if only because we can all relate: “I just wanted to keep my Chucks clean and dry”, said the designer. And now we can.