From leave-to-no-imagination banana hammocks to $200 tailored shorts, swim suits for guys have come a long way over the past decade. Enter Paste, a graphic-driven lifestyle company that happens to strike that perfect middle ground by offering some of the most eye-catching prints this season while taking itself not too seriously at an affordable price point.
“I definitely have a sense of whimsy in my design. I like to have fun, even make it funny sometimes. You probably see that more in my tees, but I like to mix that with a clean aesthetic and a clean cut and a nice tailored pant for swim,” says Jason Laurits, founder of the nine-year-old, New York-based brand that also produces everything stateside. (Swim, for example, is produced in Manhattan’s Garment District while signature silkscreened tees are made in Brooklyn and graphics and wallpaper executed in upstate New York.)
Not one to gloss over details, Laurits, who sees himself as a graphic artist first and foremost, spent a great deal of time learning how to develop and place patterns to create what is now his signature symmetrical prints, or graphics that mirror each other on each leg, such as this season’s irresistible ’50s postcard look and retro French prints. For the more classic guy, there are solid shorts too and this year Laurits introduced a shorter leg in five happy-inducing bright colors. All are made from a fine nylon that allows Laurits to create the perfect drape and a more tailored cut.
“You don’t want to go too whimsical, too kooky, but I always felt with swim that it’s the one thing guys let go a little bit,” says Laurits of the more colorful, varied swim options today for guys. That said, Paste is quietly expanding beyond swimwear. Forthcoming projects include lo-ball glasses to an exclusive line of canvas bags rocking Paste’s witty graphics inside. Laurits even has collaborations with Four Hands, a furniture store out of Texas, and the stationer Papyrus. Says Laurits: “Being a graphic artist, I don’t see graphic as something trendy.” Neither do we.