You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Every body is a beach body,” right? Still, navigating the heat can be challenging. This week, Well + Good is publishing All Bodies Are Beach Bodies – a realistic guide to preparing for the summer to help you maintain your confidence, embrace fun movement, manage sweat, create meaningful memories, and find the main swimming suit inspiration for summer. .
Anyone wearing a bikini can tell you that finding the perfect suit is a laborious, perhaps frustrating process. If you’re brave enough to try it out at the store, you have unique mirrors, lighting, and dressing room attendants to deal with. Online, well, who knows what comes in the mail, not to mention what emotions the content can evoke. Swimsuit shopping can be a test of self-confidence, and over the last few years, glamorous advertisements for swimwear brands and photoshopped supermodels have not made it easy.
We sat down with Kitty and Vibe CEO and founder Cameron Armstrong with the ultimate goal of making swimsuit shopping a self-love act rather than a daunting task. It is the first swimwear brand to design bikini bottoms based on butt size, giving you the right amount of clothing to cover your ankles, whether small or large. It is also the first swimsuit brand to send confidence-boosting “Vibes” playlists, which, with each order, are curated to pump you in when you try to place your order. Everything, from custom fit, mood-lifting prints, and un-trendy styles, will make you. Wants Shopping for your next swimsuit. Imagine that!
Read how Armstrong and his team at Kitty and Vibe are changing the way we buy bikinis, why inclusion is more important than ever, and how we still have a long way to go.
Good + Good: What is the story of Kitty and Vibe? How did it all start?
Cameron Armstrong: In the summer of 2017 I was really looking for a new swimsuit. I personally went to a few different boutiques and had a horrible experience shopping for suits like most women do. You know, this is the smallest amount of clothing we wear in public. This is a very weak product, but not all brands have the same size — you are big in one brand, small in another. When you’re trying it out personally, the attendant knocking on your door under the bright fitting room lights … it doesn’t feel like the same safe place in the house.
I ordered some swimsuits online and none of them fit well, and I was amazed at how this main product, which is owned by almost everyone, is such a pain and anxiety to buy. So, the opportunity to turn such a negative experience into a positive one motivated me to start this brand. Kitty’s overall mission was to develop a swimsuit that eventually made her feel like a friend rather than an enemy. The biggest difference for us is obviously our sizing metric, which offers two insem options for each hip size – we are the only ones. [brand] Who thus provides swimsuits. That’s the technical difference behind Kitty, but at the end of the day, it’s really our community that sets us apart. I think we are one of the first brands that only sympathizes with the struggle after the swim wear — we see that it is difficult and we are trying to make it a better experience for you.
W + G: There is nothing worse than buying a swimsuit …
CA: Right? When I was developing the brand early, I sent out a general survey of many women to ask them what they thought about buying swimsuits. The choices were, ‘I like it’, ‘I like it’, ‘I don’t like it’, and ‘I hate it’ ९ 98 percent of the 500 responses I received hated it. I was amazed. She was sharp and said, “Well, there’s a lot of negative energy here – we have to make it better.”
W + G: What role does body positivity and inclusion play in Kitty & Vibe’s brand Ethos and Roadmap?
CA: If you look at our website, you will see women who look exactly like you. We use our customers as our model – our website has an application where anyone can apply for the model. That way, when we shoot photos, we filter the apps by city and hire real people. When you shop online, you have to look for people who look like you You
We also make kindness and empathy our mission [encouraging our shoppers] By being kind to yourself, and by creating truly diverse communities. Obviously, there are a lot of companies that have jumped on the bandwagon with inclusive sizing, but it really isn’t. With pride Show those shapes – do they show those models on their website? Do they really sell those products? This is one of the things we are very proud of, Kitty and Vibe.
And we don’t always lead by saying, “We offer smaller sized swimsuits via the 5X.” We say, “Hey, we’re the first to be based on bikinis Yours Butt size, and we’ll make this product feel like a friend. “At this point, every brand needs to offer full-size spectrum, there’s no excuse anymore. I don’t think that could be the only reason you exist. [as a business.]
W + G: Can you explain how shape modeling works? Do you plan to expand it?
CA: Butt sizing came about because I always had saggy bikini buttons. I don’t have a big butt, so I get out of the water and it will be like a diaper. So, I have friends who have the opposite issue, who have very big butts and they can’t get enough clothes.
During Kitty’s development stages, I set up focus groups in my small apartment in New York where I would measure everyone who came. The biggest difference I found was the crotch insim size, aka “kitty,” I have two friends with the same hip size, one inch three inches taller than the other. So it was just a kind of no-brainer.
Swimsuits are obviously a leather type of fabric, so this extra dimension was really needed to provide a good fit for the bottom. In Kitty and Vibe, each bottom comes in two sizes, small and large. So, if we have a string bikini which is considered to be very cheek style, it allows it to have the same proportion of cheeks in both small butt and big butt. We have very different coverage preferences — high waist, string — which allows it to look the same in different body types.
We have won our customers over with butt sizing and we want to expand into more variations with our tops. I think we have a good starting point as we offer cup sizes AH in a variety of styles, but there are some styles, such as scoops or sports bra tops, where bands are not forgiving in band sizes. For example, a customer may have a large cup size but a small band. We are in the midst of developing some additional band sizes for non-adjustable tops. We also recently launched our play dresses when we dip our feet in sports. We looked at the market for exercise clothing and found that there weren’t a ton of options above the 2XL size. We took our most popular prints and made a dress, added a built-in shelf bra and designed it from our swimwear, so you can swim in it too.
W + G: What role does swimwear play in self-love? How has it evolved, and why do you think more brands are “awakening” to it?
CA: Our mission at Kitty and Vibe exists to awaken and fuel self-love for a compassionate world. We believe that everyone has the ability to feel self-love, and a well-fitting swimsuit can convey that feeling to yourself and others.
“Every body is a bikini body” is like a hot new slogan, and that’s fine, but I’d like to see how brands are backing it up. I think I’m a little tired of seeing them say that and you go to their website and their models are still airbrushed – you have to have that credibility to back it up. The extended size ranges are excellent because it addresses the fact that the straight shape, slim body is not only the bikini body, but it needs to be backed up. It’s a shopping experience that I think many brands are committed to, not photoshopping or airbrushing. I think we have a long way to go. I mean, I still hear arguments like, “Yeah, but you’re selling this ambitious image that you can look like. [in a bikini]”And it’s very unhealthy – you’re just setting beauty standards that aren’t realistic.
That’s where I think Kitty and Vibe are different because we practice listening to our community and preaching. When we launch a new style or print, aka “Vibe”, we first send out Instagram polls and email surveys. We engage them in conversations from the beginning and we are able to accomplish this by putting them into production and starring in our campaigns. The crowdsourcing response is in our brand’s DNA, and that’s why I think we’ve built such a strong presence. [customer] Trust
W + G: What responsibility do swimwear brands have when it comes to consumers?
CA: There are some big, successful swimming brands out there that are starting to expand the size or offer plus sizing, but they are still using the plus-size models with pretty proportionate, gorgeous bodies that fit different levels even within that community. This is dangerous because it feels like they are gaining the credibility to show big bodies, even if it is unattainable for the public.
I think the first step is really inside the photoshopping and making sure the bodies are real, just outside of the race and weight. Make sure the skin is not completely smooth. Even though I have a privileged, thin, white, straight body, the biggest thing that prevents me from feeling beautiful in a bikini is my skin. I have suffered from acne all my life, especially on my back, which is why when I wear a swimsuit on the beach I get very triggered because I always try to cover it. We try to include people with really different skin textures and conditions or we want to include anything that goes beyond this beautiful and smooth skin type, because that is not realistic. The positivity of the body should also go beyond the weight and it should include various skin, mutilation, disabilities — we still have a lot of work to do. I want to continue to show off many different body types like race and weight.
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