In collaboration with fashion influencer, Maria Beltre, Ūnika Swim has released a retro capsule collection, ‘LA ISLA’, the Spanish translation for, ‘The Island’. Inspired by Maria’s Dominican roots and love of 90’s fashion, the collection will feature vibrant colors and styles handmade in Canada from sustainable material.
Dominican born and Brooklyn raised, Maria uses her roots to express her passion for fashion and art culture. She uses Instagram (@looseunicorns) to share her love for fashion, beauty, art, and travel with her youthful audience. Having made a name for herself in the industry working with brands such as Nike, adidas, marc jacobs, macy's, milani cosmetics, savagexfenty, and her own brand Could Be Maria, Beltre was excited at the thought of designing her own swimsuit collection.
What made you want to do a collection with Ūnika Swim?
“I’ve always appreciated a practical fitting swimsuit. We’ve all had those cute swimsuits that we can only take a picture in but can’t swim in for the obvious reasons (ie. they don’t fit properly or the material is cheap and see thru) but when I discovered Ūnika, I knew what it was like to finally find the perfect swimsuit. Not only does Ūnika make the perfect swimsuits to feel your best but you actually feel the quality, support, and right fit. They’re inclusive and I finally found my forever go to swimsuit…not to mention all the compliments I get when I’m in my Ūnika Swim.”
*Featured products: Mila Top/Nova Bottom, (Tropicale), Rio Sarong (Tropicale)
What was your inspiration for the capsule? What story did you want to tell with the photoshoot?
“LA ISLA translates into “The Island”. I was born on an Island in the Caribbean and I was always back home in Dominican Republic for the summers of my youth. I wanted this collection to be inspired by my roots but also by the 90’s because I’ve always been fascinated by my mother's glamorous swimsuit photoshoots and by the bright colors and patterns she always wore.”
“With the photoshoot I wanted it all to tie into the pattern and colors I selected; vibrant, bold and exciting - we all have that go-to black or white bathing suit in our closet, we need something exciting! I wanted to show diversity, I wanted to show real bodies, real women, having fun and enjoying themselves with that 90’s vibe. Inspo from Ladies Night by Lil Kim ft Missy Elliot, Da Brat, Left Eye & Angie Martinez.. if you know, you know. I’m tired of seeing the same swimsuit shoots with unrealistic body types modeling for these companies, we’re all different shapes and sizes, why do I have to keep seeing the same body type?”
Was it important for you to choose a variety of styles and options that most women would feel comfortable in?
“Yes, growing up I was a tomboy. I grew up with all guy cousins and being the only girl, I always felt uncomfortable showing “too much”, which is why I made sure we had a sporty selection for those who may feel a bit more conservative, especially around family. I know a lot of women want to feel sexy, so don’t worry, we have something for you too. Also, I was always around my aunts who were of all different body types, from curvy to slim and I’ve always known the need to feel comfortable and have options for everyone.”
Which is your favourite piece of this collection?
“Hard question because I love them all but probably anything that’s patterned cause it’s so extra, like me lol. If I have to be more specific though, the Nova Bottoms & Mila Top in Tropicale. *whispers* fire.”
Where is your favourite place to travel to? What location could you see yourself wearing these pieces on vacation?
“I love traveling, I’ve been traveling since I was a kid. Fun fact, my parents would ONLY go to DR every summer growing up and they never saw anywhere else past that (smh) but my senior year of high school I worked my butt off (I’ve been working since the age of 14) to save up to go to London with school. All the other kids had their parents pay for that trip but I wasn’t that privileged. That’s probably what sparked my love for traveling but my favorite place I’ve been to has to be Japan. “
“I see me wearing this collection either in Thailand (which I loved!!) or an Island like St. Barths.”
What is a place on your bucket list that you haven't visited yet?
What was your favourite part of creating the capsule?
“Of course, I loved designing and the creative direction but seeing the final project is definitely my favorite part.”
*Featured products (L to R): Mila Top (Verde), Cora Bralette (Tropicale)/Sol Bottoms (Verde)
How would you describe your personal swimwear style?
“I love all things sporty and it doesn’t change much for swim but once in a while I love getting in the sexy stringy pieces.”
What inspired you to design a 90's capsule?
“My mom, I love the pictures of my mom in the 80’s and 90’s with her bright swimsuits. I also love the high-rise, high waisted bikinis and how sexy and flattering they looked.”
Would you be interested in doing another capsule collaboration in the future?
“Hell yea, I already have some new ideas.. sign me up”
*Featured products (L, R, bottom): Mila Top (Tropicale) / Rio Sarong (Tropicale), Reyez Top (Verde) / Cruz Bottoms (Tropicale), Cora Bralette (Morado) / Cruz Bottoms (Morado)