For the gentlemen who will be making your way to the beach this winter, be sure to put? Onia swim trunks at the top of your packing list. With a combination of uncompromising craftmanship (we’re talking custom made hardware), a minimalist aesthetic, and the finest internationally sourced fabrics, Onia products bring a fresh perspective to men’s swim wear that is stylish and uber-wearable. ? Check out our chat with Onia founder and designer Carl Cunow on his design background, what makes his trunks the best in the market, and his plans for expanding the Onia collection in 2012. ?
How did you get started in fashion??
I grew up on New York City?€™s Upper West Side –not exactly the beach culture capital of the world! While getting my undergraduate degree in finance at Baruch College, I started working at? Steven Alan. It?€™s there that I kind of fell into design, immersed in a fashion industry environment at a young age. I was so drawn to production that I balanced a full time job with a full course load. Eventually, the idea for? Onia? emerged and that?€™s when I struck out on my own.
How is Onia different than your run of the mill swim trunk?
Onia came from my own frustrating experience? trying to find swimwear that was both functional and well-designed. The choices available in the market simply weren?€™t appealing or they literally fell apart. In creating Onia products we use unique fabrics, sourced from all over the world (Italy, Spain, England, etc.), to provide colors and patterns that are stylish but never garish. And all our hardware is custom made to endure a pounding in the surf.
Who is the Onia guy??
The Onia guy values quality design but doesn?€™t obsess about his appearance. He wants to look put together wherever he is, even if that?€™s on the beach or by the pool. He exudes low-key confidence and has a wide range of interests. I think our blog?€™s content really speaks to who the Onia guy is.
Is there an Onia girl?
Yes, there will be one! I still need to define her but she is coming soon. Possibly Spring ?€™13. More details to come at a later date?€¦
What made you pick men’s swim wear to be your core focus?
I essentially ?€?married into?€? the beachwear business. I started traveling with my now-wife on family trips (Miami, Myrtle Beach, etc.) where they have beach accessory stores.
Sorry ladies, this cutie designer is taken. Ok back to it.?
It was in packing for these trips that I recognized a huge void in the luxury market. And in launching a business I wanted to focus on one product and get it right before branching out. Only recently have we begun to add new products for the Onia man to complete his surfside experience: the perfect beach blanket, an alternative to the omnipresent flip-flop, the ideal tote bag ?€“ which I?€™ve personally road tested extensively and can attest ably holds a 12-pack of beer (and enough ice to keep it cold).
More products? Insert excited fashion shriek!?
You’re super meticulous about design details in Onia products. Where does that trait come from?
I finally found an appropriate outlet for my ADD: production! I am borderline obsessed with quality?€¦maybe less borderline and more flat out obsessed?€¦and I hope that comes through in the quality of each and every pair of Onia trunks.
It sure does! All the way down to your perfect choice of swim models…
You’re super young to have such a big brand. What are some of the biggest influences you’ve had in your career?
Steven Alan has been a? huge? influence on my career. He really gave me the education that I needed to go out on my own. He?€™s been a big supporter, ordering Onia every season for his stores. I also greatly respect Andrew Rosen of Theory for the business he?€™s built over time. Both have honed a specific, though different, recognizable aesthetic that is well-designed but accessible.
And now for a little more about the designer & founder himself…?
What is your personal style like? What are some of your favorite brands?
I tend to dress fairly casually, dressing down but keeping my look clean and simple. I have a lot of friends in the industry and I often wear their brands, including NSF, Rag +Bone, Steven Alan and Vince.
What are your favorite hobbies? What do you do in your spare time?
You mean what do I do when I?€™m not obsessing over Onia quality? Well, I like to run, listening to playlists of old and new music (from classic hip-hop like Digible Planets to emerging artists such as Jamie XX). And even though I travel abroad extensively for work, I do love to travel for pleasure. Particularly to a beach location, naturally, and even more so if there?€™s scuba diving involved.
What are your New Year’s Resolutions?
My New Year?€™s resolution is to try and work less when I can. I tend to work both nights and weekends, and I want to start cutting it out. I?€™m sure my wife will appreciate that.
Now that we’ve checked out the product and gotten to know Carl, when it comes to men’s trunks by Onia, we’re hooked. ? For more information on their swim wear check out their website and Tweet them @oniany