As of yesterday, it’s officially spring, and if you stand in the sun with an iced coffee in hand, it even sorta feels like it. Whether you have a tropical getaway planned or a year-round jacuzzi connect, it’s getting to be bathing suit shopping time. Instead of combing the racks at Target, or flipping through a J. Crew catalog, why not support a local, independent designer this year? Here are five New York City-based brands offering creative looks at affordable prices.
29-year-old designer Siobhan Barrett handmakes swimsuits and lingerie in a studio in a old luggage factory in Red Hook. The Chico, Calif.-native’s feminine, retro cuts — from “monokini” one pieces to halter bikini tops and high-waisted bottoms — are adorned with fanciful patterns, like her 31 Flavors Ice Cream and Lisa Frank Unicorn prints. Game of Thrones fans will covet her Sansa Stark silver metallic one piece. For extra inspiration, check out Barrett’s travel writing series #bikiniswithoutborders on aleaswimwear.com, featuring photos and stories from women rocking the Alea brand around the world (FYI, Barrett trades suits for blog posts). Prices from $35.
Whether you’re getting a head start on your look for the Coney Island Mermaid Parade or you’re just a sucker for glittery sequins, Williamsburg, Brooklyn-based designer Courtney Gamble, aka MessQueen New York, has hand-crafted creations that will transform you into a finned water goddess. Glimmer in her green mermaid bandeau and high waisted bottoms or mix and match the pink mermaid bikini halter top with purple mermaid booty shorts and you’ll be queen of the seapunk aesthetic on the boardwalk this summer. We also dig her pineapple print bikini halter top and high-waisted bottoms. From $38.
The former owner of Eidolon Boutique in Park Slope now sells her custom handmade vintage swimsuits via Etsy. Choose between the likes of a pin-up style one piece in peacock feather print, or a black and white polka dot high-waisted bikini. If you need an outfit for your beach blanket companion, Felice repurposes leftover fabric scraps to makesequined mermaid tail and top sets for Barbie dolls. From $148.
Fancy a crocheted bikini this season? Designer Kayleigh Connor provides made-to-order, hand-knit suits, complete with adjustable wooden beaded tassels, ideal for beach or poolside sunbathing — and maybe a casual wade out during lowtide. If you’re still feeling chilly winter vibes, she also knits wool hats; we fancy this one with a hole cut out for a ponytail bun. From $65.
Dudes, we didn’t forget about you. In 2015, Jake and Caroline Dehaney, two siblings out of Westchester, teamed up with their family friend Sam Jacobson to form an eco-friendly men’s swimwear brand. Named after Fair Harbor in Fire Island, where they spent summers growing up, their nautical-themed boardshorts — like the Navy Dunewood, patterned with palm trees, or the rust-red colored Red Beacon Trunk— are made out of recycled plastic bottles. Here’s to cleaner beaches and stylin’ swim trunks. From $65.