Pala Meets

Pala Meets… Riz Smith
@ Riz Boardshorts

March 26, 2017

Pala is delighted to introduce Riz – a sustainable swimwear brand that is as spirited and unique as the people for whom their shorts are designed. Riz are addressing the environmental impact of the fashion industry by producing their own uniquely styled, sustainable swimming shorts. Each pair is crafted from Eco-Friendly 100% recycled and recyclable fabric.

Sustainability, Substance and Style are the three core principles that underlie their philosophy. We speak to Founder and Creative Director, Riz Smith about the inspiration behind his brand and what’s next on the horizon for Riz.

Where did the idea for Riz come from?

I used to work for large swimwear and surf brands, designing watershorts, swimwear and all that stuff. So I was used to researching the market. It was generally either young, adrenaline-fueled boardshorts in crazy prints, elasticated ‘dad’ style shorts, or short, shiny, camp swimshorts. The idea for Riz came from a need. I was disillusioned by the creativity of big brands, how they did business and saw a gap for something better.

What makes Riz different from other swim short brands kicking around out there?

That’s a good question. I think one key difference is that we only make swim shorts, so we can pour all our attention into getting every element right. Another is experience- I have been designing swimwear for 15 years and am obsessive about detail. So hopefully our level of design is different from other brands. Another important factor is we try to source as sustainably as possible and are very aware of our impact on the environment.

I think currently, we are the only swim short brand to make every pair from 100% recycled and recyclable fabric as well as offer a recycling scheme, where you can return you old shorts at the end of their life for a discount on a new pair. I think we are also the only brand to digitally print every pair – allowing way more colour and beauty, and it’s also more eco. In general, it’s our passion for combining style and sustainability that sets apart I hope. But of course, it’s a journey.

Riz isn’t just about the product, you work with a number of partners…can you tell us more about that?

It’s very important to us that everything we do is circular. Part of that is giving back to the environment. Our main business partner is the Marine Conservation Society, with £1 from the sale of very pair of shorts going directly to their amazing work. We also work with them on doing beach cleans. We are currently running a mission to create swimshorts made from plastic bottles collected off UK beaches and waterways which they are helping with. But we are also partnering with other small organisations such as Thames 21 and a whole list of individuals helping with this plastic journey. This is when the clichés come out, but it really is all about collaboration. Together we are stronger.

What are your plans as a brand for 2017, and in terms of the shorts, what can we expect to see on the beaches this summer?

We’ve just started wholesaling the brand properly for the first time and so part of our plan is to grow a strong distribution globally. This is a super exciting, as the shorts will give to be sold in the environments they were designed to be worn in.

With the regards to this summer’s shorts, expect to see more prints with endangered species, ocean florals and some of our classics too. We’re also launching a new short, a fourth member to the family. This will be our shortest short yet. A tailored retro swim short. So its’s legs out.

What events can people find you at this summer?

If anyone is in London, we’re going to be starting monthly beach cleans along the Thames which will be great to build a community around this. We’re also looking to get a Pop-up shop in London this summer fingers crossed. The best way to find out where we’ll be though is by subscribing to the Riz Newsletter (link) that goes out every other Sunday.

Riz, thanks for your answers. It looks like it’s going to be a busy time for you this summer. We’ve taken a peek at the Riz sustainable swim short collection and it looks fantastic. More than that, we love what you are doing as a business by putting sustainably right at the core of your brand ethos. Have a great summer!