Riot on the beach, party in the street! With a cheeky mantra, and suits to match, Beach Riot Founder Nicole Hanriot has become a driving force in innovative swimwear design. We met up with Nicole at Beach Riot Headquarters to check out her creative space and get a sneak peek at what’s next for the brand. Read on for the interview + photo tour…
SWELL: First off – tell us, how did you get here?
NICOLE HANRIOT: I started my design career at FIDM, studying product development. I didn’t start out looking to design – I wanted to focus more on the business side. For the final project at FIDM, we were asked to design a collection, and being the last one to pick, I was assigned to swimwear! When I found out, I thought it would be really difficult to design, but as I started, I found that it was a really natural fit for me! After learning more about the business from working with a clothing brand for a few years, I quite my job and just went for it.
SWELL: Any advice for aspiring designers looking to break into the industry? Is there anything you’d do differently if you were able to go back and do it all again?
NICOLE: If you really want to do it – follow your dreams! Being able to work for myself has been something that I’ve always been really grateful for.
Also, network and stay connected to the people who you meet throughout your career, both in and out of the industry.
I don’t really think I would do things differently, you learn as you go so the lessons you learn become very valuable.
SWELL: Making the transition from working for a brand to creating your own brand is a huge step! Tell us, what was the most-challenging part of making that transition? And the BEST part?!
NICOLE: I think the most-difficult part was creating a recognizable brand, so that people would see my designs and know who created them.
The BEST part about it (working for myself) is being able to travel, make my own hours, and just the overall freedom I have in design, etc.
SWELL: Your designs always push the boundaries. Have you ever pulled a design because you thought it was just TOO edgy? ? Tell us what that was if so!
NICOLE: Not really! The collection that is most different from others will for sure be the Summer ’14 collection. It’s very 80’s bling and gold chains. Very different from what I’ve done in the past, but still recognizable as Beach Riot with in colors and cuts.
SWELL: Tell us about the Spring ’14 Collection. Any new cuts/details/prints/trends?
NICOLE: In Spring you can expect to see a lot of laser cut-outs, vintage prints, beading, and a custom-made knit fabric. We also just launched a SUNGLASSES line. They are super girly and pink, and tie in with the suits really well.
SWELL: What’s your favorite go-to bikini in your arsenal?
NICOLE: My go-to would be a classic black, skimpy bikini, which is surprising because I design so bright. The scalloped SCF x Beach Riot bikini from Spring ’13 is one of my favorites.
SWELL: We always look forward to seeing your “Music Monday’s.” Can you make us a short “Get Psyched for Spring ’14” playlist?
SWELL: If you had to pick on quote or saying that embodies the Beach Riot girl/brand or company culture, what would it be?
NICOLE: Riot on the Beach, Party in the Streets
MORE ABOUT NICOLE:
* I never leave home without: Diet Coke.
* My novelty license plate holder would read: “I’d Rather Be Shopping.”
* If I weren’t making bikinis, I’d probably be: styling.
* My guilty pleasure: Shoes
* The best part of my job is: seeing people wearing Beach Riot!
Check out Nicole’s latest designs at SWELL: Shop Beach Riot Swimwear