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For many women, the phrase "swimsuit season" is met with a cringe (at best—worst case scenario being full-blown panic). Between the florescent lighting ("How can my elbows have cellulite?!"), the unflattering mirrors, and the utter intimidation of publicly exposing your bits and pieces before finding the Holy Grail of fits, it's safe to say that fitting rooms can be a harrowing place for perusing this very personal garment.
Now a brand new LA-based brand is taking the anxiety out of swimwear shopping. Tuesday marked the launch of COCODUNE, an e-commerce label that allows customers to try on up to four suits—get this—in the privacy of their own home before committing. And the absence of potential fitting room disasters isn't the only selling point; the line—which offers both mix-and-match tops and bottoms and one-pieces in nine essential styles—utilizes 100% recyclable fabrics that also happen to be super-slimming, and is offered at a reasonable price point (a triangle top is $42, a scoop-neck one-piece is $122).
We got the chance to learn a bit more about Cocodune when we recently chatted with designer Ashli Parker Lee, who expanded on her brand's business model, and shared her opinion on its most festival-ready styles.
How is Cocodune different from ordinary swimwear shopping?
We’ve created the first home try-on experience for swimwear. Universally we felt shopping for swimwear in-store is a loathed experience for women and we wanted to solve for being able to find the perfect suit at home. Secondly, we help women find the perfect fit through our fabric and clean construction. The suits provide extra sculpting for a more flattering fit and retain both their shape and color eight times longer than any other on the market. Best of all, the pieces are 100% recyclable.
This is a totally LA-based line. Why is that important to you?
It’s a huge part of the brand; each swimsuit is designed in Los Angeles, made by hand at our downtown factory. Los Angeles is a city full of creative talent and conveniently mirrors many of our brand's values. We're proud to contribute to this eco-system of makers and dreamers through innovation in the startup community, championing the city as a creative hub and working with the retail trade to establish new standards.
Can you tell us the style you're currently loving for yourself?
The Director DeepV one piece is a favorite, but I have a personal attachment to this piece. The Trouble Hi-Waist is the best nostalgic classic because of our attention to fit and shape. I love to pair the Score Triangle with this as an unpredictable combo.
Coachella sort of kicks off swimsuit season in this town. Any styles you particularly recommend that are great for the festival's pool parties?
Definitely, our suits are designed to extend beyond just the beach, whether that’s into a yoga studio or to a chic event with jeans and heels. The style I’d wear to Coachella is Punch Hi-Neck given its 60s/70s halter styling. I’d also wear any of our bottoms for layering under sheer dresses and skirts, because they fit really well and are soft on the skin. But it’s hard for me to decide—I designed our collection to play nice in a variety of scenarios and the good news is that only our fabric can keep up.
What do you think most women's top concern is when shopping for suits? How can you help with that?
The number one thing we're solving is the universal problem of finding a quality, well-fitting suit at the right price that's delivered in a way that gets around all the pain of shopping in a department store. Additionally, achieving a significantly better standard in fabric, fit and construction was a top priority while creating the collection. Our cuts are designed to lie as flat as possible to offer a seamless silhouette against the skin. We’ve achieved this by as much as 40% over others, in part because of our proprietary, Italian-made luxury fabric. Our fabric’s shape retention technology hugs the body better for a flattering fit that is consistent across all sizing. And all of this lasts for upwards of 20 seasons, unlike 99% of others who use Spandex, which lasts maybe 1, or 2.