Looking for Canadian-made men’s luxury swimwear? Copper Bottom takes a thoughtful, sophisticated approach to men’s swimwear, making its swim trunks and briefs ethically in Slovenia, with a commitment to reducing its impact on the environment. We chatted with founder Mercedes Prevost to learn more. —Vita Daily
Hi Mercedes! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
I’m a first-time founder and Toronto transplant with an insatiable wanderlust. Over the last 10 years, I’ve lived in eight cities across five countries and three continents. Most recently, I spent 12 months living in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where the Copper Bottom brand came to life. Unlike many fashion founders, I don’t have a design background or experience in retail and merchandising—I’ve actually spent my career in management consulting and real estate technology. Outside of work, I’m a budding real estate investor and love exploring local and international wine regions. My partner and I spend a lot of time in Prince Edward County, one of Canada’s more recently established wine-growing regions.
What got you into designing men’s luxury swimwear?
Copper Bottom was born out of a deep love of the water and was inspired by my grandfather, George, who taught me what real luxury looks like. Grandpa’s approach to fashion was to invest in quality, take care of his things and repair as needed. The pieces he owned were well-made classics and were kept for many years. This philosophy is what underpins our approach creating swimsuits today. Men’s swimwear has been an afterthought for far too long. Men have settled for unflattering styles, uncomfortable mesh, bad prints, slow-drying fabrics and trunks that fall apart within their first season. As someone who loves the water and spends a lot of time in swimsuits, I wanted to create men’s bathing suits that would feel great to wear and to own.
What makes Copper Bottom different from other men’s swim brands/products?
I believe our manifesto is our moat. We don’t simply sell swimwear. We sell the feeling of sophistication that’s often missing when men put on a pair of shorts or swim briefs. We sell the pride that comes with wearing something that not only fits you perfectly, but that’s created sustainably and made to keep. When someone buys Copper Bottom, they are buying a membership to a community of men who understand, appreciate and reward themselves with today’s definition of luxury—luxury with purpose. Copper Bottom looks at masculinity differently than other men’s swimwear brands. We reject "bro" culture and don’t believe that men need to look or act like James Bond to achieve great style. We believe that by designing luxury swimwear that’s both timeless and contemporary, we speak to and inspire a growing new generation of cultured, intelligent and sophisticated men.
Tell us about your philosophies around ethical manufacturing and sustainable design/fashion.
Copper Bottom is rooted in our thoughtful approach to men’s swimwear—“thoughtfully designed, thoughtfully manufactured, thoughtfully distributed.” Careful consideration is paid to how our swimsuits are designed, produced and delivered in order to reduce impact on the people and planet touched by our business. Exceptional manufacturing partners and materials are the cornerstones of our brand. Our materials are sourced from France, Spain and Italy, which not only provides us access to the finest quality, but also enables us to reduce our environmental footprint by sourcing locally in Central and Western Europe, in close proximity to our production in Slovenia. Our partner provides fair wages and a safe working environment for all employees—an element that was critical for us. Additionally, our talented production partner was sought out for their exceptional reputation and expertise in technical fabrics, enabling us to truly create a product made to keep. Sustainability goes far beyond the manufacturing process to the longevity of the product. We encourage our customers to invest in pieces made to last; to own less but the best. Our swim brief is made from ECONYL regenerated nylon, a sustainable fabric made entirely from pre- and post-consumer waste including recovered fishing nets and discarded carpet. We continue to seek out new and innovative sustainable fabrics to add to our growing collection.
What does Copper Bottom mean?
Back in the 1800s the term Copper Bottom was used to describe the copper plates that protected the hull of a ship. It was such a remarkable innovation that today, over 200 years later, the term symbolizes trust, strength and reliability. When something is Copper Bottom, it’s tried and true. It’s built with quality and made to last. It’s an investment for those sophisticated enough to know that luxury with purpose is luxury that lasts forever.
If you were stuck on a desert island with your fave guy, what trunks would you want him to be wearing?!
Our Eric Trunk in Rust Bamboo ($210) is my personal favourite. Our trunks were designed in more tailored style than men’s swimwear typically is—the 5-inch inseam is incredibly flattering. This was also the very first colour I was drawn to when I picked up the Pantone guide. It’s extremely striking and unlike any swimsuit I’ve seen before. Fun fact: the Eric Trunk was named after my fav guy and partner, who has supported Copper Bottom from day 1, graciously taking on roles like fit model, impromptu photographer and sourcing companion.