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In Behind the Brand we uncover the stories behind New England's brightest emerging brands and look ahead to what their future holds.
You don't often hear of swimwear brands based in New England; California and Australia typically have that garment covered. But SeaLove Swimwear—designed on Martha's Vineyard and handcrafted in Bali—is looking to transform the market with cheeky cuts (think Brazilian style), hand-drawn prints, and macrame detailing. Founded in 2012 by friends Ashley Chase and Indah Huberman, SeaLove considers itself "a true expression of the two islands within which it is produced."
With Ashley on the Vineyard and Indah in Stowe most of the year, the pair often meets up in beachy locales like Florida or Puerto Rico to brainstorm, tend to retail accounts, do fittings, and plan photo shoots. While on their latest jaunt to the Caribbean, we connected to discuss their collection of bikinis, sexy wetsuits, and casual beachwear.
How did you two meet?
Ashley: We met in Bali. Indah was living there at the time doing her resort line and I was there doing my swimwear line.
Indah: We started to exchange ideas, and when she went back to the States she approached me about doing a collaboration.
What made you decide to produce in Bali?
A: We both had been spending winters there and both of us started our own companies while there. It happened naturally from being there.
I: Bali is a magical place for a lot of designers and artists—architecture, artwork, textiles, paintings.
Is it hard to be a swimwear brand from Massachusetts?
I: We've had some challenges because our niche is cheeky cuts.
A: Personally we tend to like things that the Northeast is just starting to get into. We're doing the push to market there.
I: And it's a very short market; people are only wearing swim June through September.
Why do you think New England has been averse to cheeky cuts?
A: I feel like it's still pretty conservative. Everyone likes medium coverage and classic pieces and colors. I do feel that it's starting to evolve now. Our customers are afraid of putting on something skimpy but once they get into it they don't take it off.
I: You have to work at it and have the confidence.
Does your brand speak to a surf customer, a fashion one, or a combination of both?
I: A little bit of both because we are that girl. Our brand and collection evolved from our lifestyle.
A: We do have surf pieces and then we do pieces that are more detail oriented, like our macrame.
Any design features that help keep your swimwear in place?
A: We do a fashion racerback, and a smooth skin, which is like a silky neoprene. That really holds you in. We test everything. You'd be surprised! Cheeky bottoms move around much less than medium coverage ones.
How do you keep your bikini figures in top shape?
I: Pilates, yoga, anything that's outdoors—as long as it's not cold!
I: Recently, I like Puerto Rican beaches. It's mellow and you can surf. And it's close to the USA. And Naiyang in Bali.