Don’t Throw In the Towel!

209 Mare (, a line of unique luxury beachwear for men and women based in Monte Carlo, is the brainchild of Gabriel Uribe, Director of Operations, and his brother Federico, Creative Director. The brothers were on a mission to change the way people see beachwear by “thinking outside the box” (the company’s tag line is, “Breaking The Rules In Style”) and their focus has been on functionality, luxury, and uniqueness.

209 Mare Brando Towel Tuxedo Jacket is made of cashmere soft bamboo towel material

The collection has been available for sale for a little under two years now and in that time they have sold to every continent and more than 70 countries (at the moment everything is available online and at exclusive beach clubs on the French Riviera). And what perfect timing I might add, since the spring 2019 runways were all about beaches and island vacations. But beachwear is hardly a passing fad, especially if it’s done well. Let’s face it, even if you are not going on vacation or planning to be near water any time soon, it’s always summer somewhere in the world. And what’s wrong with keeping that beach feeling going year round?

209 Mare Founder and Director of Operations Gabriel Uribe with his signature packaging
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

As it turns out, Gabriel, and I both graduated from The George Washington University’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. He received his B.A. in International Affairs in 2016. I received my B.A. in liberal arts. I won’t tell you what year but no, I did not know George personally! I learned about the company and Uribe through the tri-annual GW Magazine. Given the school’s location in our nation’s capital, and its proximity to the White House, there is an obvious connection with politics and government and notwithstanding some very fashionable alums (you can’t get more fashionable than Jacqueline Kennedy), it is rare that I find a fashion related article. So I took notice when I saw a picture of an attractive young man wearing a natty black tuxedo jacket and swim shorts. I continued to read with interest the accompanying profile, “Coat d’Azure”.

209 Mare is based in Monte Carlo

The Uribe brothers took one of fashion’s most enduring items, the formal jacket, and re imaged it as a towel (the last time I found a chic terry cloth blazer, it was vintage Pucci and covered with a psychedelic pattern). Gabriel wore the prototype during the Monaco Grand Prix in 2016 and it garnered so much interest, they launched 209 Mare one year later. FYI, the numbers 209 are of major significance to the Uribe brothers. It was on 9/20/2015, that Federico had a life changing experience, miraculously escaping a near catastrophic accident with nothing more than a few minor injuries.

Gabriel and Federico are tireless perfectionists who use only the finest materials, which they source themselves (the family is in the textile business so this comes to them naturally). They employ the best and newest technologies (everything is Oeko-Tex Standard 100® certified – the highest level certification for environmentally friendly fabrics worldwide), and they pride themselves on delivering outstanding personalized customer service. Even their packaging and presentation is exceptional.

209 Mare Towel Tuxedo Jacket for men and women

The jacket pictured in the article, their limited edition “Brando” Towel Tuxedo in black ($498), is available for both men and women in a variety of sizes and colors and is beach and pool ready. Made entirely of plush cashmere like Italian bamboo terry, it has a naturally antibacterial lining with breathable properties, mother of pearl buttons on the cuffs which roll up, and a shawl lapel made of velvet which withstands water, so that if someone just happens to get thrown in the pool, they don’t have to worry. It’s also completely machine washable.

209 Mare Mamba printed swim shorts

Also included in the line are men’s swim shorts and swim trunks tailored like Bermuda shorts, both with a modern slim fit ($195 – $246) and available in solids and prints. Their 2018 “Africa x 3-Dimension” prints collection featured a unique process with designs hand drawn by an artist before being digitalized and printed onto the geometric patterns.

“We are very happy and proud of our growth so far, but we know we still have a long way to go”, Gabriel told me over coffee in New York where he keeps an apartment on the Upper East Side. They have big plans for expansion (including accessories), but are going about it in a way that is slow, steady, and wisely methodical, keeping their focus on menswear right now. Gabriel sees his biggest competitor as Orlebar Brown, the British luxury swimwear company that was recently purchased by Chanel. Their SS19 collection will be revealed in April and in March they will start presenting their Spring Summer 2020 collection at trade fairs.

One well known, high profile customer is 70 year-old real estate developer Mohamed Hadid, Gigi’s dad. In fact, he is such a huge fan, he has indicated his interest in collaborating with them on a collection in the future.

– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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