While the weather this year has us all sorts of confused, there’s no denying that bikini season is right around the corner.
And because we’ve been cooped up from the cold for all these months, we’re more excited than ever to throw on a cute little number and hop into the ocean or spend some time poolside. But before we hunt down the hottest pool party, we need to find the perfect suit!
We chatted up Indigo Swimwear founder Philippa Brenninkmeyer, who gave us the lowdown on her skin-baring, eco-friendly swimsuits, how to feel confident in swimwear, and the dos and don’ts of selecting a bathing suit.
Sweety High: How did the decision to become a swimsuit designer come to be? And why eco-friendly?
Philippa Brenninkmeyer: I grew up in a family that was in the retail industry, so clothing has always been something I’ve been interested in. As I began to travel and explore the world, I realized the ocean is the place I want to be, and soon my closet consisted of more swimwear than anything else.
I always knew I wanted to start my own business, and it all fell into place. While living in Byron Bay, Australia, in 2017, I learned about eco-friendly living and sustainability, and I read up more on the huge concern of our oceans becoming more waste than sea life. I thought if I could somehow reduce the waste in the oceans while creating fun, flirty swimwear, then why wouldn’t I do that? I could save the ocean—the place I love the most—while creating something that I love, which is just what I did.
SH: What’s the inspiration for your cuts and designs?
PB: The inspiration behind my cuts and designs comes from various places and people. I always take in everything around me when I’m out and about, and traveling, too. I like to look at what people are wearing, colors around me, vibes, auras, what feels positive and what I am attracted to. At the moment, for example, girls are loving the cheeky cut and higher-waisted bottoms, so I’ve definitely incorporated that and put emphasis on showing off your body and feeling comfortable with flattering yet revealing styles.
I also just love trying new things for each collection. Spring 2019 was more of simple, solid colors, ribbed fabric, and a clean-cut collection, whereas for summer, I’m going for the bright, frilly, flirty, girly-girl, yet [skin-baring]. I think it’s super important to just go with the flow with the things that inspire me at the moment, and create swimwear that I love instead of following specific trends and trying to copy other brands. At the end of the day, the styles other brands create have already been done, so who wants those again?
SH: What’s the hardest thing about starting a swimsuit line? And an eco-friendly one, specifically?
PB: The hardest thing about starting a swimwear line is finding your customer. Learning about the girls who make up the #indigobabe. It’s super important for me to understand and speak to my customers to find out what they’re attracted to and why. We’re a young company and are working to get the word out about who are and what we’re trying to achieve. While it’s difficult, we are taking it day by day and growing at a steady pace. We’re sure that the good we’re doing and creating will spread and pay off as our Indigo babes continue to grow with us, and trust our brand, quality and fit.
The main difficulty about starting an eco-friendly line are the limited resources. There are simply not as many fabrics, accessories or ways of manufacturing and packaging just yet, so we have to go slower than other companies. We just don’t have the variety that other brands have.
SH: What’s the key to feeling confident in a swimsuit?
PB: It’s simple: A swimsuit has to be form-fitting and comfortable, yet [make someone feel attractive]. That is why all of our swimwear has a seamless stitch allowing for a comfortable fit—no digging in those problem zones. On top of that, we double-line all our swimwear for a nice form-fitting and flattering look. The [attractive] factor comes from our styles.
SH: What are your dos and don’ts of selecting a swimsuit?
PB: The dos and don’ts of selecting a swimsuit are pretty simple. Don’t think that you have to look like the model in the photo to wear the swimsuit, because that’s not true. The model in the photo is simply a guide for the fit—as in how wide the bottoms on the [buttocks] are, how much coverage is there, how high does this or that sit, what is the closure on the back like, and so forth. It’s not meant to seem like, I have to look like her to wear it.
Do order a swimsuit in your true size and don’t try to size down to make yourself feel better, because then it simply won’t fit right. Be you and stay true to yourself, because you’ll love our seamless and flattering fit, no matter what size you are. We do always recommend our customers reach out with any questions if they’re unsure of fit or sizing. We’re always here to help!
SH: What’s your personal favorite of all your designs and why?
PB: My personal favorite is a design coming out in our Summer 2019 collection, called The Floral Reef, which launches May 4. It’s a frilly, flirty bikini and one-piece. I love it because we’ve never done anything fun and girly like this before, so I am really excited about the bright colors, the fit and frills.
PB: I think it’s a preference thing. Some people feel more comfortable in a one-piece vs. a bikini. Personally, I prefer bikinis, but I do wear one-pieces every now and then. I actually think they can double as cute bodysuits for the right occasion. No matter what your preference is, the key is finding a suit that fits right and flatters you.
SH: Your suits are for the girl who…
PB: The girl who loves the ocean, loves the outdoors, traveling and taking those tropical feel-good photos. The girl who is confident in who she is, exudes positivity and radiates good vibes.
SH: Your suits are not for the girl who…
PB: Is trying to cover up. We want you to show off your swimwear and your beautiful body!
SH: Is there anyone you looked up to for inspiration in your design process? Any swimsuit lines you admire in particular?
PB: As I mentioned earlier, I do not look at other swimwear brands for inspiration as I believe in creating swimwear that’s original to our brand and staying true to myself. I definitely do look up to brands (such as Vitamin A), that are doing the same as we are, as far as sustainability goes. I love reading about their mission, story and how they’re achieving their goals, but we do not look to copy any brands’ swimwear styles.
PB: My beauty routine is pretty boring, as I am not one for much makeup. On a day-to-day basis, I only wear mascara, and that’s from The Honest Company, as I like to keep my makeup clean. If I go to an event or out for dinner and do wear more makeup, it’s all products from The Honest Company.
My daily skincare is always a light cream from Pacifica, which is also vegan, clean and cruelty-free. At night I switch between different night care products from various oils to creams and serums, but again, I try to keep it all perfume free and use only clean ingredients—anything to keep my skin hydrated, clear and glowing.
SH: Is there anything else you want to add?
PB: I just want to add that I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to spread the word about Indigo, what we stand for and what we’re trying to achieve. I hope that all our Indigo babes love their swimwear and acknowledge the good they’re contributing to by purchasing an Indigo swimsuit! It’s an amazing feeling for me to create swimwear out of old ocean waste and turn it into something new, and I hope Indigo customers are as excited about this brand and this change in our fashion industry as I am!
Still on the hunt for more swimwear? HERE are the cutest swimsuits for girls with bigger busts!