Images by Debora Olalla
Everyone has an opinion based on their experience. People always like to give tips on things that never worked out for them. My biggest lesson has been to trust my intuition and turn off the noise around me, and that is my advice for everyone. . Never quit if you believe in your project/dream.
Will you tell us a bit about yourself and how did you get into fashion?
About myself, my passion is to live a conscious life by practicing yoga, designing intentional pieces, connecting with nature and to inspire others to make better daily decisions for our planet. I love to create awareness that our daily habits have a direct impact on the environment. And that we can choose whether that impact will be positive or negative.
With fashion, everything started with styling my outfits and my friend’s outfits. Then I started sewing when I was 16 years old and making my own clothes. I fell in love with the whole creation process. From looking for inspiration around me, choosing colors, making mood boards, drawing my ideas and giving life to those ideas with love and care.
What inspired you to make and stick to swimwear?
I grew up on an island, spent my childhood by the ocean where you just don’t need much clothes. Only bikinis and beach wear. But also, always felt a big connection with the ocean and it’s where I feel the happiest.
“Love for mother nature” seems to be your big mantra. Do you feel satisfied with the new shift in the fashion world towards sustainability?
Kind of. There’s a lot of green washing and a lot of work to do. But I’m happy people are slowly becoming more conscious.
You use special fabric called Econyl for your swimwear. Can you tell us a bit about it and how did you find such planet-friendly material?
Econyl it’s a beautiful fabric that my manufacturer provides, Econyl is an alternative to nylon made from ocean waste like fishing nets and recycled plastic. Normally, nylon has a significantly detrimental environmental impact, but the creators of Econyl help reduce the effects of this fabric on the environment by using recycled base materials. Super important fact the quality it’s the same as virgin nylon.
You even use compostable packing to prove your commitment to the environment. Can you tell us about that?
It’s very important to me that every single part of our brand is respectful with the planet. So yes, we use biodegradable package and a compostable mailer bag to deliver our swimwear. We always try to educate our customers and make them conscious that each single habit matters and that on the other side of the world people don’t have it as easy as this side of the world so let’s try to do what we can do, to give back to our planet and protect the vulnerable communities.
Is it difficult to source all these eco-friendly materials and have to found a way to be profitable business while not sacrificing your ethical stance?
After a lot of research, we found a manufacturer in Bali, Indonesia that has a commitment with the environment + their community and works with small brands so the prices are reasonable for the lovely hand work and quality they offer. Everything is made ethically by giving back to their community in Bali and they offer a number of fabrics and materials that align with our vision by being sustainable. Above all we are grateful to say that our clients understand our vision and connect with our purpose and are willing to pay what the product costs because they know the value of it.
You produce swimwear in all sizes and for all body shapes. How has the response been so far from your clients?
You know they are satisfied with the product when they are not your customer just once, but they come back for more. So, I could say I’m very happy with their response, and can’t wait to keep growing and expanding my brand to new clients.
Your designs are made in Puerto Rico but the products are made in Bali. Why not in Puerto Rico?
There’s no professional swimwear production in Puerto Rico. I started sewing the bikinis myself in the beginning and then hired a lady to help when I was 21 years old. I had to quit. It wasn’t fulfilling my heart. I needed the time to design, look for inspiration and to create marketing strategies, my favorite parts of the brand. That’s why I decided to move to NYC and save money to hire a manufacturer. Besides having the opportunity to support people on the other side of the world? Amazing. It makes me happy and proud.
Your swimwear are very simple and minimalist which is part of their appeal. Is it a conscious choice?
It is. Less is more. I love to create clean and timeless pieces that you can always come back to in your daily life.
Since how long have you been running and how has the experience been.
I launched Viera Swim the summer of 2020. My experience has been so good. I love working in my brand and meeting beautiful girls who understand and love the vision. I also love how I combine my love for fashion and my love for the Earth together. Designing and producing swimwear, but giving the message that you can always have respect for the planet, the real change is in the daily habits and decisions of our lives.
What have been the biggest hurdles in running a brand successfully and how did you deal with them.
Honestly, making time for myself. I’m always working. I tend to work until I’m burnout. Being an entrepreneur it’s a 24/7 job. I am slowly learning how to balance my life. I can’t say I’m there yet. Sometimes I feel bad about myself if I’m not working. At the end of the day, it’s that time when I slowed down, I had fun, I spent time by nature, the ocean, with my family + friends where I feel the most inspired and the ideas come.
What have been the biggest lessons you learned along the way and what advice will you give you upcoming designers?
To never ever listen to people. Everyone has an opinion based on their experience. People always like to give tips on things that never worked out for them. My biggest lesson has been to trust my intuition and turn off the noise around me, and that is my advice for everyone. Trust in your intuition. Never quit if you believe in your project/dream.
Do you plan to expand your product line and get beyond swimwear?
Yes, and yes. I recently added some beach wear pieces. Neutral flare pants, shorts and a romper. We called them “from the beach to the street pieces” and it has had a very good response so there’s more of that coming.