As of Thursday, January 4, 2018
When Sunsets Inc. wanted to take its B.Swim brand in a different direction, it hired Stephanie Graves to set the course for the label.
For her second collection at B.Swim, Graves has taken inspiration from her Hawaiian roots, having spent long vacations with grandparents who lived on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
During that time, Graves gained an appreciation for Hawaii’s surf culture and even picked up some Hawaiian lingo. When she returned to her hometown of Minneapolis, she thought she was the only surfwear nut in the upper Midwest.
Fast-forward to this upcoming Spring 2018 swimwear season and Hawaii is still an inspiration for Graves. She hopes her take on the aloha spirit offers a point of difference for B.Swim and its “Hoku Fields” print. Hoku is the Hawaiian word for stars, and this print features stars and half-crescent moons on a black field. Gold foil on the stars adds some shimmer.
Koloa is the name of the Kauai town where Graves’ grandparents lived. So, B.Swim’s “Koloa Medallion” print is named after the town. It features a blue paisley-style print, which the designer said is a departure from the floral prints that can be a dominating feature of swimwear. “There are so many thousands of florals,” she said. “It’s overdone. I wanted to offer something different.” Other pieces feature solid colors such as Moana gray, which is a bluish gray. In Hawaiian, Moana roughly translates as ocean.
Graves became the head designer of B.Swim after spending less than two years working as an associate designer for the prominent swimwear company Raj Swim, headquartered in Tustin, Calif.
Sunsets Inc. was looking for a new direction for its B.Swim brand when Graves took over the label’s design, said Greg Stager, Sunsets Inc.’s president.
Previously, B.Swim was known for bright colors, but Graves decided to bring a more “laid-back, contemporary look” to the collection, Stager said. “Stephanie brought a fresh perspective to B.Swim that flowed from her lifestyle, her design sensibilities and her experience,” he said. “B.Swim is young and contemporary at the same time, and that defines Stephanie.”
To give the line an added point of view, Graves added a wider variety of silhouettes. Styles range from modest silhouettes to those that offer “small coverage,” but Graves still skirts the skimpiest looks seen in other swimwear collections. Tops range from typical triangle tops to high necks and tops with molded cups and removable cups. Separates retail from $48 to $104 for a one-piece.
Up next, Graves said she’d like to introduce more fabrics and more styles to change up the look of B.Swim.