Summer is here and having the right clothing can make all the difference in how you feel on your vacation, especially your swimwear. As Black women, with fabulous curves, finding the perfect swimwear can truly be a work of art.
Many of us find ourselves doing more research into the cuts and styles that not only make us feel sensuous but also keep us secure while diving into the pools, resting in the cabanas or just the perfect angles for photo ops.
La’ Vinnia ‘V. Monet’ Holliday, luxury, handmade swimwear fashion designer, says “The Camille Anthony SWIM brand caters to the limitless woman, multi-flavored with a flair for the flamboyant who feels the need to embrace the beauty of her skin without sacrificing her “self-expression.” She considers herself to be a style Camilleon (chameleon). I am a style chameleon, meaning I can dress in Biker Chic on Friday, Bohemian on Saturday, and Contemporary on Sunday. So I cater to the woman who is not afraid to try new styles and is open to change. Every collection created is inspired by music, art, and travel. Camille Anthony SWIM is an experience!”
Recently, Holliday released her highly anticipated spring/summer ‘TKO’ collection inspired by Laila Ali.
“The’ T.K.O.’ collection began one night during a sketch session when L.L. Cool J’s ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ made it to my playlist. Boxing made me think of the undefeated female boxing champ, Laila Ali, and I thought about how dope it would’ve been to design her boxing attire. I watched her past matches and admired Laila’s fierce boldness, yet poised and calm, knowing she was about to knock her opponent out. I loved every bit of it.”
For some time, plus-size women have been speaking out against swimwear fear and the body stigma that leads to it.
“Society’s standards have conditioned women to believe they need to look like a celebrity or pretend to be someone else instead of embracing their authentic selves. In addition, social media plays a significant part in body dysmorphia, low self-esteem, and mental health. For example, most women fear wearing swimsuits because of body dysmorphia and low self-esteem, which plays an important role in mental health and how a woman views herself. In addition, people can be very judgmental about a woman’s body and overshare their opinions about what they think a woman should wear on the beach, including the attacks that some women face from other women because of how another woman looks in a swimsuit.”
In March, Holliday used plus-sized models to showcase her TKO and Desperado collection on the runway.
“According to industry standards, I am considered plus size, and I wear a size 12/14. Based on my designs, I’ve had so many curvy women ask me if they can or can’t wear my swimwear because of their shape and size. The answer I give them is, Yes, you can! Nowadays, curvy women are stepping out of their shells and wearing what makes them feel comfortable, whether we like it or not. Being size inclusive sends a message to every curvy woman that you can be just as bold, sexy, and attractive as the next woman.”
Asked how does she accommodate women who are not conformation with showing a lot of skin she replied “As a designer, I challenge myself to remix classic pieces to offer more personality, including different style options for the woman’s body. I offer full to little coverage, high cuts to Brazilian cuts, high waist to low waist, one piece, two pieces, monokinis, beach cover-ups, kimonos, robes, and dresses.”
Since being in this industry and understanding swimwear anxiety for a variety of women with different body types, Holliday feels more accomplished when a woman puts on one of her lei cues and immediately gain confidence in who she is. The way a woman compliments the way the fabric feels against her skin says a lot for the luxury designer.
“Fabric quality is essential because I have sensitive skin and am not fond of cheap, itchy material. When your body touches saltwater or chlorine-treated water, the swimwear fabric should not cause skin irritation. Some women are so used to wearing a specific style of swimwear that they are shocked by how their bodies look in a swimsuit with cutout or mesh details. Even daring styles, like deep v-necks, low backs, or high cuts, push their limits, but most times, they love it because they never expected that they would look so good. I even show them styling options, which gives them better value for the money spent.”
Through Camille Anthony SWIM, Holliday wants to help women feel more connected to their femininity and sexuality.
“Our mission is to make women feel more confident and sexy when they wear a Camille Anthony Swimsuit, especially if it allows them to look good in public while showing off their curves. A woman will feel more connected to her femininity and sexuality when wearing a more revealing swimsuit. So often, a woman is body-shamed for her choice of swimwear. I also want to let women know that they have a choice, and I want to provide options to choose from, so they won’t feel like their only option is to expose themselves. Instead of shame, there should be an ease that women feel when wearing swimwear.”