Sports Illustrated model Tara Lynn has about 200 bathing suits. She collects them at photo shoots and modeling jaunts around the world.
Either way, starting Wednesday, the first bathing suit designed by Lynn will be available exclusively at Taralynnswim.com, just in time for the drop of the 2019 edition of Sports Illustrated. Lynn, after all, was one of about 20 models to travel to Kangaroo Island in South Australia for this year’s magazine shoot.
Now the model wants to make her bathing suit available to the masses — or a version of it anyway.
The collection starts with one piece, a size-inclusive string bikini in forest green, the same color Lynn wears in the magazine. The strings and coverage, she said, can be adjusted so women can decide just how much they want to show off. The suit, which comes in sizes 1 through 6, retails for $100. Proceeds go toward Trees for the Future, one of Lynn’s passion projects.
The model-designer said she plans to expand her swimsuit collection at a later date with sustainable fabrics, additional colors and sportier styles. Lynn also joins the growing list of designers, brands — and now models — who have started in lingerie and branched out into swimwear. She previously worked on a design collaboration with retail chain Torrid for a plus-size lingerie collection.
“Who better to design clothing than a working model?” said the current IMG model. “Through modeling, I’ve tried on thousands and thousands of garments of every kind. You figure out what isn’t being done well or being done at all; you figure out the gaps in the market.”
In real life, Lynn’s emerald eyes and flawless skin sparkle, even under less-than-stellar lighting. She speaks candidly about being a size 14 and how, 12 years ago when she began modeling, it was hard for her to find clothes in her size. In fact, she said many designers didn’t quite know what to do with her.
Today, she joins the ranks of other plus-size models, like Hunter McGrady and Ashley Graham, to appear in the pages of Sports Illustrated, a magazine that reaches more than 3 million homes each year.
“It’s part of American history,” Lynn gushed.
But with the platform, Lynn said she also wanted to give back, especially to young girls who are easily influenced by marketing campaigns.
“Everyone deserves access to clothes that fit them and fashion made in their size,” Lynn said. “And even more importantly we all deserve to see ourselves represented in the media. When beauty is shown in diverse forms, when all races and abilities and ages and sizes are included, it breaks down old divisions.”
The Washington State native, who now lives in Montclair, N.J., is equally as passionate about the planet. Trees for the Future has agreed to plant 100 trees for every swimsuit sold.
Meanwhile, in her own backyard, she’s planting trees and teaching her two young sons to care for the Earth. Lynn recently found her 3-year-old son Finlay poking holes in a Japanese maple tree outside of her home.
“I said to him, ‘Look, she’s so sad. She’s crying.’ Some of the holes looked like tears,” Lynn explained. “I said, ‘I think you should give her a hug.’ He promptly wrapped his arms around the trunk and Rupert, my 1-year-old, joined in. They don’t call people in the Pacific Northwest tree-huggers for nothing. In our family’s case, it’s literally true.”