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Kanvas by Katin Kaper chambray trunks

August 30, 2011

My old swim trunks that I bought from Target 9 years ago finally wore out, so I needed to pick up some new ones. My aim, like all of this year’s purchases, was to find something produced in the US that was still relatively affordable. I had considered Birdwell Beach Britches, with their classic slim silhouettes, but no local retailers came up in a Google-search–note to manufacturers: always have a Where To Buy page on your website. Then I remembered another local company, Katin, had done a collaboration with Apolis. They had made some great trunks, especially the chambray, but at just over $100, it was more than I wanted to spend.

Katin, like Birdwell, is one of those classic surf brands that began in the late 50s/early 60s and is still around. Both companies still make their trunks domestically, are family owned, and have a lot of clean, classic looks. Katin is owned by the Hughes family, as the matriarch Sato Hughes was the original seamstress for the Katin family. When the childless Katin’s passed away in the early 80s, they willed the company to her. At 83, she still sews custom-made trunks.

So Googling “katin trunks” got a lot of online surf shops, but near the bottom of the page two names stuck out: Urban Outfitters and Lucky Brand. Apparently both companies had commissioned Katin to create some trunks for them, and all were on clearance!

Lucky Brand had a classic red board short and a blue chambray with an island girl print for $29.99, while Urban Outfitters had a chambray in two color combos. I headed over to the nearest Urban and the clearance rack had over 10 pairs in each color. I chose the grey chambray with orange and white stripes, even though the design of this blog might make you think I would have bought the blue with red and white stripes.

Beautiful hand-lettering of the logo

The cotton trunks are lined with a contrast quick-drying poly

The Kanvas label on the single patch pocket with a velcro closure and interior elastic key loop

But my favorite part of the trunks was the price tag:

This model of trunks is called the Kaper (hence the insane alliteration of the post title) and I saw the same chambray model with tone-on-tone stripes at City Sports for just under $30.

So there’s some great deals out there for some classic American-made swim trunks.

The Apolis/Katin story featuring Sato and a look at the factory:

  1. the passenger permalink
    September 2, 2011 9:22 am

    I like the idea of these, but I’m incredibly fussy and can’t stand any sort of color blocking or striping. I wish the red ones at Lucky didn’t have that leg stripe.

    • September 2, 2011 12:13 pm

      I believe if you go to the Katin website, they have solid color trunks, though I don’t think they are on sale.

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