A former banker at Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, who worked in London and Madrid for nearly a decade, has embarked on a mission to raise standards in luxury swim shorts right from the heart of Punta del Este in south-eastern Uruguay on the Atlantic coast. The goal is to tap a share of a booming swimwear market.
Christine Serhal, ex Goldman Sachs associate in EM Fixed Income, has partnered in her new business venture, Marané, with Alessandro Aquilina, a long-time family friend. Aquilina, who has worked in mezzanine finance, holds a Masters from Imperial College in Management with a focus on finance and entrepreneurship.
Since they began developing the concept behind Marané two years ago, Serhal and Aquilina acknowledge the significant uptake in new brands specializing in swimwear, as well as established brands now focused on this market.
However, they still saw the space to do something different. “The shift to a more tailored and fitted cut is apparent across menswear,” says Serhal. “What we wanted to do was retain the comfort and familiarity of an elasticated waistband whilst achieving the look of a fitted, and thus more flattering, short.”
They accomplished this by innovating with a bonded seam technology. The seams of the signature Marané swim short, the Manantiales, are fused using sophisticated pressure-bonding technology. This helps the short sit flat, so avoiding the perennial balloon effect and creating a clean and elegant outline. In addition to sourcing the best fabrics on the market, the duo utilized the services of a London tailor for the initial Manantiales designs.
The evolution and growth of the swimwear market has been nothing short of explosive and is being driven today in large measure by male customers and the luxury brands that now serve them. While the number of players in this dynamic and booming space has increased over recent years, men themselves have become savvier, are now less conservative and taking a greater interest in their appearance.
Set against this the global menswear market is growing and the wider fashion industry views menswear as a bright spot amid slowing growth and rising uncertainty. According to research by market research firm Euromonitor International, the global market for men’s designer apparel is projected to reach nearly $33 billion (bn) in 2020, up around 14% from $29bn last year. Men’s shorts have further been ranked as the second fastest growing category in menswear according to Euromonitor.
The growth in swimwear brands and options available has also made men take a real and serious interest in the cut, fit and style of these garments. It could be described as a renaissance for the men’s swimsuit market compared to a few years ago when it was a case of selecting a baggy boards short or mankini to head to the Beach or poolside.
With the choice facing men having widened considerably for swimwear and swim shorts, high-fashion labels are also seeking a slice of this new boom where margins are high. What males now seek is a far more tailored, sleek and stylish swim short with various bespoke touches (e.g. Manantiales’ cord ends are made of Zamac, a zinc and aluminium alloy, and engraved with the Marané logo). They are also more aware of the differences in the cuts and fits offered on the market.
Whether worn in the water or when walking through the wilderness, Marané is characterised by an uncompromising attention to detail.
Their signature products are designed in Punta Del Este, Uruguay and manufactured in Portugal, using innovative bonding technology and the highest quality materials from around the world. The fabric they use is sourced from Belgium, a 100% polyester with exceptional quick drying properties and a brushed finish that feels reminiscent of luxurious vintage cotton that is machine washable.
“We don’t believe in fast fashion,” asserts Serhal. “We are committed to quality and craftsmanship and everything we do is to the highest standard.” The upshot is the creation of Manantiales, a luxury swim short that is comfortable and has an easy and understated tailored elegance.
For their Horizon Collection, the signature Marané swim short has been created from a series of special edition prints, hand-painted by local artist Claudio Pincas and inspired by the skies over the Atlantic Ocean.
Aquilina, who was raised in Sao Paulo before moving to New York aged ten, commenting says: “We created the Manantiales for the man who values classic and understated style, for someone who relishes the feeling of diving into the ocean.”
The swim shorts are available online at www.marane.uy , as well as being sold exclusively in Europe at AP&Co in Zurich or at Marané’s store in Manantiales, Punta del Este, which was built by local sculptor Pablo Pi in collaboration by local architect Andres Villalba and designer Maria Gutierrez. The store was designed to create a contemporary structure that blends in with the natural environment and is open to artists and the local community.
Marane Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marane.uy/