Q&A: Gina of NU SWIM

Swimsuit season is here and our eyes have turned to all things stretchy, strappy and sand-worthy. We’ve noticed a real change in attitude when it comes to swimwear recently; fiddly straps, fussy shapes and pointless ties are going out of favour in the place of a more streamlined style. There’s a handful of brands who are doing it really, really well, and NU SWIM are fronting up the ranks.

With their simple shaped cossies in a range of covetable colours, NU SWIM are so on point they’ve barely disappeared off our Pinterest feeds all year. This is partly down to their beautiful swimsuits, but also wholly due to their fautless art direction and imagery (next level moodboard-worthy). Designed and produced in sunny Cali, we had to get in touch with the brand’s founder, Gina Esposito, to find out a little more about how NU SWIM are making waves.

How did NU SWIM first come to life and what was the initial idea behind it?

I was feeling really unsatisfied with my career path - I kept taking one corporate design job after the next - at the beginning of my career the exciting design jobs were so few and far in between, so I ended up going down the corporate route to be able to survive. I never envisioned myself being such a small piece in a puzzle. I had wanted to start my own thing for some time, but could never grasp a concept that I could afford - I always wanted a full line including swim. I was having a fun time with friends sneaking into hotel pools or traveling far and wide to discover places to swim, so I was known to always have multiple swimsuits on hand at any given moment. I was laying on the couch one evening contemplating my career and it came to me to start with swim, create a world around this lifestyle that I love and focus on a niche that I could really speak to and show off to the world, if that makes sense.

Did you have any previous design-based experience before you launched the brand?

Yes! I studied Fashion Design at FIT in New York, graduated in 2006 and designed in the industry for 10 years before launching the brand. I do all of the pattern making and tech specs and work closely with my factory on sampling and production. I’m 100% in and hands on. It is very overwhelming, but I hired an assistant last year who works part time and an intern started this year and works one day a week. Not sure how I could do it without them. We handle all customer service and shipping, but I am finally learning how to trust and let go of some aspects, they take over and are such fast learners - sometimes I need a vacation too!

We love your shoots, Instagram and super strong imagery. How important is aesthetic to NU SWIM?

Thank you! Luckily, art direction and branding are amongst my passions, so to be able to do that on my own terms are just some of the perks.. so glad to hear you and so many are enjoying it as much as I do.

What should a swimsuit be?

Simple, multi-functional and comfortable to wear. I know that sounds really basic, but because I’ve been living in swimwear beneath my clothing since I was very young, the concept makes complete sense to me.

And what shouldn’t it be?

Fussy, itchy, irritating, too loose, too tight, uncomfortable. Obviously what you swim in has a factor in all of this and we unfortunately will not cure your skin of stickiness after swimming in the sea, but hope to make you as comfortable as possible.

Can you describe the kind of girl you’re catering to?

Someone who is adventurous, but likes the simple things in life. I am definitely not a simple person, I really do love stuff….so having a swimsuit that has everything I need, makes my life easier.

What do you do to unwind?

I try to take the day off and drive up to Bolinas (Northern California) every Sunday - I turn my phone on airplane mode and don’t check emails until Monday morning, that’s one of my favourite ways to unwind. Also - cooking, music on the loudest possible volume, walking with no agenda, dinner and drinks with good friends, design research.

And finally, how important are ethics and sustainability to your brand?

Very important! I worked in corporate design for a long time, and it really made me realise how closely I want to be to my product. When I was working corporate design, from start to finish there were too many steps that I became uninvolved in and that is not why I became a designer. I want to be there every step of the way, bettering the lives of those who I work with by learning from each other and reminding each other that we are not curing diseases. I usually spend 2-3 days per week at my factory and have an incredible relationship with them. The more I show them I care, the more they care about my product and the better they become at their jobs. That is most important to me. I am not saving lives, but hoping to better the lives of those I work with, even if we are a small piece in the world!

Thanks for chatting to us Gina! For all things NU SWIM, head over to their website.

SS16 Lookbook images:
Art direction: Nastassia Bruckin + Gina Esposito
Styling: Gina Esposito
Photography: Nastassia Bruckin
Model: Dara Peterkin
Makeup: Rita Lee Burton
Assistants: Hannah Bossmark + Fennis Brown

Part II images:
Art direction: Nastassia Bruckin + Gina Esposito
Photographer: Nastassia Bruckin
Model: Kyle Beechey

Share this:

More From The Journal

  1. Astrology with Daliah Roth: Aquarius

    We rejoin our resident astrologer Daliah Roth, who is guiding us through one of the zodiac’s most opinionated, knowledgable and bohemian signs - Aquarius.

    More +
  2. Reduced Waste Hair Care

    Get the lowdown on Glasshouse Salon’s new reduced waste service and follow these five simple steps to make your hair care routine more eco friendly.

    More +
  3. Astrology with Daliah: Capricorn

    As we ease into a new decade, we turn to Daliah Roth, The Highgate Astrologer, for a closer look at the ambitious, organised and practical Capricorn.

    More +
  4. The Glasshouse Guide to a Conscious Christmas

    From zero waste wrapping to dropping the turkey from your Christmas dinner, here’s the Glasshouse guide to making your festive season more eco-friendly.

    More +
  5. A Sustainable Department Store, Edition No. 2

    Everything you need to know about Edition No. 2 of A Sustainable Department Store, plus some top tips on how you can shop more sustainably this Christmas from our independent makers.

    More +
  6. Astrology with Daliah Roth: Sagittarius

    As we being to approach the final month of the year, we turn to Daliah Roth, The Highgate Astrologer, to tell us more about the free-spirited nature that defines Sagittarius.

    More +
  7. Sustainable Sleep Rituals

    ​From ethically sourced loungewear to low waste makeup removal, we speak to some eco-conscious bloggers about all the ways you can practice good sleep hygiene without harming the planet.

    More +
  8. Masterclass: Air-drying Curls

    Winter has definitely arrived and with it brings a shift in the way we care for our hair. On balmier days we welcome air drying our curly hair, but in the depths of winter this is less appealing. With the help of Glasshouse Salon stylist Tori’s expert advise, we’ve got some tips for achieving a frizz-free curly style throughout the colder months.

    More +
  9. Astrology with Daliah Roth: Scorpio

    As our mornings and evenings get darker and the clocks turn back this weekend, we are entering the beginning of Scorpio season and have once again enlisted the help of Daliah Roth, The Highgate Astrologer, to tell us all about this illusive and intriguing sign.

    More +
  10. Gender Neutral Prices

    As we launch a new gender neutral price list that makes hair cuts and colour the same for both men and women, we’re take a look at some of the other industries affected by the so called ‘pink tax’ and why many women end up paying more than men for the same products.

    More +
  11. Astrology with Daliah Roth: Libra

    ​Autumn is officially here and with it comes the beginning of Libra season. Balanced, social and often romantic, Daliah Roth of The Highgate Astrologer helps us delve deeper into the qualities of this sign.

    More +
  12. Hair Trend: Slicked Back

    From Molly Goddard to Roland Mouret, we spotted the slicked back look all over the SS20 catwalks. Though the style may seem more high fashion than everyday, hair that’s swept of the face is surprisingly flattering and easy to achieve. With help from our Senior Stylist Mel, we’ve put together some tips on the bold yet sophisticated trend.

    More +
  13. Plastic-Free Periods

    ​As more and more alternative period products become available, we chat to four real women to hear their experiences transitioning from conventional feminine care to more sustainable and healthy options.

    More +
  14. The Glasshouse Guide to Beauty Recycling

    The rules around recycling can be difficult to decipher most of the time, but recycling our beauty products seems to be an even more confusing area. In celebration of Zero Waste Week, we’ve put together the definitive guide to reusing, recycling, and refilling our bathroom waste.

    More +
  15. Astrology with Daliah Roth: Virgo

    As the summer starts winding down, we’re entering into Virgo season. Practical and humble, we find out more about Virgo’s traits as we continue our Astrology series with Daliah Roth, The Highgate Astrologer.

    More +
  16. Beauty Trend: Orange

    Bold and zesty, orange makeup is having a moment this summer. Whether you’re up for experimenting or are a little more reserved, we’ve got some tips on how to wear the shade in a way that suits you with the help of our in-house makeup artist Emily.

    More +
Load more posts