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20 Sep

See What Inspired the New Issa De' Mar Collection

Posted by Bikini Owner in bikinis, collection, designers, inspiration, new, swimwear

If there’s one brand that truly embodies the intersection of fashion and function, it’s Issa de' Mar — something ably proven in the Hawaii-based brand's latest collection, “Bodies of Water.”  

Below, we talk to the designers about what inspired their latest work — and this insanely badass video campaign.


What’s the design process?
Well, there's a lot that goes into it but to break it down, we review our last season and what people reacted to, as well as the classic styles that we will carry over into the next season. We are trying to design pieces around what's working for the active girl — but still offer a fashionable twist. We start with concept sketches and narrow those down. We then put them in into computer illustrator sketches and get our first samples made. After that, we go through a long process of sample alterations, what's working and what's not. And we finally decide on which bodies we'll be moving forward with. And that's not even to mention color stories or prints. There's an entire year’s worth of work that goes into a collection before it gets released to the public.

How do you both split the creative input and decide on a common inspiration lead for the collection?

We get inspiration from all over the place — our travels, nature, trends — but we are both a pretty good sounding board for each other. I've presented ideas that Marissa doesn't love and vice versa. We focus more on the designs and cuts of the suits rather than pulling inspiration for the next season. 


What was your inspiration for this collection?

"Bodies of Water" was designed for water women everywhere. We were inspired by some of our closest friends and just women who are spending all day in the water in a suit, who want to be comfortable but also feel sexy. We were channeling a castaway Bond Girl who can do it all — an all-around badass really.  A lot of our suits are over-the-shoulder or T-back designs. We did this purposely, so you could be in a suit all day without it tugging on your neck. Also, all the suits are adjustable, so you can tighten them when active — surfing, swimming, diving — or loosen them when you're just hanging by the pool. 

What did you want to keep from previous collections and what did you want to update or discard?

We kept what we call our "classics," which are true staples and what we think represent the brand such as the Hina top, the Sao Paulo, the Poema and the Makena surf suit, along with a few others. We added a few tops, which we call "cross-over sport tops”,  such as the Bondi & Tiare tops, which were intended to be worn while surfing, going to yoga or as a bralette. They're both really comfortable and don't pull on your neck. We also added a really fun French-cut bottom to new suits such as the Temae, Lanikai & Byron.


What did you learn from previous collections that you have applied to this one?

Who our customer is and what is important to them. We are trying to narrow down on fit, sizing and color palettes. 


What’s your most favorite bikini piece and color from this season?

My favorite will always be the Hina top. I live in it. The Mauka color is my favorite. 


I love the color palette this time around. How did you pick the colors?

We love black and neutrals — so much so that if I designed a whole collection for myself, it would primarily be black. It's kind of a joke when you look at my bikini bag (you could imagine the size) but it's basically blacks and neutrals. So we went with what we love, and all of the suits including the prints can be mixed and matched interchangeably. 



What were some of the challenges you faced with the release of these designs? Any obstacle in production or materials?

We took a risk on our new French-cut bottoms, which I personally love and see them trending everywhere — high hip and slightly more coverage on the bum; think 1980s. However, it does take a certain girl to go for that style and feel confident. It's always a risk introducing new cuts and styles but we wanted to go for it, and we hope you guys like it! 


What are you most proud of in this collection?

I love the Byron bottoms. I seriously encourage every girl to try them because I think they really do flatter a woman's body. Again, you have to step out of your comfort zone,  I promise you won't be disappointed. 


Did you have the video concept in mind when designing the bikinis?

The video came after the collection was done, but the overall vibe and essence of the main character was definitely something we were thinking about while designing the collection. A true water woman who does it all: surfs, dives and more. 



Is that what your real-life is like?

It's the exaggerated version. If we did that whole reel every day, we would either be the fittest people alive or Superwoman. But yes — we do enjoy all those activities and try to do them as much as we can.

What’s some feedback you’ve received from this collection? 

People really seem to love it, which we're stoked about, and everyone likes the color ways and new cross-over active tops. The French-cut bottoms are for a particular girl, but I encourage all to give it a go!