At My Desk: Onia Co-Founder Nathan Romano Loves Candy, Hates Paper

Sharon Feiereisen

AMD-Cover_Nathan-RomanoYou can tell a lot about a person by snooping through their desk: Are they the tchotchke type, or the gold-plated staples type? Do they scribble their thoughts in a Moleskine notebook, or Postalco?
In a city notorious for its tight quarters, luxury men’s swimwear brand’s Onia’s expansive sun-drenched Bryant Park offices are a sigh of relief. We stopped by the ever-growing brand’s headquarters, spread across two floors, to check out co-founder Nathan Romano’s paper-free desk.
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1. Carrying Case. “This bag is great,” exclaims Romano. “It’s part of a collection we’re launching for Spring 2014. All the pieces are made from an extremely durable nylon. It’s water resistant and meant to be used as a masculine beach bag. I love that it has a number of convenient slots including one for your towel and another for your swimsuit.”
2. Candy. “I always need candy on my desk.”
3. Moleskin Notebooks. “I usually have a moleskin notebook [with me] when I’m walking around so that I can jot down cool ideas and inspiration. Each season I have a new color.”
4. Computer. “I love my Mac,” says Romano. “I’m very anti-paper. I like to be green and prefer everything to be digital, so I make a point of having as little paper as possible on my desk.”
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5. Liquor. “On a good day my co-founder Carl and I have Bourbon…on a bad day…we have water. “
6. Swim Trunks. “These swim trunks are made using a poly-nylon gingham fabric from Barcelona that dries extremely quickly,” explained Romano. “We also have coordinating towels made from the same quick-drying fabric on one side and 100 percent lightweight terry on the other side—they’re perfect because you can dry off using one side and then lounge using the other. “
7. Coffee Table Books. “Our [target] guy may not necessarily be a surfer, but we find these books very inspiring as far as colors and shapes,” shared Romano. “The Miami Deco book is also a go-to for inspiration. Our Summer 2013 collection was actually inspired by the beaches of Miami and we’re constantly drawn to the city’s architecture and colors.”
8. Line Sheets. “Each season we put together a line sheet detailing fabric and fit information as well as our retail price points,” says Romano. “These are our line sheets for Spring 2014. I’m most excited for the wide array of new gingham colorways we have coming out and we’re introducing an Italian heather gray stretch fabric—you can see one of the samples on my desk. It functions as a swim trunk, but it’s reminiscent of what a normal walking short looks like. The crossover between the two makes it a quintessential Onia piece.”
9. Shoe Prototype. “We’re re-launching shoes for Spring 2014,” Romano shared. “They’re made using leftover swim fabric that would have otherwise been thrown out and the bottoms are made using a rubber sole, similar to a flip-flop. The shoes are as eco-friendly as they are functional—you can wear them from the beach, straight to dinner.”
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