If you are one of the 1.9 million people who follow Natasha Oakley on Instagram, or the 1.3 million who follow her bestie Devin Brugman, then you know all about the picture-perfect lives they lead. After creating the A Bikini A Day blog together, the pair managed to create a brand that appeals to women all over the world – one of body positivity and the pursuit of living your best life.
Whether they are travelling the world and posing in their endless supply of bikinis, partying at Coachella in coordinated festival looks, or sharing their workout snaps, Oakley and Brugman always aim to inspire.
The duo’s latest endeavour may be their biggest yet. This summer, the bikini connoisseurs have partnered with mega-brand GUESS to create a capsule swimwear collection, complete with a stunning campaign directed by GUESS Chief Creative Officer, Paul Marciano.
I spoke to the pair about this amazing opportunity, how social media influences their work, and how they stay so confident in a bikini.
Why was partnering with GUESS a good fit for you?
Oakley: There are so many reasons why we think GUESS is a perfect fit for us, but the main reason really is that GUESS embodies our same mindset. The foundation of our businesses is based on the mindset that women should be empowered, sexy and confident within themselves and we believe GUESS shares that mentality. GUESS girls are notorious for being powerful, beautiful, and confident and we love that!
What were you inspired by when designing this collection?
Oakley: The collection was inspired by vintage GUESS Swim from the ’80s and ’90s. We actually went through the old archives with Paul Marciano in absolute awe of how cute everything from vintage GUESS was. We wanted to bring some of that back in our collaboration.
Do you ever consider how a swimsuit is going to look on Instagram as you’re designing?
Brugman: We try to consider all factors when designing. How it looks in photos is definitely part of the process.
Can you tell me a bit about how you started Instagram, and how you found your niche on the platform?
Oakley: We started by truly just posting about our passions and actual lifestyle. We both have a love for swimwear and the entire lifestyle that surrounds it. It was so natural and easy for us and I think our followers could really see that. People gravitated towards our positive mentality and friendship, which we were lucky enough to hone in on and create into a business.
What’s the message that you want to send with each Instagram post? How do you use the platform to uplift and inspire your followers?
Brugman: Our main focus in everything we do is to be positive inspirations, especially for young girls. Body image is a huge focus of ours but we also touch on entrepreneurship, business, fashion and friendship. We aspire to show that hard work and dedication pays off, and with persistence and passion you can accomplish anything you put your heart to.
You must have seen so many trends that have come and gone in the swimsuit world. What has been the craziest trend you’ve noticed? Is there a style that you’ve never liked?
Brugman: It’s hard to say because you can be so much more expressive with swimwear than you can in your everyday life. It’s fun to experiment with colours, prints and styles that you generally wouldn’t go for in your everyday wardrobe. There hasn’t really been any trend that we haven’t been open to.
And what’s your go-to, favourite trend?
Oakley: For us it’s all about simplicity. We have always been a fan of a simple and chic black one piece or sexy red string bikini. Right now, we’re all about the off the shoulder trend because it’s a classic shape but really feminine and fun. The off the shoulder piece from our GUESS collab is actually to die for!
How does your swimsuit style change from place to place when you travel?
Oakley: Every country has a slightly different style and we love every one! When we’re in Europe we will tend to keep our swim looks more classy and chic but if we’re somewhere like Miami or Hawaii we can get a little more spicy with a Brazilian cut bottom and fun print.
Which country or island comes to mind as a perfect place to wear these Guess swimsuits?
Brugman: The collection was also inspired by beautiful locations like St. Tropez and St. Barth’s. We can just imagine supermodels like Claudia Schiffer and Cindy Crawford rocking similar styles on the beaches of these islands. We’re definitely going to need to rock this collaboration there!
As someone who was born and grew up in the Caribbean, I definitely relate to that island lifestyle. But it can be hard to feel cute when your hair is frizzy, and you’re all wet and salty after a long day on the beach. How do you guys stay polished and confident when you’re out for a long day in a swimsuit out in the sun and sand?
Oakley: We totally understand! We’ve learned to work with the salt and the sun. The “beached out” look has actually become one of our favorites because we’re perfectly sun kissed with wavy beach hair. The trick is not to over do it. Keep super hydrated and don’t let yourself get too much sun. Embrace the glow and keep it natural!
The GUESS x A Bikini A Day swim collection will be available May 16 in GUESS stores and at shop.guess.com.
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