When I decided it was time to take a shot at swimwear, I thought it would be easy. It couldn’t be much different than designing activewear, right? Wrong.
I was so naive.
To get the ball rolling, I posted a few polls on Instagram asking for your swimwear desires. I kept it simple: High-waisted or low-waisted? Cheeky or full coverage? Do we like sleeves? When the results rolled in, my only takeaway was this: There would be no one swimsuit to make everyone happy.
As UNhelpful as that may sound, it actually led to a crucial realization of the “why” behind this collection. Swimwear is deeply personal.
Take me as an example: I’ve always struggled to find the perfect swimsuit for my body because
- I want something that lifts my small chest with little coverage (so tired of saggy fabric, the uni-boob, and looking like a little kid ugh).
- I need bottoms that hide my #nobuttlife and accentuate my waist. So cheekier, with no pinching.
It’s a complicated, frustrating situation that has driven me to the point of hating swimsuit shopping at times. And that’s just MY struggle! We all have different bodies, different styles, and different needs. DUH there can’t be one single swimsuit that makes everyone happy.
So began the journey to design a collection with options for everyone.
I started thinking of your swimwear woes as my own. How could this collection meet as many needs as possible?
We met as a team and talked through ALL of our swim fit frustrations, which led to a deeper, much more intense conversation about our #SwimSecrets – the moment in our lives when swimwear lost its joy.
This convo was HEAVY. But we came out the other side on a mission. A mission to reclaim our joy (and YOUR joy) in swimwear. Three words came to mind to fulfill this mission:
Here’s where things got complicated.
We ran into literally every hurdle possible. First, we chose the wrong fabric, and then the wrong print. We had issues finding the right manufacturing partner and patternmaker. And then, we ran into fit issues.
Seriously, it was a challenge every step of the way, even down to getting the samples for our photoshoot! Omg the STRESS. Never had I been 1 day away from a shoot – Models booked, location booked, hair and makeup booked, photographer booked, team flights booked – and we didn’t even have anything to shoot in hand. It was so scary.
It took TWO YEARS to get it right.
Remember when I said I thought this would be just like designing activewear? Yeah, that normally takes 9 to 12 months.
This took two years. The longest development for me ever.
Because of the setbacks I listed and more, we missed the target launch date MULTIPLE times. We wanted to launch in April for Spring Break, and then in May to prep for summer vacation…and missed them both.
But I’ve learned one very important thing over the years: Never. Rush. Anything.
I’d rather be late than launch a product on time with a bad fit and sloppy execution. So we took a deep breath (lots of deep breaths) and took our time. And the universe decided that launching in June would be best.
Creating the perfect fit
I cannot stress enough that timing was EVERYTHING for this collection. Over the past 2 years, the team grew as the business grew. During that time, we built a technical design team and product development team made up of women formerly from Spanx and Reebok. I still pinch myself about this… how lucky am I to be surrounded by such experience and knowledge?!
Coming together with our ideas…omg it felt like a FORCE.
We worked late into the night and into the weekend for several months straight to get your swimsuits ready for launch. Every single person cares soo much! I am so fortunate to be surrounded by their talent and skill and I’m convinced that they’re the reason we were able to pull this off at all.
Then it came time to test on REAL customers
Throughout the entire POPFLEX Swim journey, we tested every design on the people we created them for: The customers! We gathered a group of women of all different body types, as well as different cup and band sizes, to observe them wearing each piece. Then we asked for their feedback.
Develop…over and over again.
We repeated this process over and over until we got it right. Until finally…
WE DID IT!
June 21, the first day of summer became our official launch day! It was perfect.
But first, I needed to revisit those polls that started it all. I reposted the same questions on my IG again, two years later.
The response was…interesting. There were THOUSANDS of comments from people fighting hardcore for what they loved, and fighting hardcore against what they hated. The debate was heated and getting really intense. Like I said…swimwear is personal!
In the end, I saw some people be like “Cassey, just do what you want – we trust you.”
Good news, I did.
Everything in this collection is something I would wear. But I also get that swim is basically like public lingerie – it’s intimate and on display at the same time. So you gotta have the right pieces for your body!
With your input, I created options so you can find a swimsuit made for YOU. Ready to see them?
The POPFLEX Swim ’23 Lookbook
Let’s take a dip and talk about each piece in the collection, okay?! It will be like we’re shopping together! I’ll tell you what I love about everything, and you can visualize yourself on the beach, rocking your new ‘suit.
A moment for the location of our photoshoot. Isn’t it stunning?! Okay let’s talk about bikini tops first!
The Boardwalk Bombshell One-Piece
One-piece swimsuits always make me look like I’m either on the high school swim team… or they’re super impractical where one wrong move = disaster.
This was the first mission for Swim: Create a super feminine one-piece that feels sexy, without feeling like something might pop out if I actually get in the water. It’s possible to feel secure while still showing off your best features!
Here’s how we made it happen with the Boardwalk Bombshell One-Piece while making sure the fit is perfect too!
- A balconette underwire cup (choose from 2 different cup sizes!) for lift and support
- Contoured side panels to enhance your figure
- High-cut leg (this helps to elongate!)
- Wide straps for extra support and comfort
- A corset-inspired lace-up back to customize your fit
- Clean finish edge so nothing is digging in or pinching you
- Double-lined (no see-through moments like little Cassey experienced!)
No more tugging where your suit doesn’t fit well, or constantly fixing that strap that keeps falling down. No more feeling just overall uncomfortable in a one-piece.
I could stare at her allll day. She’s perfect.
If you love the look of the one-piece but you’re more of a bikini girl, go for the Boardwalk Bombshell Bikini Top! She has the same balconette underwire cup, with a little more coverage.
Let’s talk about the corset-style back for a sec. I know a lot of us have been traumatized by a swimsuit that ties (🙋♀️), but we put some serious thought into this so that will NEVER HAPPEN. With the lace-up design, the tension isn’t all on the tie itself. It’s evenly distributed along the back, which means if it does come untied…your suit is going to stay put!
Introducing… a strapless top that actually stays on. WHY are strapless swimsuits always so flimsy?! To give maximum peace of mind in the Sandbar Strapless Bikini Top, we crafted her with two layers of security:
- A dual-layer inner shelf to prevent slippage.
- A corset-style lace-up back so you can get the perfect fit.
There are also removable straps if you need even more protection! We all have an experience that makes it hard to trust a strapless top so I get it!
The Siren Sweetheart Bikini Top
I went into this like okay…a bikini with sleeves won’t be for everyone. But LOOK AT HER. I love how the Siren Sweetheart is sporty, but also makes me feel like a mermaid.
The drama of this top is everything. The wide, sweetheart neckline, the bow in the back…ugh. It’s STUNNING.
And you know we didn’t forget about function. The Siren’s sleeves have thumbholes for ultimate sun protection and the fabric is double-lined so there’s never a risk of a see-through moment. The bow makes it super easy to adjust the fit, but we also added a silicone band to really hold the top in place.
One thing to note! The Black Rib color is a little more compressive.
For bottoms, we needed OPTIONS
Have you noticed a trend here? Options were soooo important for these designs because it’s the closest we can get to literally making custom swimsuits.
Since bottoms are a little more difficult to make adjustable, you have three cuts to choose from!
The Crisscross Hourglass™ Cheeky Bottom
DUH we brought the Crisscross Hourglass™ waistband to Swim! This is my favorite waistline to give the ultimate hourglass effect. It has a dramatic V that dips down in the front and then comes up high on the sides. Helloooo curves!
These bottoms are cheeky but not TOO cheeky – just enough with a high-cut leg and V-seam in the back to really shape the booty. This was a must for me because #nobuttlife.
Low Tide Super Cheeky Bikini Bottom
Give me cheeeeky! Like I said, I need all the help I can get with my butt. A cheekier bottom gives the illusion that I’ve got more curve back there!
The Low Tide has a V-back waist to shape the booty, a high-cut leg to elongate, and a low waist to show off you curves. Like everything else, this is double-lined and crafted with a clean finish so there is ZERO pinching or digging.
This bottom has the least amount of coverage out of the three options!
High Tide Cheeky Bikini Bottom
If you’re looking for something with a little more coverage, go for the High Tide. When I designed these bottoms, I wanted them to be the ultimate high-waisted option – more coverage, without looking frumpy…or like you’re wearing a diaper.
The High Tide has a subtle swoop in the front to keep you feeling secure without sacrificing your shape! That swoop will still bring out your curves. In the back, we kept things a little cheeky to shape the booty, with the same V-back waist and a high-cut leg.
This coverup. OMG.
The I Need A Vacation Shirt Dress is the ultimate resort wear staple. It’s light and flowy, but so flattering whether you’re wearing it open over your swimsuit, or tying it up like a cute lil’ dress.
Fun fact: I wanted a belt on this to accentuate the waist, but HATE those annoying belt loops that just look ugly when you don’t want to use the belt! So no belt loops on this shirt dress! Just tie the belt on when you want to use it and leave it when you don’t.
Oh, and did you spot the Big Beach Carryall Bag?!
I have an obsession with giant tote bags right now, which is soo necessary for the beach or a pool day! It carries everything – your towel, sunscreen, snacks, you name it! You know I added lots of pockets… even an insulated compartment on the bottom to keep things cold and a detachable accessory case for small necessities! This bag comes in Blue Palm and Black (see below!).
The Mini-Moon and Honeymoon Ruffle Sarongs
I love to tie on a flowy sarong when I’m headed to the beach! And now you have a short and a long option.
The Mini-Moon Short Sarong is light and airy and I love how you can have a matching moment with the Blue Palm print. This sarong is size-inclusive and ultra-adjustable.
The Honeymoon Ruffle Long Sarong is long and romantic and will flow behind you as you walk the beach like a goddess. Look closely at the subtle palm leaf print detail! GORGEOUS.
There you go! POPFLEX Swim ’23!!!
AHHH okay so what do you think?! Tell me what you’re getting in the comments!