Boto Swimwear by Michael McFadden, Founder and Creative Director.
What is the story behind your brand and how would you describe it? Over the past 20 years, the world of men’s fashion has changed enormously. In the past, in order to have a trendy style, men had to buy high-end brands. Now, large department stores offer trendy styles and European cuts at affordable prices. However, this change has not happened in the men’s swimwear industry. Until recently, men had to choose between oversized swimsuits and brief-style models. The Boto brand was born out of the desire to offer fashionable swimwear with fitted silhouettes at affordable prices. Boto shorts are designed to fit perfectly into the wardrobe of modern Quebec customers. Our swimsuits have a style that is both modern and classic and can therefore be worn for many years.
What is your creative process? I create the styles and then work with a team of Montreal designers to bring them to life. We find our inspiration around us and create bathing suits that are stylish and comfortable for swimming. We incorporate tropical designs such as palm trees, sharks and flamingos. We also have line or tile microprints, equally beautiful, without reference to the water or the beach. We stay on top of the latest trends in colours and prints. Our inspiration comes from everywhere: from interior design to cars to nature and wildlife.
What has inspired your latest collection? At Boto, we are passionate about protecting the environment. We are a member of the 1% for the Planet movement and we work in partnership with Plastic Oceans Canada. We draw our inspiration from a time when life was simpler, things went slower and humanity had less impact on the environment. The collection we are currently developing features the blue whale as a symbol of the ocean; the collection will also feature bright colours, pinks and turquoises, to inspire inject for the future.
What is your signature piece? Boto’s signature piece is the Aruba style short. It’s a fitted model, with a snap button closure and inner drawstring. It is available in two lengths: 8.5″, which comes just below the knees, and 6.5″, which comes at mid-thigh, for a more fashionable style. The bathing trunks are available in several sizes, with a one-inch difference in size, so that everyone can find the perfect fit. This model was the first one we created, and it remains our best seller.
Who is the Boto Swimwear man? The Boto man lives his life wholly. He quenches his thirst for adventure by exploring exotic places, from lonely beaches to action-packed cities. Whether he’s on vacation abroad or at his cottage in Quebec, he loves life and his style shows it. Boto’s slogan, ‘Bold Moves’, reflects the style of the modern Quebec man, who exudes relaxed confidence.
How are you coping with COVID? We are aware of the seriousness of the current situation with COVID-19 and we encourage all members of our team to stay safe and sound, with their families, at home. We have shut down most of our operations to avoid using resources needed for essential services. Our sales partners have taken the same approach, and the entire industry is on standby until the situation improves. We are always ready to help and have donated swim trunks to Quebec health care personnel.
On a different note… which book is on your nightstand at the moment? “The Responsible Company” by Yvon Chouinard, founder of the Patagonia Company, and Vincent Stanley. We are inspired by Mr. Chouinard’s work in our efforts to protect the oceans.
Which song are you listening to over and over? “Say Hey I Love You” by Michael Franti.
Which television series are you binge-watching? “Fleabag”, a British comedy. We could all use a little humour these days.
What is your favourite recipe of the moment? Asian stir-fry. It’s great to taste the aromas of Asia while staying at home.
Which movie inspires you? Midnight in Paris directed by Woody Allen. This movie has it all: magic, travel and adventure.