We Talk Cruise ’15 With Wildfox Swim Designer – Leilani Shimoda

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Wildfox Swim’s Cruise ’15 arrival is officially here! This collection is complete with suits inspired by vintage Sports Illustrated issues. There’s a mix of bold and bright 80’s and 90‘s styles — a sure fit for the Galore Girl. We sat down with Wildfox’s Swim and Intimates Designer, Leilani Shimoda. She gave us the insider scoop on the new collection along with advice for all the baby designers out there. Read it all below!

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Wildfox usually tells a story with their collections. What’s the story behind the new Wildfox Cruise ’15 swim line?

Our Creative Director Kim and I grew up together in the 90’s. This line is a nostalgic trip back to those fun times growing up watching supermodels like Claudia Schiffer and Kate Moss. We were listening to Ace of Base and Mariah Carey and wearing bright highlighter colors.

What’s your personal style/aesthetic? Would you consider yourself a Wildfox girl or are your designs a separate version of yourself?

My style is a bit preppier than the Wildfox girl but I definitely embody the whimsical and dreamy spirit. I love collared button-downs with cashmere sweaters, uniforms, loafers and black glasses. I believe I came from the 1960’s and idolize Audrey Hepburn and Jean Shrimpton. I love wearing jumpsuits, long dresses and gold jewelry. I treasure my vintage finds and have an extensive lingerie collection that continues to grow. The Wildfox girl in me really comes out when I can be playful and wear a velvet kitten hat or lace bunny ears to a party. 

How’d you get into design? Is swim your passion or do love to create other garments as well?

I’ve always been encouraged to be artistic. I came from a creative background and I grew up by the beach surfing with my dad. So designing swimwear combines my artistic side with the functional side of making bathing suits that I would wear. I am equally passionate about swimwear and lingerie, but pajamas are starting to eclipse both. I also really love designing coverups and accessories. Basically, if I desire the product I will figure out how to make it. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring designers?

It’s hard work with long hours, but it’s worth it because there’s a genuine response from the customer. I spend a lot of time researching, pulling late nights and worrying, but when the line comes out and girls say that they love a suit or feel great in one of our bikinis it makes it all worthwhile.

There are so many facets of the job. Most importantly, work towards making a product that you love. Continue to gain experience and surround yourself with hardworking, experienced people. Get an education, an internship, a retail job, anything that will go towards learning either in the classroom or in a showroom. Study your customer, a good designer doesn’t just design for themselves. And lastly, the party will always be there. Don’t get FOMO when you’re working hard. I use this mantra a lot. 

If you could only pick one bathing suit to wear from the new collection, which one would it be?

My favorites are the rainbow underwire mermaid shell bikini and the bandage bikinis.

What are your 3 favorite items in your closet right now?

1. Silk Shrimps x Polin Shrimpettes pajamas

2. Vintage 1960’s pink faux fur bedroom slippers 

3. Navy Céline Trio bag

You guys participated in Miami Swim Fashion Week. What’s your favorite memory from the show?

My favorite memory was back stage before the show. All of a sudden a huge thunderstorm with pouring rain hit our tent, soaking all of our guests. It was absolute chaos backstage with loud music, bright lights and cameras flashing, models changing, hair and makeup spraying away. Energy is high and the adrenaline takes over immediately. It’s such a thrill to see all the looks come together and walk down the runway, seeing the audience dancing and having a good time is really exciting too. 

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