Versatility and Sleek Designs Unite With Empathy in Unify the Ties
Artist Taylor Nassar understands the importance of employing art to heal mental-health challenges. As a young woman, Nassar struggled with her mental health and body image, eventually employing her artistic talents as a method to cope. The need to create evolved into Nassar’s brand, Unify the Ties, a San Diego swimwear label that launched in 2017 and relied on the artist’s inspiration from growing up near the beach, which yielded designs based on her own artistic works.
“The way that swimwear is tied into it—I grew up immersed in beach culture, wearing a bathing suit,” Nassar explained. “I was always very passionate about swimwear and have some funny ties and funny stories as a child wearing swimsuits and whatnot, but later in life, as I was going through my mental-health struggles and body-image issues, that love for swimwear turned into a hate for swimwear.”
Creating a mission through designing swimwear, Nassar was able to resolve her distaste for the category while spreading a message of self-acceptance. By launching Unify the Ties, Nassar wanted to dispel the fears of exposure that are often connected to buying swimwear, instead choosing to build a brand that celebrates strength and emphasizes the importance of inner beauty.
“My vision was to put more of an emphasis on spirit over appearance and take the individual down a path of creating pieces that enabled them to feel inspired from within,” Nassar said. “That way they can lead from their heart and less from a physical outer appearance. I really believe that beauty lies within.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Unify the Ties shifted production to create masks and prints of Nasser’s artwork, partnering with The Art Therapy Project, with a portion of proceeds from the sale donated to the organization. With its latest collection, Radiant Roots—Nassar’s first line to expand beyond swimwear into clothing—Unify the Ties has again partnered with the New York–based mental-health nonprofit organization, with the sale of each piece benefiting its group-art-therapy and TeleArt Therapy services, which aid trauma victims. The time spent collaborating with The Art Therapy Project during the pandemic helped to support Nassar’s creative process in order to develop her next moves for the brand.
“It gave me the opportunity to think about the future of the brand and where I want to take it. I feel that I am going to start to really infuse art more into the brand. Swimwear has always been something that we have focused on and that is where we started, but then I started to go inward and think about the possibilities and dreaming,” Nassar said. “There are other avenues I am excited to explore and try to fuse that into the swimwear more and more.”
Designing to meet the demands of an active client, Nassar ensured her tops can be worn from yoga class to the beach or pool. Those who seek more coverage can also wear the yoga pants during a swim session, aligning with Nassar’s mission to create pieces that meet a variety of needs. Fabrication for the yoga pants relies on textiles that use eco-friendlier blends of fibers. A statement piece within the collection is Nassar’s palazzo-pants design that she made to accommodate different women.
“When I designed those particular pants, I designed them at a length where if you were a little shorter they would look great as full-length pants, but if you’re someone who is really tall they are cropped culottes and they look amazing too,” Nassar said. “I really tried to consider that and little touches of that I always think about and try to weave into my design process.”
The direct-to-consumer brand’s Radiant Roots collection is priced from $62 to $150 and is sized XS–XL. It is available at unifytheties.com