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It’s true.  Up until now, successful board short brands have either erred on the side of the traditional (think faded navy Ralph Laurens) or the extremely loud and incredibly over the top (Mambos).

Nicklas Abrahamsson, the ‘Nik’ in Swedish swimwear line Nikben, couldn’t understand it.

“I kept on asking myself why nobody was doing high quality, fun prints with a twist, but still keeping a classic touch.”

And so it began.

Nik, a banking exec who was born in Stockholm and raised 30 metres from the beach in Marbella, Spain, called on a friend, Benjamin Lega - a Central St Martins-trained design whizz who had been working in the advertising world for eight years, to see if he wanted to start something.

“I needed to do this venture together with someone who would cover up for my weaknesses.  I contacted Benjamin who I knew was a creative genius.  The rest is history.”

Launching in 2013, their company, Nikben, champions traditional swimming trunks but lets them make a statement.  This season the twist comes via a candy pink popsicle, donut and cheeky camel print, and past collections have featured everything from fried eggs to Warhol-style bananas.


Popsicle Board Shorts

As Nik points out, board shorts are perhaps the only garment in which one can truly express themselves without being seen as completely over the top.   Designed by Ben in Sweden, printed on extra soft polyester and finished with a velcro-fastening back pocket, these are shorts that can transition from beach to bar without zero eyebrows raised. Which is exactly how Nik likes it.

Casablanca Board Shorts

While Stockholm isn’t the first city that springs to mind for a swimwear brand’s HQ, it has the highest number of entrepreneurs per capita in the world.  Daniel Wellington, Our Legacy and Acne all call Stockholm home. 

And it’s probably no coincidence that a sense of joy and confidence pervades all three brands.

“In this media heavy world we live in today, where we get bombarded with thousands of impressions every day that we don’t even want, we wanted to surprise our customer with something nice.  Something smart.  Something happy.  Something they can share with their friends,” explains Nik. 

And that’s exactly what they’ve done.

An edit of Nikben’s newest range is available now.