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Out Of Office: Five Minutes on Swimming with Gina Esposito.
Gina Esposito started Nu Swim at the beginning of 2015 and her seasonless bathing suits have been making our one piece dreams come true ever since. With its perfectly muted colors and performance fabrics made to withstand either a 400 meter relay or a day lazing by the ocean, the tightly edited line is seriously making us rethink our idea of swimwear. We spent five minutes talking chlorine, loose suits, and sneaking into hotel pools…
Q / Hi Gina! Hope you’re having a good day! How do you usually start your morning?
A / My morning routine definitely starts with me wanting to kill my boyfriend, but as soon as I’m out of bed, it’s make the bed, then coffee and breakfast time. One egg, mushrooms, garlic, parsley over some sunflower sprouts and arugula and avocado. Then I try to go on a long morning walk to get my brain organized. Lately I’ve been deep in production and shipping, so the walks have been less frequent – it’s definitely a big difference to make time for that. Not having the distraction of your stuff around is so helpful in getting organized before the madness starts. And I’m always working, so this is a really important part of my day. When I come back to my workspace, I put the music right on and get to work. Everyday is different…some days it’s running around to meet with my manufacturer and store drop-offs with lots of Led Zeppelin, other days it’s lots of emails and shipping, keeping up with my invoices and expenses, re-branding, designing, organizing, errands, planning, editing (this usually involves Arthur Russell, Brian Eno and Kate Bush – they keep me organized and inspired); it never ends. I’m so lucky and grateful to be on my own schedule right now. It’s a lot of stress, but has been such an incredible learning experience.
“Not having the distraction of your stuff around is so helpful in getting organized before the madness starts.”
Q / Nu-swim has such a clear identity even though this is only your first year in business. Can you tell us a bit about your inspirations and how they translate into your work? What were your points of reference for your first collection and how did they evolve into the final product?
A / I was a swimmer and ballet dancer growing up, an artist too, and a total maximalist in my early 20s. My grandfather is an architect and artist, and has been such a huge inspiration to me – he is a super proud New Yorker and an incredibly interesting and informative man. He can be a total eccentric in both work and life…yet completely intelligent about design, and was always (i mean always) educating us in design, art, film and architecture, so that was a huge door opening into this world for me. I think the past ten years i’ve been trying to clean up and narrow down, while hoarding and releasing all at the same time, like a kid in a candy shop. When I started dating my partner, who is Swedish, and a total minimalist (yet very messy), I really learned how to reduce and put together what I know is good in a more thoughtful way. Now I can’t stop figuring out the perfect way things should go together. I am totally obsessed – and being a designer, I think you need that obsession in you. Point of the story is…if you mash-up a swimmer and a ballet dancer, you get the Straight One Piece.
“I think the past ten years i’ve been trying to clean up and narrow down.”
Q / How did you come up with the name Nu Swim?
A / Nu means nude in a few languages. It’s light, and there isn’t anything extra. It’s nude (almost).
Q / What is your editing process like? Are there a lot of crumpled paper (basket) balls involved or is it more (or less) civilized than that?
A / Ahhh, editing. Design is so much fun. It takes you back to your younger brain and imagination, one thing leads to another and inspires the next…but you always have to edit. You sort of just know when it’s time to remove…things don’t feel right, so you try to make them feel right. I definitely have a clear vision going in, and all the buzzing in your head goes in too, but you know what feels right and doesn’t. I mean, it’s definitely a learning process. There are totally things that I put in my first collection that I wish I’d had more time to edit, but now that I’ve launched, succeeded and gotten into the flow, I have the power to be more careful.
“Design is so much fun. It takes you back to your younger brain and imagination, one thing leads to another and inspires the next…but you always have to edit.”
Q / Was there a lot of testing that went on while you were developing the line…some sort of deep salt water immersion pool? In terms of a percentage, what is the chance of swimsuit lose via ocean wave crash while wearing Nu Swim?
A / I am a swimmer, so I was swimming laps a lot in the suits (saline and salt water only). It was important for me to have that function on top of the perfect form and lines. I am so used to sizing down with swimsuits, so when people say “I like it to fit big and a little loose on me,” I know that they were not on a swim team. So…they might eventually have problems with the suit falling down or off. I mean, you shouldn’t really treat it like you would an oversized dress. It’s a very intimate object on your body, so it should fit you and hold you, but to each their own! Also, word of advice: NEVER put a swimsuit in the washing machine, dryer, or high heat, and try to reduce your chlorine swimming to a very low amount. It’s not only good for your swimsuit, but good for you too.
Q / Last but not least, where is the weirdest place you’ve worn a swimsuit?
A / I don’t know if this is weird, but I’ve always worn swimsuits under my clothes – I am actually wearing one right now. I also always carry a swimsuit with me, just in case. Sometimes I’ll be out having drinks with friends and I’ll get the urge to sneak into a fancy hotel pool…let’s hope I never grow out of that phase.
“I am a swimmer, so I was swimming laps a lot in the suits (saline and salt water only). It was important for me to have that function on top of the perfect form and lines.”