Interview with Bikini Hut by Rachael Lovette.....
After selling bathing suits to women in Oregon for two years, the women of Bikini Hut soon discovered their Oregonian clientele had a particular taste for bathing suit fashion. So instead of continuing to source bathing suits from elsewhere, they figured, why don’t we just create the right brand ourselves?
Get to know Bikini Hut and Cora the HBIC below…
Get to Know Bikini Hut
What inspired you to start Bikini Hut?
Our mom was inspired by her experience visiting Hawaii as a child. Her favorite part was going into a local shop and having the opportunity of someone creating a suit that fit her body best. Also, growing up, my sister and I could never find a style that fit us properly. We have been the frustrated customer before, so we knew what we had to do in order to create the best shopping experience possible.
Taking the leap from sourcing swimwear to designing it is pretty huge. What was your biggest fear when starting out?
The biggest fear was not knowing how to sew. My mom came up with the idea of designing our own line. She is the most fashionable, stylish woman on the planet! So I knew we could come up with creative ideas! But, the technical aspect was very scary. It took us a while to find the right seamstress who understood our vision, and was eager to be creative and fearless like us. Once we found Anaiah and Aby, it was perfect! We have come such a long way!
Your pieces have a cool surfer girl vibe without being inauthentic. What is the storytelling element behind that?
The story will always revolve around being an “Oregon Girl”. All suits are sewn by Oregon girls, and made to fit the lifestyle of an Oregon girl. Of course we love to bring in tropical vibes from our travels to places like Hawaii, Australia, and California. But those influences are fun accessories to the core of our “Oregon Girl” foundation.
Does your hometown contribute to the design aesthetic of Bikini Hut? How?
The active, outdoorsy lifestyle of our hometown definitely effects how we design our bathing suit line. We also like to intermingle our style with our love for travel. Hawaii is a big inspiration for us.
Inspiration behind your current collection?
Oregon girls will always be our inspiration. Oregon girls are active, adventurous, functional, and secretly stylish;) What I mean by secretly stylish is, us Oregon girls tend to be a little modest with our bathing suit fashion. But when we get the opportunity to wear something flashy and fun, and looks fantastic on our bodies, we take that opportunity and run with it! At Bikini Hut, it is our job to make that special, “I love myself!” experience a reality!
What’s your favorite piece you’ve designed so far?
So far, my favorite piece we designed is The Gidget Top - inspired by the ultimate surfer girl icon. The Gidget Top has a cross-back tie for adjustable support, swoops in the front like a stylish sports bra, and is completed with a feminine scrunch in the front.
What goes into keeping Bikini Hut sustainable and/or eco-friendly?
Simplicity is key! Making sure we are in-charge of every step in production is how we stay eco-friendly. Every aspect of production is in-house at Bikini Hut. Each piece is sewn with so much love and care, just like back in the day!
How do you want women to feel when wearing your clothes?
First, I want women to feel no sense of time and age connected to our styles. Too often women tell us, “I’m too old for a bikini”. That statement does not exist in our world! The Gidget Top fits a 15 year old just as perfectly as a 75 year old. Breaking stereotypes and the fear of a “bikini” is important to us. And second, I want women to own their bodies and not be afraid to look GOOD in a bikini. Women try to hide their body in fear of judgement; no more!! The Oregon Girl Swimmie encourages our customers to celebrate and show off their body!!
What are your goals for Bikini Hut?
Oh the sky is barely the limit with us! We dream big here at Bikini Hut. We hope to have our Oregon Girl Swimmie line sold at more local and Oregon coast surf shops! Also, we hope to have our own reality show about the day in the life of a Bikini Hut Girl, the shopping experience at Bikini Hut, the importance of promoting positive body image, and getting involved in our local community.
Now that we’ve talked about some of the bigger elements of Bikini Hut. - How you would describe it?
Bikini Hut is safe place for women to explore bathing suit styles that fit their body best. Our personal fashion consultants make shopping at Bikini Hut a positive and exciting experience! All of our employees and family founders are our models, which is a big part of our mission promoting positive body image - everyone can where a bikini!
Get to know Cora
How did you decide to pursue a career in fashion?
Once we realized we could better provide for our customers at Bikini Hut by taking fashion into our own hands, that’s when we decided to make designing part of our career.
What is your favorite part about being a designer?
My favorite part is having our customer walk out of the dressing room with a giant smile on her face and feeling so confident in our Oregon Girl Swimmie line. That moment is so special, and truly life-changing. When our bathing suit makes a woman see her body in a more positive way, it’s absolutely priceless.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?
The surf forecast for Pacific City, it’s finally rideable. Summer time is here!
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
Never worry about what you can’t control. Don’t fear the unknown. Ask what you need, and let the universe provide baby!
What would you like remembered about you?
The kind person who you can count on.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Live as if you have already achieved your biggest dreams, make no more excuses, always be accountable for yourself, and most importantly… find ways to laugh and have fun!
What item in your closet do you wear the most?
My vintage high-waisted straight legged 501 Wranglers.
What is on your bucket list (personal and/or business wise)?
Riding Oregon coast waves on giant inflatable floaties to promote Bikini Hut.
Where are your favorite local places to shop?
Hmmm… my mom’s closet.
Where can we find you when you’re not designing for Bikini Hut?
You can find me surfing Pacific City, Oregon.
To learn more about Bikini Hut follow them below.
To learn more about the team behind Bikini Hut (and the women pictured here) follow them below.
- Rachael Lovette, Portland Fashion Week