Starting A Swimwear Brand In Vancouver: MARINA SWIM

Our Journey in the Swimwear Industry So Far …

Hi, I’m Carley I am the founder and designer of Marina Swim. I always get the question how/when did you start Marina Swim and how did it become what it is today? So I thought I could hop on here and address some of your questions.

Casting for the Vancouver Swim Fashion Show, 2019

Casting for the Vancouver Swim Fashion Show, 2019

The idea of Marina Swim formed almost 3 years ago while I was completing my diploma in Fashion Marketing at the Wilson School of Design in Richmond, BC. It actually started as a school project, that following summer I started experimenting with making my own swimwear via youtube tutorials and realized I was actually pretty good at it but I wasn’t a huge fan of the process of cutting fabric and sewing.

During the summer of 2017 Marina Swim wasn’t yet a business, it was really just me selling a couple of bikinis I made to friends that really liked them. Our first official year in business was the summer of 2018 when I realized that a lot of my friends and people I didn’t even know really liked my suits but I just didn’t have the time or skill to make them quickly enough which is when I teamed up with Patricia.

Patricia was at the time a 3rd year fashion design student at the Wilson School of Design. When I realized my demand and that I needed help I reached out to the fashion design program coordinator asking if she could help me find someone to make my suits and that is how I met Patricia. Patricia hand-made all the suits that we sold in 2018 and also the suits we showed at our first year at the Vancouver Swim Fashion Show in 2018.

Tatiana & I / Los Angeles, 2019

Tatiana & I / Los Angeles, 2019

Speaking of the Vancouver Swimwear Fashion Show in 2018 that is also where I met my partner in crime, my other half in business and pretty much everything else as well, Tatiana. We actually met earlier through Instagram (we’re still fighting over about who slid into whose DM’s) but we met officially in person at the fashion show in and from there we pretty much became inseparable. She became Marina Swim’s social media manager, one of our main models, and helps with everything photoshoot related and honestly Marina Swim would not be what it is without her.

Quick View

Which brings us to this year, 2019. Patricia was going into her final year of the design program this year and didn’t have the time to make suits anymore, and our demand was higher than ever before so we had to make the switch up to a manufacturer.

Finding a manufacturer for someone like me who didn’t really know much about the manufacturing process was probably one of the greatest challenges I faced this year with Marina (let me know if you’re interested in hearing about the manufacturing process in the comments below!), but through trial and error I was able to find an ethical manufacturer in China that I am VERY happy with.

Something I love about working on Marina Swim is that I’m able to meet so many ladies (and a few guys) in the industry whether it be as a model, photographer, make up artist, hair dresser, I’ve been able to create a network of creatives and friends who love coming together for photoshoots and are just as passionate as I am.

We just recently participated in our second year at the Vancouver Swim Fashion Show and completed our first ever pop up shop. I started Marina Swim because I know how hard it can be to find flattering swimwear and feel confident in a bikini and it genuinely makes me so happy knowing I’m able to help women feel confident and sexy in our suits.

If you have any other questions feel free to leave a comment below or slide into my DM’s @carleybardaro!

Special Thank You everyone who has helped in the creation of MARINA SWIM: Piero Bardaro, Tatiana Shanks, Sharon Greeno, Jennifer Rainnie, Elizabeth Morelos, & Patricia Roque.

Honourable mention to amazing creatives that have worked with us: Maddie Johnson (Make up), Sara Schell (Hair), Terri Ng (photographer), Sahil Mroke (photographer), Caleigh Mayer (photographer @galai_studios) & all the models we have worked with.