Q&A: BJ Hepworth
Having spotted a niche for distinctive swim shorts in the menswear industry, brothers BJ and Matt Hepworth set about creating a beachwear label offering accessible luxury. Now in its second year, Bowler & Beach will make its trade debut at Moda Gent, offering a distinctive twist on a summer essential. BJ Hepworth reveals more.
What’s the story behind Bowler & Beach?
My brother Matt and I came up with the idea to create and launch a beachwear brand in September 2014 at a beach club in Ibiza. We were on holiday and musing over business ideas when it struck us that there was a real lack of choice for high quality but affordable and distinctive swim shorts - something that was very apparent in this club. We felt limited to either high street brands that didn't fit well and were uninspiring, or very expensive swim shorts with nothing that bridged the divide, so set about producing a range of swim shorts in eye-catching designs with high quality materials and trims. You could say inspiration for the brand ran all the way back to when we used to spend summers on the sun-drenched beaches of the Algarve as children.
What’s the brand all about?
Bowler & Beach is an affordable, luxury beachwear brand combining British style with Portuguese flair. Our men’s and children’s swim shorts are inspired by the vibrant colours of summer on the beach, and our stylish, high quality collections incorporate distinctive prints and unique Bowler & Beach signature design details.
Our aim for Bowler & Beach is simple; to create a beachwear brand that evokes the spirit of having fun, sharing the sun with friends and family. Whether partying at a sun-drenched beach club, relaxing by a pool, or embracing a beautiful beach, Bowler & Beach swim shorts encompass the carefree spirit of living for the moment and collecting countless memories along the way.
What are you hoping to achieve at Moda Gent?
Now in our second year with an expanded product range spanning a number of collections, we are looking to increase our presence across the UK and expand our wholesale channel. We work closely with a mentor who has extensive experience in the fashion industry and, together with our conversations with other growing, ambitious brands, we feel that Moda offers a great opportunity to meet with buyers and contacts with a view to growing Bowler & Beach throughout 2018 and beyond.
Who are you looking to bring on board at the show?
We are hoping to meet a range of retailers, from smaller fashion boutiques through to large department stores and established online platforms.
What sort of presence do you already have across the UK?
We sell online through Wolf & Badger, as well through some smaller, niche online platforms such as Handpicked by Kate, Concept Store Y, The Independents Club and soon to be Bombinate, as well as our own website. We sell through a selected number of fashion boutiques across the UK including Collier Bristow on the Kings Road in London, Robinsons of Bawtry, Purple Menswear and Harrisons. We also have an international presence, with an exclusive range being sold in the Pine Cliffs Luxury Resort Hotel in the Algarve, as well as Hanway in Singapore.
Why should menswear buyers discover the Bowler & Beach label?
We are an exciting, evolving British beachwear brand with products that are made with high quality materials and trims and incorporate distinctive designs and signature details, while being affordable and accessible. Evoking the spirit of having fun and sharing the sun with friends and family, we have proved we can be successful on a small scale - such as selling out on the Kings Road within four weeks during the winter season - and we are looking for buyers to join us on our exciting journey to create an international beachwear brand.
Find out more about Bowler & Beach ahead of its arrival at Moda Gent here.