This week I visited the headquarters (a cute beach shack in Malibu) of Frankie’s Bikinis. At the young age of 18, the owner and designer of Frankie’s bikinis, Francesca Aiello, has successfully created her own swimwear company and designed her first swimwear collection, with the next collection not far away. Inspired by her travels and love for the ocean and surf, her bikinis are so unique and absolutely perfect. Not only was I able to get a glimpse of the upcoming collection and a tour of her creative offices, Francesca also showed off her favorite bikini while taking me on a trek to one of the prettiest beaches in Malibu. Hope you are as inspired as I am by this young bikini lover.
Read on for a behind the scenes look at Frankie’s Bikinis and Francesca’s design inspirations
Designing a label typically involves many people and is a collaborative effort. Who are your behind-the-scenes stars?
FA: Mimi, my mom, is the behind-the-scenes star of Frankie’s Bikinis. She handles all the financials and sourcing while I do all the designing and social media.
How would you describe your designs?
FA: I believe my designs are both simple and sexy. I wanted to create a swimwear line that was the perfect combination of being beachy yet incredibly sexy at the same time. I believe a girl can feel confident wearing our suits while walking down the beach or paddling out for a quick surf session.
(Above: Francesca in the Mistos Bikini )
When you sit down to design a new collection, where do you start looking for inspiration?
FA: I am inspired by Malibu girls. When I am at the beach in Malibu and see all the different swimwear styles on the beach I think of new ideas for my own suits.
How do you set the mood for designing? (I.e. food, music, setting)
FA: Definitely food! My mom and I order food, make sure the house is completely quiet, and then sit down to collaborate and discuss ideas for new designs.
You started designing your suits in high school, what made you want to start your own business and swimsuit line?
FA: I have been absolutely obsessed with swimwear since I was little. I actually told my mom I wanted to have a Brazilian bikini when I was still in elementary school! Since I basically live in my bikinis I have always had a huge swimwear collection and for a long time I had my bikinis custom made in Hawaii. My friends all came over and ended up stealing all of my bikinis and it was then that I realized I should start designing my very own bikinis and so I just went for it!
Designing a swim line is a year-round, time consuming task, how do you make time to get away and take a break? What is your favorite way to relax or unwind?
FA: I am lucky enough to work only steps away from the beach, so whenever I am stressed and need a break I run down and jump in the water… saltwater always helps me!
What are some of the perks of being your own boss and the only designer for Frankie’s Bikinis?
FA: I love having tons of bikinis and lots of options. I also definitely work better as my own boss and could never imagine having to work in an office or a job without the same flexibility as owning your own business.
When thinking about the collection you are currently designing, what are you most excited about?
FA: Everything! The fabrics and extremely detailed suits are going to be amazing. I definitely focused on creating detailed suits for this next collection.
Many times designers are inspired by their travels, is this true for you? What places have most inspired you and your designs?
FA: Kauai!!! I love the beachy lifestyle of Hawaii. In many ways Kauai reminds me of Malibu. I love that you can go to the market barefoot wearing only a bikini and fit in perfectly with everyone around you.
Have you ever spotted your designs in public? How does this make you feel?
FA: Yes! I love it so much. It is so great seeing how all of my hard work has paid off and that people love the designs just as much as I do.
How would you describe your personal style?
FA: I always go for the simple and sexy look. You’ll usually find me wearing boyfriend jeans, a crop top, and cute heels.
What would be your perfect day?
FA: I would wake up, make a smoothie, workout, spend the entire day on the beach, and end it with sushi at NOBU in Malibu.
…CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM FRANKIE’S DESIGN STUDIO IN MALIBU…
Check out Francesca’s designs – now at SWELL: Frankie’s Bikinis