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Under The Sea

By Teresa Kocovic

Boston-based swimwear designer Karina Bresnahan had a colorful start with the fashion industry. Bresnahan was always interested in a creative career and began with cosmetology.

“While going to hair school, I realized I loved creating and designing. From there I proceeded to the School of Fashion Design [in Boston],” said Bresnahan.

There, Bresnahan realized her niche was in swimwear apparel design. Bresnahan grew up in Massachusetts and feels strong pride for Boston; she said the local designers support one another. However, Bresnahan does find designing for Boston’s climate to be a bit difficult.

“The challenge with Boston is that we only have three months of summer!” said Bresnahan.

Bresnahan creates a new collection once a year, but she eventually hopes to produce more. All the pieces from her collections are made entirely by her in her studio. In particular, she is known for her very colorful patterned swimwear. She takes inspiration from everything around her; Bresnahan’s most recent collection takes inspiration from nature and uses jewel and desert tones. This collection is different from her other collections because it consists of mostly solid-colored pieces.

“I wanted to create a collection of tops and bottoms that could be mixed and matched,” said Bresnahan.

For the first time, Bresnahan has veered away from cover-ups and has focused more on tops and bottoms. Bresnahan’s collection focuses on the woman’s body. The collection features silhouettes that celebrate the curves of the female figure. Bresnahan’s pieces stand out from classic swimwear with her use of cutouts, topstitching, and other bold techniques. Bresnahan hinted that she may have a few surprises in her new collection.

Bresnahan’s price point ranges from $100 to $400; she said her garments are created for “professional young women who are mostly going on relaxing vacations, honeymoons and cruises. They like to look and feel great.” Bresnahan loves to play with juxtaposition, such as high necks with open backs or high waists with cheeky bottoms. She hopes to create a resort-wear collection and branch out into men’s and children’s wear.

“In the future, I would love to get into leather. I think leather jackets are so cool!” said Bresnahan.

Recently, Bresnahan has been mostly working with spandex textiles. Most of the materials she uses now are samples that she personally selects from New York, but she hopes to eventually have her own graphics printed onto her fabrics. Bresnahan’s favorite material, however, is chiffon; she uses this fabric in many of her cover-ups. She believes the more layers added, the better the piece.

Trends in swimwear apparel are always evolving. When Bresnahan was asked what trends she saw emerging, she said, “I’ve been seeing neons, color-blocking, lots of straps across the bust. Black trim is being seen all over. I think the black trim pushes the look towards sporty, which is cool. Also ruffles! Ruffles are back and I don’t hate them. They add a great texture and volume if placed correctly.”

Many women feel insecure and exposed when challenged to wear swimwear that is unforgiving to the body, but Bresnahan believes every woman can gain the confidence to rock a swimsuit with the right cut.

“I love all swimsuit silhouettes; it all depends on the body you’re dressing,” said Bresnahan.

One of Bresnahan’s goals is to help women love themselves. “Swimwear is important, because for most women, including myself, it’s when we feel most vulnerable. If I can make a woman feel beautiful and confident in my suits then I’ve done my job,” said Bresnahan.

Karina Bresnahan Swimwear can be found online through Bresnahan’s Instagram (@kb4swim) and Facebook page. 

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