We came across indie surf brand, IMSY Swimwear, on one of our visa-runs to Bali earlier this year. Loving the prints, cuts and general style, we wanted to find out more about these surf bikinis from creator, Katie Imswiler…
What`s your story Katie – how did you end up creating surfwear in Bali far from your home on Rhode Island? I was born with a love for all things artistic. Diving into a variety of mediums, art and fashion proved as reqarding forms of self-expression and creativity. I learned to sew at a young age and used my imagination to draw up and construct one-of-a-kind creations. I also design all the prints. It is essential to be an integral part of production – from concept to completion.
Growing up in Rhode Island, I spent my summers in the sun and on the waves in my front yard. My passion for the ocean, surfing, exploring and pushing life to the limits fueled my desire to travel to far reaches of the globe. Following the waves to the island of Bali, Indonesia, and drawing inspiration from distant shores, foreign cultures and newfound friends, my undying drive to create brought IMSY Swimwear into fruition.
IMSY is a fusion of vibrant colours and prints inspired by elements found in nature, lavishly comfortable fabrics, and the perfect fitting pieces. Every design is fully reversible, available in a variety of colours and offered as separates, leaving styling options endless. IMSY Swimwear is designed for free spirited, confident and adventurous women ready to make a statement no matter where she is.
Any challenges in starting your own business and how have you overcome these? I faced many struggles when first started. Since my swimwear is fully reversible, every seam must be concealed, which makes sewing quite difficult. It took me a very long time to find a factory that meets my quality standards. Manufacturing in Bali in general was also a challenge. Between the language barriers and constant tweaking and fit perfecting, it was surely a struggle.
What are the surf-friendly features of your styles? I`ve implemented a strap pulley system to eliminate the hassle of ties. They look great under clothing, they are comfortable, they don`t leave tie tan lines, and most importantly, you don`t have to worry about them coming untied during a heavy session. IMSY always incorporates high-end fabrics, elastics and clasps. The fact that all of my suits are fully reversible means they hold up better and last longer. Double the amount of fabric means doubling the amount of time to get dirty, sun faded and waxed up from your board. Not to mention four different styling combinations. Many of the halter-top styles have crisscrossed back detailing or triple strap detailing for extra support. IMSY is a big fan of the boy short bottoms which stay on super well and are very flattering on the behind!
Here at Salt Gypsy we like chasing barrels. Which style would you recommend for staying put in a good tumble? All of my halter-top styles are great for surfing. My go-to suits for surfing are the “Kate,” the “Julie,” the “Chelsea,” and the “Claire” tops:
Where can we buy your gear? IMSY is sold online at Etsy.com. It`s also available in surf shops throughout New England, New York and New Jersey (USA). Internationally, it`s in Horn Emporium (author interjection – this store is super rad and is going in our Bali Bible – released 2013) in Seminyak, Bali.
Words you live by…
work hard, play hard
Your favourite surf destinations: Lakey Peak, Sumbawa, Indonesia. And Chicama, Peru.
high performance surfboard
iPod/extensive music supply
arsenal of comfortable clothes
*Katherine Imswiler is the surfing fox behind her label, IMSY Swimwear. When a chick charges waves like the one above, you know she knows a thing or two about designing surfwear to stay on. Solid wave Katie!!
Photographs provided by Katie except for the screenshot of her online Etsy store.