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Interviews

Johan Ringdal (Swims)

April 24, 2013

If you think that galoshes (also known as overshoes), are old fashion or just out-of time think again. Lately thanks to Swims multicolored galoshes are back in fashion and walk again on the streets of the big cities.

The galoshes have a long history dating from the Middle Ages. Their name came from the from the Gaulish shoe or gallicae. This shoe had a upper part made of leather and a sole carved of wood. This wood sole remained unchanged until Charles Goodyear invented the vulcanized rubber and so 10 years before the begining of the XX century the first modern galoshes emerged on the market. Although very popular in the Victorian Era and even during WW2, the galoshe imagine was associated with old age and traditionally outfits. This perception lasted until recently when a Scandinavian company called Swims create a new range of overshoes in a modern approach.Swims_logo-mail .
Swims aren’t the only company on the market, but what makes them quite different is the their strong identity products. Previously galoshes were simply black or brown. Now overshoes have vivid colors,  the Swims orange galoshes are a must have item  for a fashionable Gentleman.
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The previously long-buried trend of galoshes has even returned to the fashion houses. Due to Swims new products Prada and Armani launched overshoes inspired by the design of this forgotten item. The Gentleman behind Swims success is Norway-born Johan Ringdal  founder and creative director of Swims.  Mr. Ringdal  introduced the brand in 2006 after graduating from Parson’s School of Design in New York.
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Swims are present in fashionable stores all over the world, so we can say it is a business success. Why did you bet on galoshes when everybody though it was a story of the past? 

I was a student attending Parson’s in New York when I came up with the idea of re-designing the overshoe. I was wearing my grandfather’s old galoshes – and wanted to make this very practical item modern again! So after graduating, the first SWIMS product was born: the SWIMS Classic overshoe.

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Where do you find inspiration for design? 

Most people viewed the galosh as an odd and old fashioned product, something their grandfathers would wear back in the days! But I firmly believed that by making the design more modern and elegant, adding colors and a sense of ”fun” to the product, the galosh would become modern again. I have always been inspired by the traditional combined with functionality.

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What are three things that make Swims unique on the market?

Well, there were no upmarket overshoes on the market before SWIMS Classic was launched. This has resulted in collaborations with one of the world best boot makers, John Lobb, and we have also made a custom made galosh for Armani. One of our biggest successes, in addition to the SWIMS Classic overshoe, is our loafer.The loafer is classic in its design, but its composition is new. Our loafer is made of rubber and nylon, making it the perfect shoe to wear on a boat or by the sea.

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I think SWIMS is unique because we are re-inventing classics , we have functional, yet stylish products and we last but not least we add color and fun to our products.

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How many product ranges are available and who is the target customer? 

We have overshoes, winter boots, summer shoes, outerwear and an accessories line. Our target customer is conservative, yet playful – likes to explore the world and is well-travelled. He or she values quality.

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For the overshoes, we have the SWIMS Classic Premium and the SWIMS Classic Royal – overshoes with exclusive details. We have even developed an overshoe for the sneaker freaks – The SWIMS City Duck.

 Future plans?

In terms of future plans, we are growing fast and developing lots of new stuff, so wait and see.

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