Mapping the Horizon with Rise City Swim

S/S 16. Photo: Rise City Swim.

It is my most firm belief that there is no one product type that has been moved + sold on a social media platform more than women’s swimwear has on Instagram. In truth, one would not be out-of-bounds by offering that the #Swimstawear market is saturated, “drenched” even…but that same one person may never have stumbled upon Rise City Swim, nor read about their Women on the Rise initiative. And that’s a shame because what Rise City is doing is thoughtful, rad and worthy of your social attentions.

We got Jane Reynolds, Rises’ Editorial Director, and Agee Taylor, Rises’ Director of Design, on the line for a few questions. Things like, past happenings, present happenings and happenings that still require happening. Eavesdrop, below.

You guys had quite the Black Tie Blowout celebration at 1Oak in NYC recently. You fancy, huh? 

Jane: That was a wild party! We think about bikinis all year long, but we know winter in NYC is not the ideal time to wear one. So we figured tuxes and LBDs was the perfect dress code for a fun night out in the city to toast our new collection and thank our many supporters—and most importantly, celebrate the strong, amazing women we know here in NYC that make this place so great! Although now that we think of it, we might be onto something with “black tie bikinis.”

Agee: Hah! We like to trade our bikinis for ball gowns once in a while. We love hosting events that feel juxtaposed with a “bikini brand” since we are so much more than just that. 

Aside from all the glamour and fashion, you’re actually a brand with a conscious that wants to celebrate smart, beautiful women. Tell us more about your Women on the Rise initiative and how it relates to your swimwear.

J: While Rise City Swim has a collection of fun, playful bikinis, our true mission at Rise is to empower women through the motto, It’s not how you look. It’s how you live.” And we believe we can do that by reconfiguring the way women think about swimwear—and themselves in swimwear. How many times have you heard women talk about dreading shopping for kinis? Sure, everyone is going to have insecurities, but we believe that what truly makes a woman sexy is not how well she fits into the socially defined standard of “bikini beautiful,” but what she’s done to get where she is today. What’s truly sexier: maintaining a certain BMI or having an MBA and your own startup?

Successful women today are all about the hustle, particularly in NYC, so we highlight those women through our Women on the Rise campaign—not only to celebrate their accomplishments (and how great they look in kinis) but also to show to other women that you can be both smart and sexy, both a hard worker and a hard partier. No one has to fit into any molds; in fact, we think everyone’s better when they don’t fit into a particular mold, right?

A: Our WOTR platform provides the opportunity for confident women to have their stories told. We carefully select women that we feel embody the idea of a Woman On The Rise, photograph them in their choice of style from Rise City Swim, and share it on all our outlets. We think it is important for our customers to see real every day women wearing our product and looking amazing in it, rather than just models. 

“I’m ready for my close up” Ted steals the show! #puppy #losangeles #risecityswim

A photo posted by RISE CITY SWIM (@risecityswimwear) on

Spoiler alert: Summer’s almost here. What bikini styles can we expect in your new collection, and how fast can we get our hands on them?

J: Each new collection we release is super exciting, but S/S 2016 is particularly so because we’re introducing prints and color blocking in the five new bikini styles. Last year’s collection had the classics, but this year we had a bit more fun, and there’s something for everyone. This collection is great because it’s different from what you’ll find anywhere else. But our customers loved the versatility of last year’s collection (almost everyone mixed and matched the bottoms and tops as far as color and style) so we made sure that the same can be done with this collection, too. Pre-ordering is now available!

A: We are so excited to share the S/S 2016 Collection with everyone!! My personal favorites would be the Raine Style in Lava, the Sadie Style in our Geo Scale Print, and the Lila Style in the Fly Away Print. That being said, all the styles are mix and match, so if you are feeling the Raine Top and the Jayde Bottom, you can get them both in the same print in any size. Preorders for these suits start March 30th and will ship between April Week 2 and 4. 

Why should everyone who’s out in Montauk this summer support #FreetheCheeks?

J: Let us count the ways! We get it: freeing the cheeks can be intimidating. But once you do it, you find that it’s actually empowering. You feel liberated, and not just from tan lines and wedgies. 

The truth is, bikinis were meant to be small. Jacques Heims, who created the bikini in 1946 (bless his soul), said a bikini wasn’t a bikini “unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring.” It’s taken a few decades, but bikini trends on the East Coast are finally catching up with destinations like Brazil and Australia, that have long had it right. The women in these locales are proud of their bodies and booties—of all shapes and sizes—and want to show them off. So this is your summer: Montauk, #FreetheCheeks!

A: Why not!?!? It still amazes me that women want a super full coverage bottom. No one likes diaper bottom bathing suits, and that’s what you get with full coverage. No matter what your body type, I guarantee you as soon as you put on a cheeky bottom from Rise City Swim you will feel a huge boost of confidence. It surprisingly makes every single booty have a great shape, and you’ll feel empowered from within. 

Mega babe @kellyrohrbach for #risecityswim. #losangeles #color #picoftheday

A photo posted by RISE CITY SWIM (@risecityswimwear) on

Model (and Leo Dicaprio’s former arm candy) Kelly Rohrbach rocked your first lookbook campaign. Who would your next dream Rise City Swim model be, and why?

J: Kelly was amazing, right?! Especially for our first lookbook campaign, we wanted to feature a true Woman on the Rise; competitive collegiate golfer, Georgetown graduate, with a modeling/acting career taking off (she had been named the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Rookie of the Year just days before the shoot), Kelly checked all the boxes. We’re so excited to see her in the remake of Baywatch!

And this year, we got our next dream Rise model: professional surfer Anastasia Ashley. We’ve long been a fan of hers because she’s just a badass—who can ride some killer waves and rock a bikini like a champ. And she was so much fun to be on set with; she’s a hard worker for sure, but she’s also laid-back and friendly, and doesn’t take things too seriously.

A: We got super lucky with Kelly, we booked her because she was a friend of a friend, incredibly talented, graduated from Georgetown, was a collegiate golfer, basically a true Woman On The Rise. We recently booked Anastasia Ashley, a pro-surfer, who also rocked the WOTR vibe. For our next Lookbook model I’d love to feature someone who is just as multifaceted as Kelly and Anastasia both are.

What other impressive soirees do you have coming up—and will we be invited? 

J: Of course you’ll be invited, Whalebone! We’ve got a lot of fun things coming up in the city and the Hamptons for the summer. Stay tuned :).

A: No brainer, you’re first on the invite list. We are going to be hosting a Pop-Up Trunk Show in NYC in May. Location TBD! Definitely stay tuned for events in the Hamptons throughout the summer as well. 

If this is tickling your fancy, keep up with Rise City on their bikini-laden kaleidoscope of an Instagram