As Alicia Rountree says, she could swim before she could walk, and so, it is only natural then, that this beach babe would turn to swimwear design. There are many strings to Rountree’s bow, as not only is she a model (for the likes of Victoria’s Secret) she’s also a restaurateur, as well as the founder of eco-conscious swimwear brand, ALICIA SWIM.
Her collection is all about simple, well-cut and flattering one-pieces, bikinis, and oh-so-glamorous kaftans. When it comes to materials, her line is crafted from high-performance, sustainable, eco-friendly Italian fabrics. Expect prints inspired by marine life and the tropics, along with timeless block colours, that have been designed to be mixed and matched. From the catwalk to the beach, Alicia talks about her fashionable career.
I basically grew up in a bikini. Having spent my childhood growing up in Mauritius, I have also modelled swimwear a lot during my career, including for Victoria’s Secret. I was never satisfied with the cuts and wanted to create flattering shapes that are beautiful, while not creating any harm to the planet.
How would you sum up the aesthetic of your brand?
I design the suits on myself to make sure every cut is in the right place to make them as flattering as possible. The colour palette was initially inspired by the vivid colours of the Mauritian flag. For the Resort collection launching next week, l’île Sauvage, signature prints were reinvented by adding new colours, including some contrast tones of sunrise orange and royal ocean blue.
What are the pillars of your brand?
Definitely the concept of mixing and matching solids and prints to create unique and timeless looks. Sustainability is always at the core, from labels to the packaging to the way we work. All our ethical production embraces the work of Mauritian local artisans and a percentage of our sales goes to the MMCS (Mauritius Marine Conservation Society) which assists in protecting the ocean. A big part of sustainability is also in the quality of the products, having an item that you can cherish for a lifetime – not just a season.
Tell us about the process and materials that you use.
It all began with Econyl, a sustainable Lycra made out of recycled fishing nets. All prints are hand-painted by me and printed in Italy by high-quality manufacturers that use 50% less water than regular printing. Each season we add in new innovative textures such as printed cotton terry or a waffled textured Econyl.
What influences feed into your designs?
The picturesque beauty from Mauritius is a never-ending inspiration while ’90s iconic supermodels such as Cindy Crawford or Claudia Schiffer inspire the silhouettes and names of the models.
What was on your mood board for the resort 2020 line?
The raw, untouched beauty of the volcanic Mauritian landscapes. Slightly darker sensual colours inspired by the mysterious rocks were combined with brighter contrasts for eye-catching details throughout the collection. All pieces are easily mixable with signature ALICIA SWIM styles, this way we highlight the durability and timelessness of the collections.
From model to designer, what lessons have you learned from the fashion industry?
Frequent travelling and intense work schedules have taught me to be dynamic and always forward-thinking when it comes to sustainability or the sourcing of innovative materials. Having had the opportunity to meet many diverse women globally has inspired me to design specifically tailored to their needs when it comes to comfort and aesthetic.
Where can we buy the collection?
Our direct e-commerce ships globally, we sell at exclusive hand-picked resorts such as The One and Only, Four Seasons and La Reserve in Saint Tropez etc. In London, we sell at Salt boutique and are currently in talks with major retailers for a niche expansion.
Shop the collection online at aliciaswim.com.