17 Easy Pieces

How Many Steps Does It Take To Make A Pair Of Orlebar Browns?

Orlebar Brown’s trunks… pre-12 step program.

Launched in 2007, Orlebar Brown crafts some of the best swim trunks to land on the market since Sean Connery took his turn as James Bond. The company is well known for its trim, tailored, above-the-knee fits which helped usher in a new era in men’s swim shorts (a welcome change from the baggy, calf-drooping boardies of the 90s and early 00s). But since you’re here, reading this, we can only assume you’re already well versed. But did you ever wonder why they fit so well? The thing is, unlike a traditional pair of swimming trunks, Orlebar Brown’s are made up of 17 individual pieces, just like a classic pair of tailored trousers. In fact, OBs are made in exactly the same way as your favorite pair of pants, only these ones are better in the water. After all, as the company declares, it’s not just a swim short, but the “short you can swim in.”

There are 12 production stages in each pair of shorts: individual panels are overlocked before constuction begins; back darts are stitched into the back panels; the back pockets are put through an automated machine OB developed to ensure consistent quality; the curved waistband is stitched together featuring six individual pieces (normal trouser waistbands are usually cut from a single straight piece); zips are inserted by hand; the waistband snaps — featuring four components, each of which are applied by hand — are put in; the name tag is sewn in using concealed stitching; the side adjusters, which are made of a compound metal resistant to chlorine and salt water, are put in; there’s a final QC inspection, then the shorts are folded in tissue, placed in a waterproof drawstring bag, and that’s that.

Suffice to say it’s an involved process, but such is the detail put in to craft one of the best-fitting swim shorts on the market. Add to that accolade the vibrant colors and patterns present in every pair, and it’s no surprise that OBs are at the top of the summer wishlist of every Gilt MAN staffer in the office.

Shop Orlebar Brown on Gilt >

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