Plain Tiger Spotlight: Granadilla Swim

For the love of the Mother City 

By Renee Fortune

If you’ve ever visited Clifton beach in Cape Town, South Africa, you’ll know that Mother CIty beach culture is undeniably unique. On Clifton, you’ll find everything you could ask for in a world-class beach destination: white sand, blue surf, friendly people and a view that’s straight out of a coffee table book. But apart from the conventional, you’ll encounter some aspects of beach culture that are unique to Cape Town, the most ubiquitous of which are the local ice-cream sellers. 

You’re most likely to hear them before you see them. And Capetonians have become well acquainted with their famous one liners: “a lolly to make you jolly,” and “jive to stay alive.” These ice-cream sellers are not only brilliant at what they do, but they’re an integral part of the city’s vibrant culture. These ‘entrepreneur extraordinaires’, were the inspiration behind Granadilla Swim – a South African beachwear brand that was founded in 2014 by two best friends. 

The brand gets its name from the ‘Granadilla lolly’ – a passionfruit-flavoured ice-lolly that’s become a South African household favourite. A motif inspired by this iconic treat was the first print produced by the brand and a few years after the brand was founded, it’s become a trademark and a classic. 

As operations manager, Jodi Walker explains, “Granadilla Swim is a brand that captures the feeling of being on a summer holiday. It’s about joy, bliss and simply having fun. Our founders were inspired by the smiles of Clifton beach-goers and their interactions with the ice-cream sellers who have become such an important part of Cape Town’s cultural tapestry.”

Granadilla Swim is exactly that - pure, unadulterated fun. But it’s a brand that’s also just as functional. Their swim shorts are luxuriously soft and are machine washable up to 30 degrees Celsius. They’re also a manifestation of the brand’s uncompromising stance on quality. 
These are the kind of swim shorts people will start to associate with you, because they will last and they’ll look good doing it. Not that you won’t be tempted to get a few. They’re all so wonderfully unique. In the range, you’ll find the classic must-have with its recognisable print, but there’s also a pair of swim shorts featuring a paisley-esque tiled design overlaid with orange koi fish. And for the graphically inclined, there’s the Brain Coral swim shorts with its swirling, doodled print inspired by the texture and aesthetic of coral.

Over the years, Granadilla Swim has iterated its approach to manufacturing to incorporate sustainability-driven values. The collection you’ll find on Plain Tiger is made from 100% recycled ocean fishing nets and plastic. What’s great about this revolutionary textile is that it dries 50% faster than conventional swim short fabric and is luxuriously soft to the touch. In this way, by turning “trash into treasure,” Granadilla Swim is doing its bit to promote slow fashion and a conscious approach to shopping for beachwear essentials that you’ll want to take with you on every adventure. 

You’re bound to see these beachwear creations on social media, because as Jodi explains, “the brand has implemented a unique approach to marketing and building its community using user-generated content. We collaborate, not only with each other and the design community but also with the people who wear our swimwear. This collaborative approach has set Granadilla Swim apart in the market and is one of the ways in which we continue to foster a community of consumers who value uniqueness and the kind of fashion that’s not afraid to have fun - and lots of it.”

This “zest for life,” is what all Granadilla Swim’s customers have in common. It’s a brand for people who love life and aren’t afraid to show it. In a very tangible sense, Granada Swim is a brand that captures the energy and passion of South Africans, who are known for their love of the wild outdoors. 

Granadilla Swim is a brand that’s gone far and still has far to go. But it’s never forgotten where it came from, and more specifically, the humans that inspired it. Staying true to their love of local culture, the team gives back by offering a “hand up” rather than a “hand out” to Clifton’s community of ice-cream sellers. They do this through a lift scheme created in partnership with one of the sellers who owns a van and can transport up to eight people to the beach every day. Granadilla Swim gave his van some TLC and facilitated a lift scheme that costs a group of ice-cream sellers a fraction of what they were previously spending on traveling to Clifton. 

This brand’s story is a remarkable representation of the ingenuity and determination of the humans of Cape Town. 

It’s a brand for these humans. And it’s a brand for the humans of the world.