Menswear Monday: Philip Huang x TIMO

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Philip Huang, the male model best known for fronting campaigns for Hugo Boss and Kenzo, always dreamed of trading his native Cleveland, Ohio for the swim and surf culture of the West Coast.

Upon obtaining a degree in Engineering from Drexel University, Huang parlayed his part-time job as an in-store model at Neiman Marcus into a career that has spanned a decade working for the likes of Dolce and Gabbana, Armani, and Zenga. However, he held onto his California dream.

Enter Philip Huang x TIMO, a capsule collection of swim trunks available exclusively on the shopping app du jour, Spring. The line (not affiliated with designer Timo Weiland) is in good company with the site’s other hip, of-the-moment brands, including Edie Parker, Todd Snyder, and Master Dynamic, among others.

In true top model fashion, Huang enlisted the help of his friends and fellow professionals for the Lords of Dogtown-inspired PH x TIMO campaign shot at Rockaway Beach: Ian Jones, the male model, and Bibi Cornejo Borthwick, a photographer and the daughter of Maria Cornejo and Mark Borthwick.

Of the campaign, Cornejo Borthwick shares, “I was so happy to collaborate with Philip. His and Ian’s energy was so organic, it made the shoot extremely natural, and I felt like I was just documenting two close friends at the beach for a day…I loved that about it.”

The swim shorts are subtly festive and discreetly luxurious enough for the most posh weekend pool party, yet casual enough for the gym or basketball court. (Editor’s note: the shorts also pair nicely with cable knit cashmere sweaters and Stubbs and Wootton slippers for running weekend errands around the city.) They also ship in a clinical-chic mini drawstring duffle bag and are finished with a red and white “rubber stamp” label inside the shorts, and antique brass engraved charms at the end of a bi-color striped drawstring.

DESIGNER: Philip Huang

BASED IN:  New York City and Thailand 

SIGNATURE: Two cuts: “Prep” and “Long Prep” in soft, brushed poly fibers that feel like silk cotton in optimistic shades—cobalt blue, canary yellow, noir, petal pink, and dove grey, their pockets reinforced with a tryptic of stitched bars in contrasting colors.

TRAVELING MAN: At one period, as a model, I was traveling so much and wanted to get the most of the situation because I knew it wouldn’t last forever. I challenged myself to keep moving forward with one-way tickets to new destinations between jobs. So I’d book a job, and fly somewhere, book another job, and then fly somewhere else, and so on. The journey lasted three years, and it’s how I discovered who I am.  It’s also how I met the love of my life, which eventually transitioned to us having kids.

FABRIC OF A MAN: There was a great need for me finding my identity, and life showed me that there was so much more. I grew up in a very small, sheltered community, and I pushed my culture away at a very young age, and never fully embraced who I really was. So now, whenever I travel, I understand how much culture and diversity there is, and I’m eager to be a part of it and engage with various communities, including my own.

DISCOVERIES: Traveling to South East Asia, I realized there are so many talented artisans with handmade products that are unexposed because they’re in remote villages, and don’t have access to platforms such as Spring, or traditional brick and mortar stores. I really want to expand on the opportunity to work with people who are devoted to great quality and craftsmanship.

COLLABORATION NATION: Pow, my business partner and the owner of TIMO, is a very interesting guy, really cool. We met while I was in Thailand and discovered these awesome shorts. At the time, he was producing a lot of prints and patterns, but I’m into a more simple, almost minimalist aesthetic. I found the one solid color style he offered, and thought we should collaborate. He’s big in South East Asia, but he doesn’t have a presence in the States, so he’s more on the production side of the collaboration, and I’m more design and marketing.

SECOND SKIN: I traveled with one pair of shorts for three years. I worked out, went scuba diving, practiced yoga, and even wore them to dinner with loafers and a panama hat. You really don’t need to wash them, I’d just jump in the water at the beach, and then they’d dry. [laughs] Of course, I had other clothes because I wasn’t always in warm locals, but when weather permitted, I only wore these shorts.

FOUND ART: With the shorts, as with my photography, I try to capture as much as I can, so that when I look at the images, I can revisit a specific moment and tap into the adventures I’ve taken.  It’s a good thing to reflect. I try to create, collect and recall as many memories in the shorts as possible…the memories of my endless summer.

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