UnderwearFanatic had a chance to sit down and chat with Marcus Roche who is one of today's most innovative designers of men's swimwear and underwear. As someone who didn't originally set out to become a clothing designer Marcus has become a unique name in the men's swimwear and underwear industry with his label Vizeau and his newest project SNMTEAM. We are excited to see what will be next for this multi-talented designer!
BradyUF - Hi Marcus, thanks so much for chatting with me. I love your designs and was wondering how long have you been designing?
Marcus - Professionally, since 1992. I signed up for a job as an illustrator in a swimwear manufacturing company in Miami and within two years I was Senior Apparel Development Manager. I learned every process in design, all the way to accounting (laughs)!
BradyUF - What do you enjoy the most about designing men's underwear and swimwear?
Marcus - Designing is as close as you can get to taking a concept in your head and making it a 3rd dimensional reality. Being a Creator. For swimwear and underwear, the challenges are met with pleasure, since I wear them myself. Fit, colour, comfort and (after the Metrosexual phenomenon) trendiness are all parts of the mix.
BradyUF - There are so many different trends out there now. What trends do you think will be popular this year?
Marcus - The current craze for graphic design and characters in both swimwear and underwear will continue for another year or so. It would have to peak quickly to move into a new trend. For once, I’ve seen a departure from the women’s collections and the male sportswear as cues to design.
I was talking to a close colleague about the big interest in soccer uniforms, after David Beckham moved to Los Angeles. Soccer apparel is a great source of graphic design ideas, which made me wonder about the sudden burst in colour and prints.
BradyUF - In swimwear what colors are "in" this season?
Marcus - Not so much solids by themselves, but combinations of yellows, blues, oranges, red and white. Primary and tertiary colours coexist successfully, too
BradyUF - What is your background in design?
Marcus - I didn’t study design. My first love was Forensic Medicine. I was deeply impressed by my father’s sketches when I was a child. He was an architect and a Hydraulics Engineer. The precision of his lines and the excellent use of colour and depth inspired a desire to enter Art schools, but I found them all rather stuffy and stuck to a scientific education, until I found my ability to manufacture and design products handy while going to College.
That first job at the swimwear manufacturing company seduced me into the clothing business. I aced the technical aspects of apparel production and also the marketing and financial sides of the business. I fell in love with it.
BradyUF - So what is your personal favorite design in your collection now?
Marcus - At the moment? Veneto for the front graphic interest and the stripes. I wore that last weekend to the beach and got kudos for it.
BradyUF - That has to be fun to see people react in a positive way to your design. Who would you say is your favorite designer?
Marcus - Kris Van Assche, who is replacing Hedi Slimane at Dior Homme.
BradyUF - I think it is amazing how designers come up with so many different ideas. What is it that inspires your designs?
Marcus - You’ll think it’s a touch mad, but the Sistine Chapel’s carefully covered nudes and the draping itself got me thinking of the engineering behind my invention, the Sliver suit: A one-leg thong. My inspirations are completely random.
BradyUF - You seem to have such a unique approach to men's underwear and swimwear. What concepts can we find in all of your designs?
Marcus - Shape and cut. Unapologetically sensual cutouts and colours that showcase the wearer’s assets. I’m onto revolutionizing design for men’s swimwear and underwear.
BradyUF - With your brand being so unique and different you must have a memorable moment or greatest achievement as a designer?
Marcus - It was a personal moment. A designer I admire tremendously got a swimsuit for his boyfriend. A bit surreal, but it made me smile all day long.
BradyUF - So what was it that got you started designing men's swimwear and underwear?
Marcus - After six years of designing women’s collections (more volume and ease of design), I took a break for a year and found myself revisiting the two largest needs in my life at one point: sex and new clothes. I started slowly, but I found so much freedom in working on a male figure and knowing the needs so much better than anyone else.
BradyUF - So when you are not making the world sexy, what are your interest outside of design?
Marcus - Music and video production. I am in a partnership with a fantastic sound engineer and musician who is showing me so much about audio and image. We launched an album late last year, "Polarised" and are thrilled to see it rise within the indie circles.
BradyUF - So do you think that more men in the US are coming around to the idea of wearing bikini and squarecut swimsuits out in public?
Marcus - Much more now than before. There’s a lot of underwear exposure in the media and an interest in Brazilian male and female supermodels, which has led to watching the apparel closely and wanting it as well.
BradyUF - What is it that excites you the most in the process of developing a new product?
Marcus - The certainty of the vision. When I merge the materials and colours, there is a cool moment of happiness in being sure of that moment and what I foresee within two or three collections after it. Evolution.
Marcus - Vizeau is launching boxer shorts in the trademark risqué way in which we approach design. Vizeau has also collaborated with Jeremy Williamson(JMIAH) whose accomplishments as a bodybuilder and fitness model, despite diabetes are really close to me. SNMTeam will be inspired by superheroes and yes, soccer this coming season.