Peachy Keen Swim is disrupting the swimwear industry one bikini at a time
Story By By Kellie Chudzinski | Photo by Lauren Brown
Despite the fashion industry’s push toward body positivity and size inclusion, one area has lagged behind: swimwear.
Leah Sullivan, Summer Morgan and Delaney Drexler set out to create a swimsuit brand that was rooted in body positivity and empowering for the women wearing their pieces. Their effort to make swimwear that was stylish and comfortable for women of all sizes resonated with 159 supporters from across the world, helping the brand raise $21,000 through a Kickstarter campaign they started with a goal of just $3,000.
The three women met as entrepreneurship majors studying at Loyola Marymount University. When tasked with teaming up to create a business, they quickly realized they wanted to tackle both outdated beauty standards and environmental damage embedded into the typical fast-fashion swimsuit production, head-on.
Much of their mission, as Drexler put it, is to “disrupt this industry.” They want to make it instinctual to think “a bikini body is just a body in a bikini,” and change the industry to be more accepting and realistic about all body types.
“We wanted to see girls that look like us [marketing swimwear],” Sullivan added.
While Morgan and Sullivan are finishing their senior years at LMU, Drexler graduated this May and is balancing the business with being a single mom to her five-year-old son Carter. It was the way her body image changed after becoming a mom that spoke to Drexler when they began to build Peachy Keen.
“Something I really struggled with after having [Carter] was feeling confident enough to put a swimsuit on,” she said. “Because society made me feel like I wasn’t deserving of wearing one.”
Before ever creating a garment the founders set out to build a community empowering women and embracing different sized and abled bodies. Their Instagram, which already boasts over 6,000 followers, often shares positive messages such as “there is no such thing as ideal beauty” and “a woman doesn’t have to be modest to be respected.” Their comments are filled with followers, often women, embracing the messages.
It was this community that the three women then leaned on to design their first suit, known as the Signature Suit. They asked followers what issues they faced when shopping for swimwear, what features made them uncomfortable, and what their ideal suit looked like.
They then took the information straight to the drawing board, designing their first items are what Drexler described as the “hardest aspect” since launching. They finally designed a bikini with high-waisted bottoms and a top that, among other features, has a band that can adjust to expand up to eight inches from the original size.
“I love that this style fits all the different body types. … They really hit the mark on it,” said plus-sized model Alyssa Alexander, who modeled for the brand. “I love what Peachy Keen Swim stands for and the community it is building.”
Sustainability is as deeply rooted in Peachy Keen as their efforts for body positivity. Their products are made locally in Garden Grove, and Morgan described the brand as “slow fashion” — producing as needed to limit waste that comes with over-production, and going sweat-shop free. They specifically chose a manufacturer that treats their employees ethically, providing safe working conditions and fair pay.
The Peachy Keen Swim homepage reads: “Empowering the women who make our suits to the women who wear our suits.”
Though the three divide and conquer as they grow the company — Morgan overseeing production, Sullivan focused on marketing and development, and Drexler on the press — they each have a hand in every aspect and are sure to jump in if another needs help.
Morgan credits good communication for their easy partnership.
“We understand each other,” she says.
Moving forward Sullivan, Morgan and Drexler plan to design more suits. Their next product will use fabric produced by Econyl from recycled water bottles. Sullivan also said they hope to eventually expand beyond swimwear into other modes of fashion.
Contact the company at peachykeenswim.com or follow @PeachyKeenSwim on Instagram.
Ann Drexler says
Wonderful concept and a welcomed change for women who have every changing bodies. I’m excited this generation has grasped the need to style for all women, and stay green.