Navigating the emerging swells in swimwear with Graffiti Beach’s own Melanie Michaud
A fleeting idea. Accruing days of vacation time. Passing on lattes for months to save up. Passport. Tickets. Shots. Pack. Re-pack. Itinerary. Scratch that. Map. Lose it. Re-pack again. Goodbye kisses at the airport. A dash through the terminal with a hastily packed backpack. Three movies, a mini bottle of wine or two, and a seemingly never-ending restless nap. Please remain seated with your seatbelts fastened until the captain has turned off the seatbelt sign.
Then finally: paradise!
The most essential element of an anxiously awaited vacation to an exotic faraway shore or a jaunt to a local beach is the swimsuit. From the soft frothy mist where the water dances with the sand to the punishing waves, there are few roads less traveled than the sea, especially where fashion is concerned.
Melanie Michaud, owner and founder of Graffiti Beach, once traveled down that path as the marketing director of a swimwear company. “Since I was young, I always felt the drive and passion to be an entrepreneur,” she says. “What my specialty has always been is marketing. So I have always wanted to find the perfect way to start a company and utilize my skills as a marketer.”
Fashion design is a difficult industry to get started in and marketing plays a key role, almost equal to design itself. “My experience in a mid-sized beachwear company helped me develop my skill set and also taught me that there was a major need for someone to create a platform for new designers that were just starting out,” Michaud explains.
The evolution of the swimsuit through the years has taken us from under- to overexposed and everything in between. Recently, there has been a demand for styles that translate off the runways and onto the sand, as well as sexy showpieces for the beach bunnies that prefer to bask in the sun. The mark of a great swimsuit, whether a modest one-piece or a scandalous barely-there bikini, is in the way it fits. No article of clothing can provoke as much fear as an ill-fitting swimsuit. With the endless options and innovations, the liberated suit is now one of the most beloved pieces in a summer wardrobe and certainly in one’s suitcase.
“When I entered the industry back in ’07, beachwear had already come along way,” Michaud recalls. “I was lucky enough to have a mentor that had seen the industry from when it had just started to take shape into what it is today. While swimwear started out as being a rare commodity with same-sized tops and bottoms and a few styles to choose from, now bikinis are taking center stage! Some of the most well-known designers are now swimwear designers.”
Though a challenging industry to embark upon, there is a fresh crop of designers taking on the task, many of whom are undeniably talented. “It all makes sense,” she continues. “Who doesn’t like seeing models in sexy swimwear, strutting their stuff down the runway?”
Graffiti Beach Magazine touched base with the people behind four of its favorite emerging brands: PilyQ, Boys+Arrows, Beach Riot and Kovey. Each line incorporates styles that translate off the pages and onto the beach. While each brand varies vastly in aesthetics, they each share a ferocious drive to design and a love for the adventures and amazing times that await those wearing a bikini.
Read the full article in our Summer 2013 issue which allows readers to take a look into the lives and vision of the masterminds behind Graffiti Beach’s favorite emerging bikini brands for 2013.
Written by Crystal Washington // Interview with Melanie Michaud, Graffiti Beach’s Owner // Copy Edited by Christine Pasalo // Photos courtesy of Joseph Tran (Beach Riot), PilyQ, Boys+Arrows and Lucas Passmore (Kovey)