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Birdie Jo

by Yvette Coleman

Birdie Jo enters spring '09 with a collection inspired by the spirit of travel as seen through the reflections of designer, Rebecca Fink.  The collection mixes influences from , the Caribbean and as far south as .  Birdie Jo is classic, sexy, and timeless while still being edgy, playful, and pop inspired.


This brand feels good the moment you try it on, the fit is flattering to various body types. Birdie Jo is playful yet sophisticated with high quality fabric choices and trims.  Three words that best describe the collection are forward, flattering and luxurious.


The celebrity that best embodies your brand:

I'm stuck somewhere between Elizabeth Taylor and Edie Sedgwick. 


Is there major difference in swimwear collection as far as regions?  Are American collections different from Brazilian collections?

I suppose the location of the designer influences the design of the collection. The saturation of Mid-Century architecture and design combined with the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles directly influences my design aesthetic.


American collections are absolutely different than Brazilian collections.  The American swimsuit is much more modest in regard to both fit and embellisments.  American's tend to shy away at the little coverage a Brazilian beach-goer deems necessary.


Most American swimwear lines use embellishments to some extent, and generally to accent the style of the suit.  It seems minimal in comparison to Brazilian collections, where ornamentation is blatant.  Brazilian swimwear is festive, rich with embroidery and trimmings.  Both countries have some really amazing swimwear collections, but they are exceptionally different.


Tell us about the fabric choice.  Is there anything that would surprise us?

I'm fabric obsessed.  I like to be as experimental as possible, while still keeping in mind comfort and functionality.


I use both knit and woven fabrics.  The fibers in both must meet high standards to ensure long lasting stretch for our suits.  Knits are most common in swimwear, so I try to find ones that stand out by having interesting detail in their finishings.  Last year we introduced “Ace” a shiny black fabric.  The high level of luminance is created during production at the mill by applying heat to the face of the fabric, essentially melting the top of it.  This year we introduced “Swords”, which is a lightweight black fabric that is embossed with a basket-weave pattern.  I love the look of embossed fabrics.  I think it's really fresh.


The woven are fascinating to me.  I love the structure of these fabrics; I even use some that are in a twill structure, the same type of structure as denim.  Wovens are very sturdy and allow for bright, vibrant colors and unique textures.  They sew up with a very sophisticated aesthetic and the suits look like little garments.


Does the "eco-conscious" movement affect your collection?

“Eco-conscious” stems from what is happening through globalization in regards to human rights and ethics. In terms of staying responsible, Birdie Jo manufactures domestically and purchases all fabrics from Europe.  Although this is greatly reflected in the prices, it provides immense quality control of the brand.  Domestic manufacturing allows us to closely monitor production, provides work for the American labor force, ensures safe working conditions, and fair wages.

By purchasing European fabrics, Birdie Jo supports the high-end, family run, fabric mills of Europe. Rather than switching to whatever is cheaper, our interest is maintaining a company that can pride itself in the integrity of its product.  The European fabric market has suffered greatly due to outsourcing in Asia.  Hundred-year-old companies are continually closing their doors and stopping development due to the competition they are receiving when their customers take samples to Asia and have them cheaply recreated.  By continuing as a customer of European goods we allow ourselves to use the most beautiful, inventive and high quality goods.



What are some of the more popular styles of swimwear that you sell?

We did really well with the suit that was blasted in the tabloids all last summer on Audrina Patridge of The Hills.  It's a retro, color-blocked suit in a “Tatiana Bottom” (hipster brief) and the “Trixie ” (triangle top).  Another favorite is the “Corsica”, which is a thick, tie-side bottom.  For whatever reason, people love our bandeaus.  Specifically, the “Bella” and the “Ashley”.  The “Bella” ties in the front so you can open it up for tanning or tie it around your neck to take a wave.  The “Ashley” has a removable strap and looks amazing on everyone.


What advice would you give women whose bodies may not be the “model-type”, but who want to wear your collection?

I would tell them to buy something from our collection.  Our sizes range from 0-12.  I have seen girls of all heights and weights find one Birdie Jo suit that works for them. I think the most flattering suit for all body types is our “Corsica” bottom and our “Ashley” bandeau.   The “Corsica” is a seamless bottom that has thick ties on both sides.  The “Ashley” bandeau which, sans underwire, still does a great job as I have first hand witnessed on two of my girlfriends with cup size D.


Available at Gone Bananas in San Diego is a great store.  The suits range from $100-$240.


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