While Melbourne might not be as synonymous with the beach as our northern neighbours there’s no doubt we still maintain a close relationship with water. Franks is a Melbourne based men’s swimwear label made for guys who love the water but won’t necessarily be jumping on a board any time soon.

Their colourful collection of well-designed shorts provides a much-needed alternative to shapeless surf bum boardies and revealing Euro shorts that dominate the market. Tim Garbis, Creative Director/ Head Designer, was born here in Melbourne and grew up loving the beach and loving the water. About four years ago he noticed there was a gap in the market for men’s swimwear.

“I found that most men’s swimwear was designed by surfwear brands for surfers,” Garbis says. “There’s a presumption that all Australian men surf when in fact they are actually the minority.”

He set about creating a range of men’s swimwear that embodied the Australian beach lifestyle but took on a unique design aesthetic. Garbis is quick to assure us that Franks is not anti- surfing, in fact lots of surfers wear Franks because they’re practical and stylish.

As a brand Franks offers a point of difference to other Australian surf wear, maintaining a close relationship with artists and preferring prints developed in an art room than on a computer. Garbis says they intentionally swing away from overly produced prints towards more organic, natural patterns.

The summer 2011 collection released in Australia this week features 24 original prints ranging from florals to skulls and everything in between.

For the moment they only do swimwear, following the ethos of doing one thing and doing it well, but plans to expand the brand into street wear and accessories are on the horizon.

Franks is now stocked in over 15 countries around the world as well as David Jones and Fat here in Melbourne.