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Get to know Johan Ringdal Founder & Creative Director with SWIMS Q: What inspired you to build the first SWIMS galoshes? A: My grandfather’s overshoes – he was a real old school gentleman. Yet, it wasn’t until I moved to Paris and New York City that I saw so many people wearing beautifully crafted shoes in the rainy and dirty streets. Q: Where did the name come from? A: I came up with the SWIMS on a rainy day in New York. I wrote it on a window and quickly found you can read the name upside down and from right to left. SWIMS is a fun and easy word with references to water. I wanted to offer people an option to wear their favorite leather shoes, regardless of the weather, by simply slipping on a pair of SWIMS galoshes. Q: How would you describe the overall style of the SWIMS brand? A: SWIMS has been referred to as preppy and fun, which I guess is right, but I see it as functional and innovative. We look to evergreen styles and shapes and transform them into something completely new with added functionality. We use a lot of special types of rubber, some of which almost feel like cashmere, and this has become a part of our identity. Q: Over the years SWIMS has collaborated with a number of high-end brands and designers. Who influenced you the most? A: Hermès’ John Lobb showed us a craftsmanship and attention to detail that we are forever grateful for and respect. Most of our products are made from several different molds and the parts are assembled together in the end. The knowhow of engineering perfect molds has become a key success factor. Q: Which shoe would you recommend everyone purchase from the new collection? Our Sport Loafer is a wonderful shoe that is lightweight, highly functional and versatile — a hybrid between a boat shoe and a loafer. Q: As an entrepreneur, what advice propelled you to where you are today? A: My motto has always been to love and believe in what you do. You also need to have common sense and stamina. Q: Other than SWIMS shoes, what fashion pieces do you feel everybody should own? A: White shirts, navy blazers, brown brogues, black oxfords, blue jeans and simple white sneakers. However, the most important thing is to feel good. Style is a personal thing. Q: What’s your personal style? A: I’m very easygoing and don’t like looking too formal. A comfortable look is what I end up with. My sense of style comes from my travels, and I am always inspired by the fashion I find. Q: What do you do when you want to relax? A: You’ll find me in the Alps, hiking or skiing. Q: What is your favorite thing about living in Oslo? A: Being close to nature. In Norway we’ve got the sea and we’re close to the mountains. Q: What lesson was hardest for you to learn? A: There is more to life than business. 42 july/august 2013 southfloridaluxuryguide.com


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