Alicia Rountree is introducing her own swim collection.
The 32-year-old model has spent most of her life wearing swimsuits, whether that was while modeling for Victoria’s Secret or spending time on the beaches in Mauritius, a small island in the Indian Ocean on the east side of Madagascar where she grew up. And now she’s presenting her own swimwear designs to the market.
“This idea has been in me forever,” Rountree said. “And the second I was ready to do it, everything just fell into place. I found the manufacturing, the fabric and I started making the prints and it just developed from there.”
The line, named Alicia Swim, is an eco-friendly, sustainable assortment. The swimwear is constructed using an Italian fabric made from Econyl, which is a technical yarn that comes from regenerated nylon found in fishing nets floating in coastal areas. Rountree also wanted to make sure that the stitching was on the interior of the suits, there were no metal clasps and the cuts could work on multiple body types.
“I’ve tried on so many swimsuits and the cut is the main thing I spent a lot of time on with the factories,” Rountree said.
The line, which is made in Mauritius, a detail that was important to Rountree, features mix-and-match bikinis and one-pieces coming in a palette of red, green and blue — colors that make up the Mauritius flag. The prints come from Rountree’s watercolor designs that she sent to Italy to be printed on the fabric. The swim line is accompanied by a long and short kimono, a turban and a headscarf. It retails from $115 to $150 for a bikini top; $110 to $135 for a bikini bottom; $230 to $280 for a one-piece; $105 to $120 for headpieces, and $350 to $420 for kimonos.
“I was inspired by the Seventies,” Rountree said. “I liked the idea that you can have an outfit. If you go for a swim and your hair gets messy, you can put something on your head or throw on a kimono over your swimsuit.”
The line will be available on its own e-commerce site and sold through LuisaViaRoma, which is holding a pop-up at Spring Place in New York that opens on Thursday. Rountree is also selling the suits in hotels in Mauritius. Proceeds from the sale of the suits will go toward the Mauritius Marine Conservation Society.
Rountree, who also cofounded the restaurant chain Tartinery and has studied nutrition and wellness, will shoot a book for Rizzoli next year documenting her life in Mauritius and she’s already plotting what’s next for her swim brand.
“This is just the beginning. I have different ideas for headpieces and beach bags and tops that will match the first collection,” Rountree said. “I’d love to create a lifestyle brand and move into active. We have a lot of manufacturing in Mauritius and I’m lucky to call this place home.”