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Hawaii's Beach Beauties

by Sofroina Timmons

If your world is virtually made up of sun, a beach, sand and a killer swimsuit that means you’re living in Hawaii and wearing “Beauty and the Beach” swimwear - - great swimwear that fits your frame perfectly, takes you back to memories of summer bonfires, wave running and hanging loose with friends. No matter what age, Beauty and the Beach swimwear invigorates the youth in your genes. Turning heads, dropped jaws and perhaps a few amateur paparazzos will confirm your question “How do I look?”, when you’re wearing a “Safari Blue” line designed by Sara McKusick; the “Chicks with Sticks” line (cool hip tees to pair with any bikini bottom) designed by co-owner Tami Snodgrass; a “Tiger Lily” line designed by Linda Whigham; including jewelry designers “Jules” Jewels and “Ginger 13” and several more lines that are featured online at

In December 2008, owners Katie Wilson and Tami Snodgrass launched their label featuring their own line of swimwear and beach accessories and introduced the market products from fellow Hawaiian talent. Both Katie and Tami envisioned a company that would globally promote Hawaiian fashion, jewelry and accessories instead of leaving the responsibility of “word of mouth” to tourism from Hawaii.

“Hawaii is home to so many wonderful designers of swimwear, clothing, and jewelry. We feel our new line of swimsuits and jewelry compliments that, and by offering products from other local designers we are giving fellow Hawaiian-based designers an opportunity to promote their creations seen on the mainland and beyond. We love the traditions, culture and style of the Hawaii Islands. We are proud to help promote the lifestyle we love, and put these great products out there for everyone to enjoy,” says Katie.

What does the name “Beauty and the Beach” come from?
Beauty and the Beach is playful and states exactly how every woman should feel in her swimwear – like the most gorgeous girl on the beach.

How did you get started in the swimwear fashion industry?
It was a combination of a love of fashion, a desire to start my own business, and spending the vast majority of my free time in a swimsuit on Maui beaches.

What do you think are the biggest swimwear trends right now spring 2010?
Scrunch back bottoms are everywhere. There seems to be quite a feminine feel to most of the designs this season with lots of ruffles.

How does Beauty and the Beach maintain a competitive edge?
Yes, it is a huge market! To tell you the truth, I really try not to think about the competition, it would be too overwhelming since my label is still so young and there are some huge labels out there. The way we stand out is mainly by not allowing trends to dictate what will happen with the collection. There are some trends that may be part of my inspirations but I will not let it determine what the collection will be about. I think that’s the only way to stay fresh and set you apart. You really have to stick with what you think is best for your brand and not let the industry guide you or you can easily get lost in a very large crowd.

Do you agree that the economic times call for minimalist designs?
I definitely don’t agree that economic times call for minimalist designs. If anything, I feel like this is the time to live loud with our fashion choices since we are supposed to be reserved with our financial choices and perhaps aren’t able to do all of the things we used to. Of course just like any fashion industry the swimwear industry is directly affected by the economy, but I believe the way around it is to provide beautiful designs women can feel confident in while not breaking the bank.

What’s the process when coming up with a design for your swimwear line?
It’s an ongoing process. I have inspiration notebooks and corkboards all over my house and office filled with post-its of random ideas and magazine clippings of all sorts of things. When it comes time to design the next season I lay out everything I’ve got and start piecing together a puzzle. There’s a whole lot of brainstorming, wine drinking and style nixing, but eventually something comes together. What I like to wear on the beach is what I design. I love going either really girly girl with some sexiness thrown in or very sexy with some girly girl in the mix. For a style to get the go-ahead it will have to be something I want to wear and it absolutely must be flattering on!

What does your design house do during the winter off-season?

Unfortunately there really isn’t an off-season because we have to have everything ready for next year around this time. This was my rookie mistake last year, I thought I had plenty of time to get the line ready but I quickly learned that there are many steps besides just designing that have to be done way ahead of time.


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