Of Sea, Salt & Style…
Mocha Salt is a name steadily garnering a cult following of the metrosexual millennials; a cohort of the modernist who seeks style and perfection. The brand started with the intention to push the boundaries of men’s swimwear a little further by infusing traditional tailoring with advancements in textiles and construction techniques. Launched in 2014 and made proudly in Australia, Mocha Salt combines rhetorical European aesthetics with outdoorsy Australian lifestyle.
After two successful local seasons across Australia, and myriad loyal followers in Europe and the US, Sydney-based premium casual wear label MOCHA SALT has launched their SS17 ‘Supernormal’ collection of tailored swim shorts and high-quality menswear basics.
Rik van Donk the man behind the brand has lived near the ocean most of his life and has a deep-rooted love of the beach, which is also reflected in the brand’s name Mocha Salt; a reference to Mocha Dick, the white whale that inspired the story of Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
We talked to Rik about Mocha Salt, the idea, the story and the need for the brand…
Tell us about yourself and how did you come up with the idea of Mocha Salt?
My background is in Industrial Design. The idea came from a desire to fill the void between briefs on the one extreme and board shorts on the other; to create a more sartorial take on men’s swim shorts, by applying advanced technical fabrics and performance innovations to traditional tailoring and craftsmanship. Men are becoming more aware of how they dress and that it matters; there’s an increased confidence which leads to more experimenting, and that carries all the way through to swimwear.
The name ‘Mocha Salt’ sounds very germane to the whole concept, does it mean anything special?
It comes from the book Moby Dick, the story of the obsessive quest of captain Ahab and his pursuit of an elusive white whale. Sometimes we feel like that.
Did you feel that there was a need for a men’s swimwear in the market?
We thought we could add some subtlety as well as some innovations to it. Our love for the beach means we spend a lot of time there, which in turn has created a profound knowledge of what works and what doesn’t, and that experience shapes the design through to the details. For instance, we have a pouch-like lining instead of a full internal lining; it gives support where it’s needed and doesn’t give that uncomfortable chafing & wedging that you get from the full lining. Our pockets have lining as well so they won’t balloon with air in the water or fill up with sand. Our fabric is the quickest drying we’ve ever come across, and we use zippers with molded nylon teeth, as they are more durable and less prone to puller damage from grit and sand than a standard coil zipper.
We carry an understated aesthetic through all parts of the design process and every element of the product and brand.
We see that the brand has a substantial cult following what makes you different from the rest of the brands in the market?
We care. Obviously about the quality of the products and the craftsmanship involved, but also about the customer, their experience with the brand and our responsibility towards them. Underlying the style and design, the carefree label, is a solid commitment to our customers, to make sure the experience people have with our label is always a positive one. We take care of our customers.
How has the response been in Dubai and how do you see the GCC market?
Overwhelmingly positive. Customers, media and retail have been great, and the biggest compliment is when people keep coming back to the brand. With our focus on summer wear, i.e. creating innovative, wearable pieces of high quality that keep you cool when it gets hot, we see a natural fit with the Middle East; it’s a hot climate, and customers here understand and value quality and style. So there’s a strong natural connection between our label and the Middle East, and making our products more easily available to customers here, to service them better, feels like a sensible thing to do.
Do you have any plans to launch female swimwear line?
For the moment we’re exploring menswear, and we see exciting and interesting things ahead.
For more info please visit; www.mochasalt.com