The Story Behind Our
New River Collection
New River Collection
The Story Behind Our New River Collection
With spring temperatures warming up, we're all looking forward to spending time exploring the great outdoors. Our new River Collection takes our coastal-inspired apparel in an exciting new direction: it ventures to trails, mountains, and streams. These new technical pieces combine the utility details of outdoor gear with our signature sustainable fabrics.
Since it's the first collection of its kind for our brand, we decided to sit down with the Fair Harbor design team so they could explain the ideas behind three new styles and the process of creating the collection. Here, we chat with Design Director Walter Bassano, Technical Design Director Andrew Lee, and Senior Product Development Manager Erin Devine Natter for the details.
Where did the inspiration begin for the River Collection?
It began with the question we often ask: Where's your Fair Harbor? Not everyone can go to the beach. Only some people live on the coast. So I wanted to design something for people to get outside and enjoy the places they love. That's why I became the River Collection, because it may be a river or a lake. It could be your local park or anywhere outdoors.
For instance, I have a weekend place in Upstate New York, so this was very personal for me and really fun to work on because it's also very in line with my own style.
How did you decide on the colors?
They're earth inspired and natural, so I used traditional earth tones inspired by the forest, the rocks, and the ground. It's like you blend into your environment. You feel at one with nature, and natural tones are calming and comforting. Even the hombre plaid. It's softer than a regular plaid. You can see how it reflects the colors of the sky, with gradients of darker blue to white.
Now let's talk about the pieces within the collection. What was the process behind creating the River Short?
We wanted to work with our existing silhouette and liner for the body. But when we started doing these, we wanted to give a little bit more of a rugged feel, so we added the nylon belt with the buckle and this little D-ring here. That way, you can clip your knife, keys, flashlight, or whatever it is when you're hiking or out for the day. It's got a full elastic waist like many of our swim shorts, so they're comfortable with the security of the belt.
Other small details include a sportier zipper pull with a reverse-coil zipper that helps prevent snags. It's also just a little bit cleaner and more modern. You might notice the inner liner is slightly more of a compression fabric for extra support when you're moving around all day, but it's still silky and soft against your skin. The interior pocket keeps your valuables close to you, so they won't fall out or add any bulk to the exterior and keep your hands free.
As for performance: just like our swim trunks, the inside pockets are mesh, so water can drain from the pockets quickly. So you can get these wet if you wade through a river or jump in the pond. But they're classic-looking shorts, so you could use them for activities during the day and then wear them out to a casual dinner at night.
We started with the same base fabric as our Bungalow Trunk, but it's not washed, so the texture is slightly smoother. It still has the durable, quick dry properties as the Bungalow, which is part of our swimwear collection.
We went through three fit prototypes for the River Short until we settled on a 7-inch inseam. We also decided on a slightly more relaxed fit, thinking of the activities someone might do when they wear it. The Fair Harbor team all tried it on and walked around in it to test it and decided that it felt too short, so we added an inch to the initial inseam.We also opened up the fit of the leg a little bit with a gusset here in the inseam for freedom of movement. So there's more room to move around versus our regular tailored trunks. We wanted to ensure that when you're moving around it's not too tight or riding up when you're hiking or doing something active.
Tell us about the River Shirt.
I see it as a really functional lightweight layering piece you might wear alone or over a t-shirt. It features a lot of utility details, like hidden double snap pockets where you can put things in, and they'll stay secure and arm eyelets for ventilation. Since it has a convertible sleeve, you can wear it both ways – long or folded at the elbow. So if you get hot or want a little more sun on your arms, you could roll it up. But it's for people who want that little extra protection from the sun or the elements. You might start the hike with the sleeves down, and if you're out all day, you can roll them up.
We also added some interfacing in the collar so the color will keep the structure. It would be a great travel shirt because it doesn't wrinkle like crazy. Also, it's so lightweight that you could roll that up to probably the size of a matchbox.
It's not bulky or oversized like most technical shirts, so you can enjoy outdoor activities but still have the versatility to wear it for the rest of your day. Also, from the beginning, it was meant to have quick-dry fabric, so it would always feel comfortable even if you go fishing.
What’s special about the fabric?
It's a brand new fabric with moisture-wicking and UPF 50. We went through a couple of fabric options, but overall this one had the best hand feel, and it's made of recycled polyester rather than recycled nylon. Also, since this was intended to be an outdoor shirt, we wanted to make sure to include UPF in it. With this fabric, weave creates natural UPF 50 sun protection.
So many synthetics really don't feel nice against your skin. They can be thick or scratchy. This fabric will give you all the same performance but with that softness and comfort level that it seems like a regular shirt but with a lightweight, very soft feel.
Speaking of softness, the BreezeKnit™ Tee is a brand-new style based on our proprietary liner fabric. What inspired you to turn the material into a t-shirt?
The whole conversation started with our signature fabric and all the amazing properties people already love in our liner. It seemed like the perfect fabric for a performance shirt you'd wear to work or hang out in. We requested SPF 50 to ensure people could be protected if they wore it outside all day. It's soft, stretchy, and has quick-dry fabric with tiny perforations to help air flow, so it's incredibly comfortable.
I actually chose the heathered colors to mimic the softness of the material. It's an athletic performance t-shirt but it doesn't look super synthetic. You could wear it every day and wear it anywhere. It's just like the rest of the River Collection. They're functional, comfortable, high-performance pieces you can wear anywhere.