Founder of Icelantic Skis, Ben Anderson, along with designer and artist, Carly Jo Hougen, launched the latest line of their swimwear collection called MTN Swim this week. The launch event at the Icelantic store located in Golden displayed a line of artwork by Hougen called “Euphoria” that inspired the designs and prints found on the pieces of the swimwear line. The collection features both men’s and women’s swimwear, in addition to a few non-swim pieces like women’s tunics, men’s button-up shirts and even microfiber towels.
At the event, Anderson discussed the five pillars his newest swim line was built on — durability, versatility, sustainability, USA made and originality. Creating pieces that would last long, that you could do anything in, that are environmentally friendly and that showcase original artwork to tell a story were musts for Anderson when creating the collection. While being well known for creating ski equipment and ski apparel, Anderson and his team wanted to delve into the summer side of sports, but not just the ocean and surf aspect. He notes that while many active swimwear brands cater towards those living on the coasts, many customers don’t, and it’s important to cater to those living in mountain regions as well. So, while this collection is perfect for the everyday surfer and ocean-goer, it’s also great for mountain activities near water too.
Anderson also mentioned that the team is now partnering with Colorado Water Trust, where Icelantic will be donating 5% of all sales to their cause to keep rivers flowing. Having a brand that is committed to utilizing environmentally-friendly fabrics, while also being made in the United States, makes MTN Swim not only good for the customer but for the planet too. We had the chance to speak with Anderson after the event to talk more about his inspiration and vision behind MTN Swim.
303 Magazine: Tell us about the pieces that are included in this year’s collection?
Ben Anderson: The main goal was to develop a line of swimwear and some complimentary pieces that would really excel in the mountains. So, a little bit of insulation for more warmth, durability for when you’re being active. We want to have a product that lasts the test of time and will last for multiple years. So when developing the line, we wanted to keep it pretty simple and start small and continue to grow. From then, we focused more on a traditional swim trunk, with a four-way stretch and a durable fabric that you could really be active in. I’m really excited about the “Adventure Short,” it’s the all in one, everyday mountain adventure short. You can mountain bike in them, swim in them, really anything.
The “Adventure Short” is made out of recycled fishnet and all the women’s pieces, as well as the men’s board short, is all recycled poly, so all recycled bottles. Really everything we’re offering in the line is recycled fabric and the streetwear items are made from organic fabrics.
303: What inspired you to create this swim collection through Icelantic Skis?
BA: I think the first thing is just seeing how art has just been such a big part of our brand. When we were looking at integrating into this new category, we wanted to make art a key side of it, and taking original artwork and integrating it into the pieces. I saw some of Carly’s work and thought it would be a good representation of motion and flow. It shows the dynamic flow and real water feel. We’re utilizing these water-type pieces, so we wanted it to be a colder feel, so nothing really tropical. So, we used darker tones to represent the actual color palette of water.
Also, we really utilized one of Carly’s abstract pieces. We painted a literal mountainscape for one of the prints to really showcase mountains and tell the story of MTN swim.
303: Being a visionary behind this swim line, what was most important for you to see and create in this collection? What was your goal?
BA: I think the number one thing was really creating a collection that truly related and resonated with Icelantic as a brand. When we were building it we didn’t want to steer far away from what we had already created on the ski side. We wanted to build these concepts on the same ones we had built the ski line out of, so durability, quality and looking at those basic pillars to tell that same story we’ve told over the years, but just relaying it on another product to really create a line that stays true to our core values as a business and brand, while being able to relate it to a new opportunity. We just wanted to continue to build off our “return to nature” idea. It’s a great opportunity to help our customer return to nature in the summertime.
303: What can we expect fashion-wise from the company in the future? Will there be more swim collections?
BA: Overall, we definitely committed to this MTN swim collection and we really want to make it a pillar of the brand. We really want to focus on skis in the winter and swim in the summer. For the future, we want to create more offerings and stay committed to MTN swim. In the summer we’ll have another line but we want to keep the swim line relevant in the winter too, so we want to create a limited hot tub collection in the winter and have people use our product during that season too.
Icelantic Skis is located on 1300 Washington Ave, Golden.
All photography by Brandon Johnson.