Get To Know S.I.E. Swim
We're crushing super-hard on uber-cool brand S.I.E SWIM, and here — in our interview with Hawaii babe and founder Chelsie Kadota — you'll see exactly why, as she chats with us about her inspiration, aesthetics and how she brought this brand to life.
BIKINI: How did the brand begin?
Chelsie Kadota : S.I.E SWIM was launched in late 2015, after I made a decision to make my dreams a reality. After being in the fashion industry for a decade — and seeing that there was still a gap in the swim industry that I knew I could fill since I was a kid in Hawaii — I set out on my own.
BIKINI: What does the "S.I.E." stand for?
CK: I always get this question, but it simply stands for the last three letters of my name, ChelSIE. It was always a different way to spell the name, and up until this day, people continue to spell my name wrong, even if it's right in front of them.
BIKINI: What inspires you most?
CK: I'm not sure if I can pinpoint one thing that inspires me the most because inspiration is literally everywhere! I get inspiration from street style, runways, travel, even colors and designs in interior or architecture. But I can say that the girls and women that wear my bikinis inspire me tremendously. I am always looking for new ways to make them look their best and feel good wearing close to nothing.
BIKINI: What is the creative process behind the collection?
CK: It's a grueling process that so many people could never begin to understand. I'm not saying I don't enjoy it because it's what I love and seeing the end product on our girls is so rewarding, but there are so many aspects to the creative process, which starts from concept on paper to the actual product you see hanging in stores. Let's just say there are steps in the process that you don't even think about when you first start on this journey.
BIKINI: If you could describe the brand in three words, what would they be?
CK: A lifestyle, innovative, and cool — sounds cliché.
BIKINI: Why design bikinis? Were you always a water person? What drove you to start this brand?
CK: I was born and raised in Hawaii, so naturally, I grew up surrounded by water. My parents are avid surfers and would love to take us with them anytime they could. By always being at the beach, I was exposed to so many different styles of bikinis on various women, and I started to notice how they would look on them and what made them feel comfortable while looking good. Especially myself — I'm obsessed with bikinis (which you can tell from my "bikini drawer" growing up), but honestly, I could never find one that I was completely satisfied with as far as the style, cut, comfortability, and function. That is where S.I.E SWIM comes in.
BIKINI: When designing, who do you keep in mind? What girl do you design for?
CK: When I start a collection, I always keep my brand aesthetic and vision for it in mind. I never stray from why I started my brand in the first place and what sets us apart. I do look at trends and what is happening in the current world, but I always remember who our girl is. The girl I design for is the all-around cool girl that just "gets it." She's the girl that's not afraid to stand out, and actually set the trends. She is going from brunch to the beach, to happy hour in her Bella one-piece. That's where my vision of Sand to Street comes from.
BIKINI: Anyone you'd love to see rock your bikinis?
CK: I'd love to see so many people in my bikinis. Just girls all lined up in S.I.E is such a dream. I'm so inspired by girls and women who don't conform to society and are just themselves no matter what life throws at them — it's a huge part of my brand. Having said that from the top of my head, I admire Selena Gomez and would love to see her rocking S.I.E. Also, the it girls now: Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin.
BIKINI: What's the company culture like?
CK: I have always made it a point to spread the aloha. Keeping a good vibe and showing appreciation for the art is so important. Keeping good, solid people who support and help you will take you to new levels.