Every year that we go to Miami Swim Week we discover new and upcoming swimwear designers that we love, a definite stand out this year was Formes Swimwear, not just based off their super chic designs but their brand philosophy and goal to create a swimwear range based on cup and bust size for girls from a C- E cup.
Having a larger chest can be a blessing and a curse, especially when it comes to swimwear. I’m constantly on the hunt for tops that are chic and supportive options as I know how many of our followers look to me for this. Every girl with a large chest knows the usual downside of a day at the beach, a bikini digging into your neck that constantly needs readjustment so whenever I find a brand that focuses on supportive and stylish swim I am excited to share it with you guys.
Owner and designer of Formes Swimwear, Rachel Wirkus, best known for her celebrity styling, is the perfect poster girl for us ladies that struggle with a larger chest, being an E cup herself.
Rachel saw a gap in the market that needed to be filled. She combined her love of fashion and style with that need to create Formes Swimwear.
The stunning first collection will make any girl look like she is straight out of a Bond movie. Wirkus has kept the collection timeless yet fashion forward with all black designs, detailed with gun metal grey buckles. The quality is what stood out to me immediately, I knew I would feel comfortable wearing her designs on the beach.
To know more about the brand and Rachel, as a new an upcoming swimwear designer, we sat down with her a few days after swim week to talk about everything from her inspirations to the ups and downs of creating a new brand.
Read the whole interview below.
Tweet us your thoughts @ABikiniADay and make sure to check out @FormesSwimwear on Instagram! X
Designer, Rachel Wirkus Interview
Where are you from, did you grow up in a place where swimwear is a large part of your lifestyle?
I’m from San Diego, so I basically grew up on the beach! Being in a swimsuit was standard attire for me. Not only in the summer, all year round!
How long ago did you think of creating the swimwear line. What was your exact moment of inspiration?
This idea came about 10 years ago. I would go into bikini shops, fall in love with a whole bunch of things and then I would get to the dressing room and nothing would fit my bust line. Speaking to women around me, I realized that I wasn’t the only one with this problem. My sisters, my mom, many of my friends said the same: nothing fits properly! The swimwear that does support a fuller chest is not fashionable – bathing suits either provide too much coverage or the prints and material are not on trend.
Life got in the way of starting this sooner, but I mustered the courage and resources to start this line two years ago. It has been a long and arduous process of research and development to get the fit and support where it needs to be, but I’m happy that we didn’t rush and got it right!
What was your first step and to whom did you look to for advice?
My first step was deciding on what I wanted it to look like and how I wanted it to fit. I studied fashion design, so I had an extensive experience on sketching up the designs and knowing how it should be constructed. I wanted the tops to provide support, yet be sexy and fashionable. I wanted the bottoms to lay flat and not dig into you to create more bulge but take away the bulge and enhance you curves.
My stepdad and his family owned their own activewear line back in the 90’s. It was one of the first, before Lululemon and designer brands started doing this. My aunt was the head designer for the line. I think I have always looked to both of them as mentors. They continue to give me the best advice.
I can remember when I was 10 years old, someone asked me what I wanted to do when I was older and I said I wanted to go to college and study fashion design. Years later I did just that. Instead of jumping into design right out of college, I decided to start with wardrobe styling, which gave me a better sense of what real women are missing. I kept thinking about starting my own line, and swimwear was what I naturally gravitated towards.
What brands inspired you?
I would say that Balmain, Dolce & Gabbana and Givenchy inspire me the most on the runway. I knew I wanted to keep the line classic and simple, yet modern at the same time, using a lot of references from fashion and architecture magazines.
Have you always struggled with finding supportive swimwear?
Yes! It has been a problem since I was 16. Ever since I developed, I have had a hard time finding a swimsuit that felt good, looked cool, but was also supportive at the same time.
As a celebrity stylist, have your clients also voiced the need for supportive yet stylish swimwear?
Definitely, I have worked with all body types. I get to see first hand what works and what doesn’t, as we go through thousands of trials. As far as swimwear goes, almost all brands out there cater to a slim body type or a plus size body type. There’s a whole scope in-between that is left out! Everyone is shaped differently – big busted or not, long or short torso, round tushy or flat tushy, the list goes on. The challenge is even greater with swimwear because you want to feel as confident and sexy as possible while wearing the bare minimum, so we needed to get all the parameters right.
If you could add two colors to the collection right now what would they be and why?
Right now my line is all black. I love black, it is flattering, it goes with everything and it looks good on everyone! Nonetheless, colors are coming up – for example solid navy and olive green are both colors that are always on trend and flattering for women with curves.
What is the Formes girl like?
The Formes girl is proud of her “formes” – meaning curves or shape in French. She flaunts them, confident that her bathing suit highlights her particular body type ideally.
What do you think is the most important thing in designing swimwear?
I think the most important thing while designing swimwear is quality and fit. You want these pieces to last through the daily trials of sand, water, chlorine, salt and sun, all while maintaining their original shape perfectly.
What is your personal favorite piece in the collection?
My personal favorite piece is the one piece! It is so versatile, you can wear it to the beach or pool and then as a top under a long maxi skirt or blazer and high-waisted shorts or pants.
It feels so good when you put it on. It sort of almost sucks you in and enhances your shape!
Who would you like to see in Formes Swimwear?
I would love to see Kate Upton, Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, Chrissy Teigan, Christina Hendricks, Ashley Graham in my swimwear. They are all beautiful women who love and flaunt their curves!
What has been your biggest struggle as a new designer?
My biggest struggle has been not being able to do everything at once. I have so many ideas and styles I want to materialize, but I have to pace myself. So remember: watch this space, a lot more to come!
Also, it has been hard at first to accept that things do go wrong and take longer than one thinks, especially when one is a perfectionist and pays attention to detail. Not everything is right and perfect the first time around!
Everything worth doing takes time!
What has been your most rewarding experience or moment so far?
The feedback from women who have had the same problems when looking for swimwear! Providing people with confidence about their body is the greatest reward!
You just showed your collection at Miami Swim Week, what were people’s reactions to the line?
Overwhelmingly positive! We feel that we have truly started addressing a huge need in the swimwear market, as it seems that the perfect balance between fit and style for the majority of women had not been struck before.
What materials do you use in the collection and why?
I choose to use buckles and sturdy, elegant hardware for the closures. For the fabrics, I focus on luxurious yet resistant ones, with a lot of stretch to hold you in.
Who is the most inspiring person in your life?
The most inspiring person in my life was my great-grandmother, Bobo – we never called her by her real name, Sara. She was kind, extremely generous, clever and strong. I have the best memories of her from the time I got to spend with her when I was younger. She made a lasting imprint in my mind and on my heart.
Your words to live by?
“If you build it, they will come”. Having faith in oneself and that, if you have a passion, you need to pursue it. In this case, it was all about listening to what women had to say, identifying the gap in the market and creating the product to fill it.
What is your styling motto or your best words of advice when dressing?
Don’t dress for the trend, always dress for your body shape.
Is your personal style reflected in the line?
I love color and prints in the summer but overall I live in black! I dress to flatter my shape and I think these swimsuits really do. They enhance what you already have! They are part retro but modern at the same time and I have always loved that look. Sexy but not overtly so.