By Olivia Manthey | Photography courtesy of Bromelia Swimwear
Summertime and swimwear—two things that make us jump for joy! Our wardrobes may be full of sundresses, Levi’s jean shorts, and of course, swimsuits, but every year, women are faced with sorting through old or ill-fitting suits and trying to find a perfect new bathing suit. The thought alone might make many of us sigh with disgust—but there’s good news! The world’s ideals of a woman’s shape have finally evolved, with the truth that every form is beautiful and that you don’t have to be a size zero to rock a bikini! Every woman is unique, and that is what Bromelia Swimwear celebrates in its colorful swimwear line.
Bromelia Swimwear is a female-owned, humanity-empowered, confidence-inspiring brand that encourages all women to embrace their shape. Its suits highlight the female figure with cheeky cuts, bold patterns, and seamless stitching that flatter and contour. The brand’s collections are full of vibrant prints and rich solids in both statement pieces and traditional ones, and each bikini or one-piece is timeless and subtle without being forgettable.
California native Lauren Quinn created the ethically manufactured swimwear brand in 2015. “I’ve always been a fierce solo traveler, and on a six-month trip to South America in 2014, I decided to visit Brazil,” she recalls. “When I stepped off the plane, I felt instantly enamored of the country. During a month of indulging in culture, salt, and sand, I discovered the most interesting, best-quality swimwear I’ve ever come across. I am from LA, so a bikini, to me, isn’t just what you wear to the beach—it’s a lifestyle. Whenever there’s a beautiful piece of swimwear in a shop, I naturally gravitate toward it. So, I pretty much spent my time in Brazil in bikini shops. By the last day, I realized that that was the end of the rainbow for anyone who’s ever had a whole drawer devoted to swimwear—or, in my case, two.”
To grow the brand’s authentic roots, Quinn learned Portuguese so that she could study at Brazilian design houses to understand the intricacies of what it takes to define the perfect swimsuit. Through that process, she met local women who had stories to tell through their patterns and designs. These real Brazilian artisans are experts in how to construct a swimsuit that gracefully highlights a woman’s silhouette. Each piece was authentically handmade in their community, where swimwear is a way of life and not just a summer fashion staple.
Quinn says holding the first finished bathing suit from her brand was a big moment for her. “I am overly optimistic about time lines in general, and I drastically underestimated how long it would take to actually complete a full season’s collection,” she admits. “I was brand new to the business, and what I thought would be a matter of a month or two took nearly a year. Holding that first collection in my hands made my heart sing—a little bit from pride and a lot from exhaustion!” Moving back to Los Angeles meant making a move for her business as well. “Producing locally is fundamental no matter where I am living, as it is a more sustainable practice. I relocated to LA a year ago because I had a baby and wanted to be based closer to my family. I still have strong ties to Brazil, as this year’s current collection was produced at the end of last year in Rio de Janeiro, but starting next season, our goods will be produced in LA.”
The name Bromelia Swimwear stems from the native South American bromeliad plant family. Like the swimwear brand’s design aesthetic, these plants are strong and adaptable and have exquisite, feminine blooms—a difficult combo to beat. The attention to detail in Bromelia Swimwear and the incorporation of the softest fabrics and artisanal hardware make its signature pieces look effortlessly stunning and the people who wear them feel beautiful and powerful.
"I still have strong ties to Brazil, as this year’s current collection was produced at the end of last year in Rio de Janeiro, but starting next season, our goods will be produced in LA.”
The ethos of Bromelia Swimwear is based on the practices of ethical fashion. Each staff member is empowered through fair pay, a dignified workspace, respect, and experience. Sustainable fashion as a movement promotes change to fashion products and the billion-dollar industry through implementing higher environmental ethics and social equality. It is about more than just fabrics or products; it involves treating the entire fashion system differently. Bromelia Swimwear is designed and produced by an all-female and LGBTQ team, where every local artist involved is treated with dignity and also paid fair wages. From the design stage to patternmaking, from sewing to putting on the final trims, the artists who make Bromelia Swimwear are appreciated for the work they give. Everyone who touches a suit is important and treated with respect, no matter how big or small their part.
“Bromelia didn’t start as an ethical brand. To be honest, I had no idea what an ethical brand was when I began the line; but that doesn’t mean that I’ve done anything differently since day one,” Quinn explains. “I just thought that fair wage practices and treating people with dignity were what one did in business. The brand is rooted in empowering underrepresented communities: women, Latinx, black, trans, and the LGBTQ community in general. It’s not that I intentionally sought out these groups; it’s that I didn’t avoid them by using common commercial methods. For example, for some of the first patterns, I literally walked the streets of interesting but off-beat neighborhoods for days on end until I crossed paths with artists that fit the line. In Brazil, people are much more open to this random method of meeting a stranger and creating together. LA is different, so while I might not be physically walking the streets, the concept of being open to all types of artists is still very real.”
A bonus from this beautiful swimwear line is the recently released men’s collection, which Quinn says was inspired by Brazil’s beach-loving gents. “We added a small men’s capsule collection this season because men need interesting swimwear too! Working heavily alongside the LGBTQ community, I’ve come to realize that there’s a real lack of men’s swim options. Men spend large amounts of time on the beach in Brazil just as women do, so I took inspiration from the classic Rio de Janeiro style of men’s trunks. I kept them simple, as this style’s concept is to have swimwear that doesn’t move around on you, but stays still so you can focus on what’s around you. And I kept in the most crucial element—the hidden zipper pocket—so that you can leave your house or car with nothing more than your flip flops and an appetite for the beach.”
Dealing with the effects of COVID-19 has not been easy on this fledgling brand, but Quinn says it has caused her team to look at its production time lines and methods with more flexibility in mind. “The biggest thing I’ve taken out of the COVID experience is the fact that you have to truly live in the moment with design. Former fashion time lines and ridiculously early season launches are changing fast—not just in swimwear, but all across the board. It has not been unheard of to design a collection eighteen months to two years before the launch. But the world has other plans for us, and brands have been forced to embrace the element of living in the now and actually hearing what your customer is interested in. The Bromelia wearer has been wanting fresh looks but also to maintain comfort, so we will be folding more beachwear into the next collection that will double as pretty and practical everyday summer fashion.”
Bromelia’s care and commitment to its customers go far beyond remarkable swimwear; it’s also promoting the sustainable, beautiful, laid-back lifestyle its designs reflect. The Bromelia Swim Blog on the company’s website includes fun stories like “History of the Bikini” and tips such as “Your Guide to High Waisted Bikinis.” Bromelia gives its customers an all-around experience that brings us back to its Brazilian roots. The focus is on helping the customer in any possible way. We especially love the blog installment “Finding the Perfect Swimsuit” as it can often be frustrating shopping for swimwear online. Still, Bromelia bridges the gap to ensure this stressful process is made painless and simple. Bromelia Swimwear includes beautifully unique shapes and poppin’ patterns that make them the perfect summer must-haves!
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