meet malia

introducing the brilliant designer behind our debut swim collection
April 05, 2012  |   column: WHAT'S NEW

for those that haven’t already discovered the delights of a malia mills swimsuit, her iconic cuts, which seem to miraculously flatter in just the right places, will literally make you long for bikini season (yes, they’re really that good). we sat down with the swimwear sage and designer of our debut swim collection during the shoot for our swan dive or cannonball video.

q: how and when did you start designing swimwear?

a: i started my business in 1991. i was inspired by growing up in honolulu where swimwear was a big part of my childhood. swimwear should represent sun and fun and vacation and friends and family and the exhilaration you get from a run and tumble into the sea! i want women to feel the power that comes from feeling good about the way we look. when you put on something that fits you beautifully you feel liberated!

q: tell us about your motto, ‘love thy differences.’

a: it’s all about looking in the mirror and really, truly loving what you see. women are very hard on themselves. we need to own our unique beauty. we are all one of a kind, how amazing is that?!

q: what’s your first swimsuit memory?

a: i’m the baby of 6 kids—i have two older brothers and 3 older sisters—and my mom wouldn’t let us wear bikinis. then when i was 8 years old our neighbor gave me this lemon yellow bikini with plastic rings, and i came prancing out and my sisters just howled—they couldn’t believe it. but i felt freedom and fabulousness in that suit.

q: what’s your favorite place to swim?

a: when i was 13 we moved from honolulu to new hampshire, and it was the first time i ever swam in a pond. there was something really magical about walking through the woods with my new friends and then reaching this secret oasis. once you jump in it’s cool and fresh and amazing and dreamy.

q: what do you pack in your beach bag?

a: definitely a swimsuit. or two. or three. lots of sunscreen. i always pack a cashmere sweater. i love being at the beach when the sun goes down and wrapping myself in something warm and soft. oh, and i always have a bottle of water. and a bottle of wine.

q: swandive or cannonball?

a: cannonball! the cannonball is all about how you feel and less about your form, which is more my style.

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