Words by Sandy Aziz
SOS. The 2020 summer diagnosis is far from stellar. With the pandemic and travel bans, summer 2020 has been largely different to what we know and love to be summer: sun, sea, and sand. However, I have set sail to find a way to still experience a sun-kissed summer even without jetting off to, say, the Maldives. If you are like me, finding the perfect swimsuit never comes easy to begin with. Adding additional requirements such as sustainability and trendy? Well, that makes it feel like the perfect swimsuit is really unattainable. Let’s meet the two brands who will give us the best of both worlds for the Maldives sunshine and sustainability.
In reality, summer is a feeling. And for me, finding a perfect swimsuit is part of what brings that summer feeling to life. No, really. Finding a good swimsuit is an accomplishment in itself but is also a main ingredient in bringing summer to life. Other ingredients necessary for the summer feeling include a large straw hat and a super fruity, ice-cold beverage, of course. But back to swimsuits. While there isn’t an exact science when swimsuit searching, there are a few things that definitely make it harder. For example, one of my key requirements in securing the perfect swimsuit is making sure that is authentic and different. Why, do you ask? Because we have all probably at some point bought a standard swimsuit from a mass retailer and found ourselves matching at least a few other beachgoers around us. That wasn’t suitable for me. So, I learned the hard way. But it is exactly that experience that has led me to search far and wide and to stumble across a one-of-a-kind gem: Kandumathi. This swimsuit collection brings you authentic, Maldivian summer vibes wherever you may find yourself this summer. And all without the added hassle of physical travel.
Founded by London-based siblings Yasra and Yusree Jaleel in 2016, Kandumathi is a Maldivian swimwear brand that celebrates local Maldivian artists and is inspired by work to conserve and protect the oceans and endangered reefs in the Maldives. The word Kandumathi stems from the phrase “kandu” (ocean) and “mathi” (in it) which together make the phrase in the ocean. This Maldivian phrase embodies the collection and brings the ocean to us while also bringing us local, Maldivian art and culture.
Kandumathi use a fusion of polyamide and elastane for the collection. And, let’s be honest – that is the perfect combination for functionality and flexibility. The combination also supports all the various female forms – hugging you in all the right places.
As mentioned, many of the pieces are based on local paintings by Maldivian artists and the colors of the collection are seashore reminiscent. More specifically, when speaking about the painting that inspired the Marla swimsuit in the collection, the Jaleel sisters said, “the painting for Marla really struck me and when the swimsuit was designed it reminded me of Helena Bonham Carter’s character, Marla from Fight Club. From then on, we rereferred to the swimsuit as Marla, and the name just stuck.” The other prints — the distinct flower, screwpine, and crab featured in the one piece and bikinis in the collection have made splashes in the fashion scene both in the Maldives and across Europe.
So, if you want to standout, feel that summer feeling, and visit the Maldives without physical travel, your Kandumathi swimsuit awaits.
EcoSwimure by Emile Vidal Carr
With all the surprises that 2020 has unravelled, we managed to put a positive spin on summer and just find ourselves repeating the mantra of “just keep swimming”. And though we find ourselves redefining vacations and exploring new summer nights, one thing still remains clear: we all need a sustainable, and statement-worthy swimsuit. Where to start? Well, fortunately for all of us in pursuit of the perfect swimsuit, Emile Vidal Carr’s brand recently launched, EcoSwimure. Carr dives into the details about the new collection with OVERDUE.
A British and black-owned brand, all of Carr’s collections continuously offer a unique approach to design. Specifically, the Carr draws influences for his collections from hip-hop music and uses this inspiration to craft his dexterities. Carr’s skills, already robust, contain his meticulous attention to detail and passion for design. All of which translate into each of his collections. In describing the design process, Carr explains, “I would spend weeks going over designs in my head, working out every detail, without drawing it. Then finally when I was ready, I would cut out the style freehand and sew up the design on the sewing machine.”
Recently, Carr took the plunge and decided it was time to expand into swimwear. “We chose to expand our collection,” said Carr, “as we wanted to give our customers the opportunity to own ethical, sustainable and fashionable swimwear.” And, so, EcoSwimure was born.
Carr explains that the word eco in the name of the collection is a result of the main composite of fabric used in each of the pieces, Econyl. This fabric is assembled of recycled, nylon waste from landfills and oceans around the world. Sustainable? Check. The colors of the collection make you feel like you are immersing yourself in the colors often associated with features of the ocean — fuchsia, royal blue, pastel pink, coral and more. Fashionable? Check. In addition to the vibrant color palette, it is evident by his particular use of zippers and high front neck details that Carr also took into account diverse female form. And that is not all. Carr’s collection goes a step further to celebrate strong, prestigious females too. In fact, each piece in the collection is named after someone including Alesha Dixon, Vanessa Kingori, Naomie Harris (British actress) and Karen Brady (West Ham chairwoman) to name a few. It is as though Emile is celebrating strong, independent women. This subtle support is what we love. The collection checks all the boxes and makes what felt like an unattainable swimsuit dream, a reality.