Roy Swim web

Pictured: The lace-back high-neck halter with cheeky bottom || Photo Credit Katalyn Voss

A bathing suit designed with you in mind!

By Taryn Duran

August 2016

 

“Start before you are ready.”

That bit of wisdom is how Liane Fitzgerald, a Vineyard native and founder of Roy Swim, a popular island swimsuit company, dives into each day. Growing up in the sand and surf, and working as a lifeguard at Lucy Vincent Beach for 10 years, Liane is no stranger to bathing suits. In fact, lifeguard days is what got Liane started designing creative swimsuits. Blessed with an artistic nature from birth, Liane is always at her best when she is busy creating something with her hands.

That creative drive led Liane to pursue an art major from Bates College in Maine, where she devoted a great deal of her time and talent to printmaking. Surrounded by the ocean her whole life, the subject of her printmaking process was naturally tilled toward sea themes. Liane was soon integrating her sea-inspired screen-printing onto fabrics. The result was a delightful line of wearable leggings and T-shirts made especially for friends.

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Pictured: Custom print in python and charcoal featuring the cross back bralette with hipster cheekies bottom || Photo Credit: White Atlantic Photography

After graduation and uncertain of what career path to pursue, Liane’s wanderlust allowed her to discover her niche. While traveling in Costa Rica, Liane met a woman who made bikinis and it was where she had an epiphany. The simplicity of a business that involved little more than a couple of sewing machines and a modest setup gave Liane the vision to design her own bikini line. Upon returning to the Vineyard after that life-altering trip, Liane began the process of launching her own swimsuit company drawing inspiration from nature, color, and ever-present patterns.

Her previous success of selling screen-printed merchandise, including clothing and bags at various flea markets on the island, Liane was certain this venue would be the best place to showcase her original swimsuits. Her objective was to make the bikinis unique by incorporating art into each bathing suit. After much trial and error, Liane began her endeavor into the world of bikinis and launched Roy Swim.

13412939_1157389074311181_2245727210857865534_nThe company name pays homage to her grandmother, who was also a seamstress. Roy was her grandmother’s maiden name and is also Liane’s middle name. Roy Swim, a short, sweet, and simple name, also reflects the influence Liane’s grandmother’s left her with. Following Roy Swim’s debut, Liane embarked on perfecting the craft of designing swimsuits.

She attended classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, where she took courses in pattern drafting, pattern grading, and sewing and draping. According to Liane, “Making something that fits really well and is comfortable” is the ultimate goal for the brand. Liane has carved her own path in the swimsuit industry. She always keeps her customers in mind while striving to create fun, yet comfortable, suits. Lifeguarding on the beach for “10 hours a day and 40 hours a week, I couldn’t wait to take my bathing suit off at week’s end,” Liane knowingly laughs. That is key among the multitude of reasons her suits are designed with comfort as a top (and bottom) priority.

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Pictured: The lace back bralette || Photo Credit: White Atlantic Photography

As the sole designer of Roy Swim, Liane does all the work herself. From hand drawn patterns and construction of garments, to choosing fabrics and sewing, it is all part of the process Liane painstakingly undertakes with each design. Every Roy Swim design is seamless and reversible. Depending on the style, Liane’s swimsuits take on average about an hour and a half per piece to produce.

Her swimsuit patterns are constantly being altered for the best fit and tailored for each individual customer. Customers are also encouraged to return their suits for as many alterations as needed until they achieve a perfect fit. Talk about guaranteed customer satisfaction! The Roy Swim collection continues to grow thanks to new color combinations, which allow Roy Swim customers a plethora of options to individualize and customize a suit to their liking. The collection includes a selection of several styles, each with a few different cuts and colors. Tops consist of halter back, cross back, lace-back bralettes and more. Bottoms include hipster, high-waisted, and cheeky.

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Pictured: The strappy high-neck halter with skinny cheeky bottom and cross back bralette with hipster cheekies bottom || Photo Credit: Liane Fitzgerald

A true seasoned professional, Liane only makes suits she would wear. Her target market is females between 16 and 40-years-old “who want to wear a cool bathing suit.” Liane’s entrepreneurial spirit is always at work. Her aim is to eventually expand into baby and men’s swimwear.

The Vineyard is a perfect storm that allows start-up companies to succeed, Liane says. Doing things her way has made Liane a swimming success. Indeed, the young and talented designer has created a thriving business from the ground up and accomplished her goal of making handmade bikinis. Roy Swim designs can be found at flea markets throughout the Vineyard. Liane attends three markets a week during the summer. You can also peruse and purchase her designs online at www.royswim.com.

Keep an eye out for Roy Swim bikinis on the beaches this summer!