The blurring of lines between swimwear and everyday clothing has been one of the biggest takeaways in terms of how the pandemic has shaped the way we dress today – an idea that’s part about comfort and part about celebrating your body unabashedly.
It’s also one of the motivations for young designer Isabella Boladian, whose label Wetwear is the newest kid on the block in the growing swimwear market here. The 26-year-old Singaporean describes the brand as a “conscious luxury swim house” (though one could not ignore the ultra-sexy cuts and Y2K-inflected sensibility of her swimsuits which could double up neatly as bodysuits).
Isabella Boladian, founder of Wetwear
“The main reason I started a swimwear label is that when I lived in Sydney, I would go to the beach a lot. Even if I wasn’t at the beach, I’d spend the whole day in a swimsuit and sneakers,” says Boladian who earned a degree in Photography and Situated Media from the University of Technology Sydney.
“Whether I was taking a smoke break outside my house or cooking, once the swimsuit went on my body for whatever reason, I’d keep it on till I went to bed or have a shower,” she adds.
After learning the ropes in retail working the sales floor of a Fendi boutique Down Under, Boladian returned to Singapore in 2019 and started work on Wetwear. The brand’s debut collection was launched on Tuesday on www.wetwearbyib.com and is aptly titled Relocation 1.0 as a wink to the designer growing up across Singapore, Taiwan and Sydney.
Creating her inaugural swimsuit was both a science and art form for Isabella Boladian. Not being trained formally in design meant she got to be more experimental with her piece. “You don’t have all those pre-emptive mindsets of ‘I need this and that to create this product’ and you see the end results it can be fulfilling,” she says.
The debut features a one-piece black “illusion” swimsuit. Made from a sustainably-created polyamide blend fabric that features sultry cutouts on the mid-riff and back, it could pass off as a bikini at first glance and echoes the skimpy aesthetic of emerging labels such as Nensi Dojaka and Ottolinger. Accompanying the design is a sticker pack by local tattoo artist, Keith Yeo (@angmohkeith).
The emphasis on skin is deliberate, according to Boladian. “We want to create styles that are unique but still enforce and encapsulate a silhouette for all types of bodies to feel nothing but right. When we design we don’t have a specific body type in mind, we want to cater to all. We don’t want to just make one body type look good. Wetwear is for everyone that wants a piece of the cake.”
Ahead, she tells FEMALE more about Wetwear.