What does Kikidoll mean?
Kikidoll is my actual nickname. Kiki is Hawaiian for “water sprite” or “plume of water”. My nickname of Kikidoll seemed the natural choice for my Hawaiian-roots inspired line! My mother had moved to Hawaii with her family as a teenager after her father had spent time there during the war. My parents then met, and married in Honolulu. I learned to swim off the beaches at Waikiki before I could walk. We go back as a family often for reunions - I go every chance I get - it is our “heart home” so I wanted to pay homage to our family heritage.
Give us some background info on the inception of Kikidoll.
Though born in Hawaii, I have actually lived in London for most of my adult life. I started designing in my early teens - all my party dresses were my own “creations” and I eventually sold a line of bespoke cocktail and evening gowns in London before later attending law school. My fashion learning experience in London was unschooled but I worked with some of the most talented and eccentric theatre, opera and film costume designers and professional pattern makers, tailors and cutters I have ever met anywhere. So I learned the craft almost “guild-style” and very much hands-on.
Three years ago, I was intending to come home to the states for only 6 weeks to help care for my terminally ill parents, but I found myself staying here each time for longer and longer periods. The travel back and forth really exhausted me, and unable to pursue my legal profession here while in USA, since I am only qualified to practice in UK but not America, I needed a way to earn an income, if I was going to stay stateside for these extended family visits. I had registered my Kikidoll domain name and drawn sketches and made actual self-sewn prototypes as far back as 2000, but never had either the time or the courage to manufacture swimwear. I finally plucked myself up, and drained my savings, and previewed the Kikidoll label just under three years ago at Miami Swim.
What differentiates your line from the other brands in your industry?
I design and make all my own textile prints and styles myself. I manufacture all my swimwear in USA.
What was your inspiration for your Spring 2012 collection?
Waikiki Wahine is the current collection. I channeled a Hawaiian 60’s-70’s beached-out, surfer chic vibe - faded Madras plaids, tribal tattoo and tropical floral prints, hippie elements of crochet and tie-dye, mid-riff laced-up tops. Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas was my iconic beach girl muse, and the beaches of Waikiki and history of the islands always inform my designs. Looking through the timeline of the evolution of swimwear, the swimsuit has come a looooong way.
Where do you see it going the next 5-10 years?
I hope that swimwear becomes less seasonal in the customers’ eyes, and more interchangeable and worn mixed with clothing but that it retains its swim character and does not take on the lingerie mantle. This is the challenge for swimwear designers.
What do you think are the biggest trends in swimwear right now?
Neon is still huge which I adore since it resonates with my surf roots and my surf line. I see loads of color-blocking, which is easy on the eye and so flattering for all body shapes. And those big girl pants -they’re everywhere this season. And, mercifully, anything Hawaiian with its traditional big floral.
What's next for Kikidoll?
The diffusion line I mentioned –“Kikiwiki” (“wiki” being Hawaiian for quick or fast) - and a children’s line – “Keikidoll” (“keiki” is Hawaiian for children) are launching for 2013. They’ve both been on the planning board for over 2 years but had to be delayed due to both my parents’ recent deaths. I am really excited to be designing matching, coordinated mother/child ensembles, and I have some exciting plans for these lines.
Sorry to hear about your parents’ passing…
Where can Kikidoll be purchased and at what price points?
Specialty boutiques and resort shops, a few online swimwear shops and my site: www.kikidoll.com. Kikidoll retail price points for swimwear range from $166-196.