When you have the initials of someone like Adam Selman, the branding puns are almost limitless when you add a second S at the end. This has especially come in handy over the last two years since he pivoted his label away from the runway and into athletic-wear, which now goes by the moniker Adam Selman Sport (cheeky "A.S.S." logos feature prominently throughout).
After cleverly adding Adam Selman Sleep a few months ago, he's now expanding into swimwear with Adam Selman Swim, and it has all the sexy elements you associate with the designer's provocative style. Between the high-cut legs and barely-there G-string bikinis (there's a reason Tom Ford for Gucci is still resonating), daring cut-outs and custom embellishments, the collection is equal parts playful and elevated just in time for summer.
Though he's dabbled in swimwear a few times before through his custom work and eponymous ready-to-wear label, Adam Selman Swim marks his first official foray into a collection for the pool, beach and beyond. There's also accessories like a beach towel with the designer's signature leopard print and a matching beach tote included in the offering. (Future launches will include cover-ups, more accessories and men's swim.)
"Like most of my collections, the swim line is designed to stand out," he says. "We produce in small quantities to make sure it's not over-saturated, so everyone who buys a piece feels they have something special. I am hoping to see looks all over the place. Not just at the pool or beach, but in the streets and at parties as well. Clothing doesn't have rules or restrictions in my mind."
Below, PAPER caught up with Selman to discuss his first swimwear range and how the last two years have been since pivoting his brand altogether.
How long have you been wanting to do swimwear?
if you go back to my first ready-to-wear collection in 2014, I included swim in it, I just didn't really know the way the buyers work and there's a different swim buyer than there is a ready-to-wear buyer so people were confused at first. So I stopped doing swim originally, but I really wanted to make Adam Selman into a swim brand. And then I just focused on ready-to-wear obviously. And whenever I started Adam Selman Sport, in it I knew I wanted to do Adam Selman Swim as well. So I brainstormed a lot of S words and Swim was at the very top. [Laughs]
How cool is it that you can basically have your pick with any S word?
I got jokes, Mario. I got lots of jokes. That's the fun part. There's an ass for everybody,
Why was the timing right now?
It was always my intention to do it in 2021, whenever I sort of laid out my calendar plan. It was in 2021. So we started working on the last year actually, it was nice, because the pandemic gave me a little bit extra time to digest it and think about it, and then what sort of perfect to because then I knew people would be coming out hard for a hot girl summer, so I just sort of leaned into that as well. Ass girl summer.
I mean, it's just on brand for you. What else is there to say. How would you describe the vibes for Swim?
If there's something like a touch of sport, always for me, it's definitely sexy stuff, it's definitely playful. And it's unapologetic too. I feel like I'm trying to do something that's not out there in the market. So I want to hit something that's truly unique and special. And you know, if you put your dollars there, you're going to be the only girl at the pool wearing it, which is my biggest thing.
What voids did you see in the swimwear market overall?
So the first thing that I noticed was that there were no G-strings anywhere. There were lots of thongs. And what I'm finding out is that G-strings versus thongs is a big jump for people. So that was actually the first thing that I designed. I knew I wanted to do a G-string and knew I wanted it to be super simple and very, very tiny. And then with the other pieces, I knew I wanted to use some sport elements into it. So all the names are named after beach titles, or Synchronized, so they have sport references to them as well. And then I wanted to tie back into sports. So you can actually mix them in with Adam Selman Sport because a lot of them are made with similar fabrics. And it's more of a lifestyle, so you can wear the leggings with a bikini top, transition and from day to night, and then that way a girl can incorporate it into [her] wardrobe as well.
You pivoted to sportswear in 2019. What have you learned about yourself as a designer the last two years since making the leap away from ready-to-wear?
I felt like for years, when I was doing my ready-to-wear brand, I was trying to make other people happy. And I was trying to play the fashion game. And I've got lost in that rat race. And then I took a step back and realized that the people that I really admire and respect always do their own thing, they're always on their own path and chart their own territory. So I was like, fuck it. I'm sort of sick of the fashion calendar, I'm sick of the fashion rigmarole and having to kiss the ring in every corner. And I just wanted to do something truly on my own. So I started Adam Selman Sport. Which is interesting, because before the pandemic, it gave me a full year to really hone in on what was working, what wasn't working, and then the pandemic hit, and that's what people were wearing. And so the business did really, really well and we were able to pivot ahead of time, ahead of that fashion calendar, where I felt like people were trying to scramble to catch up, we were already there. And that was really exciting. I feel liberated in the process because I was able to do something on my own and not have to go the path that before I was expected to go, if that makes sense.
Do you have any general thoughts about the fashion industry now? Since the landscape has shifted in so many ways from when you first started.
There's actually a lot that I like right now. I feel like people are actually having a lot of creative fun, I think you're able to find things probably because of social media. And the way industry is sort of broken up, people are able to find their own tribe for lack of a better word. And what they're looking for and the people that want to surround themselves with and how they think about clothes. Some people think of clothes as just the look. Some people think about clothes as a social movement. Some people want to buy into eco-sustaining brands. So I think there's like a lot of different options right now which is exciting for the industry. And I think [the] people that aren't as nimble are having a harder time with that, but the people that are nimble sort of roll with the punches and listen to what the customer wants. It's a really exciting time, I think, personally. I mean, it's also an exhausting time because it's just everyone is all over the place. That's what I mean about charting your own path and doing your own thing as opposed to trying to kiss the ring because, if you're always chasing that ring you're going to lose yourself with that.
Photos courtesy of Adam Selman
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