This week we chat with Laura, founder of Novel Swim
Novel is a New York based swimwear brand that create one of a kind prints by in house designer Laura Paulino Rosenbaum.
When did you start Novel swim and why?
I started Novel in 2015. I had been working a corporate job at a textile design firm called KnollTextiles and was simultaneously working freelance design jobs on the side satisfy my creative side. I basically wasn’t sleeping! I knew that I wanted to be working in fashion, and I wanted to have my own platform where I could be designing crazy, bright, colorful prints. So I made a business plan and took the leap.
Where do you draw inspiration from when you are designing new pieces?
One of my collections was totally inspired by one of my favourite 90s teen pulp movies—a Darren Stein film starring Rose McGowan called Jawbreaker. I basically imagined what each character would be wearing for a trip to the beach and went from there. I definitely like to dive into the wheelhouse of my teenage dreams and will often peruse old sketchbooks and try to bring those drawings to life. I’ve always loved bright colours and gravitated towards 60s and 90s fashion.
How much do you consider the sustainability of a product when designing it?
A lot! We’ve always made things in small batches to eliminate as much waste as possible. We knew it wouldn’t be sustainable to have production overseas, so from the beginning we made the decision to keep all manufacturing and printing local to lower our carbon footprint. And we made the choice to spend a little more when possible to use fabrics with recycled nylons and or polyesters. Not only are they better for the environment, but the quality is superb, so the garment really lasts longer. Our customers continue to wear our suits season after season.
How would you define sustainability?
For us sustainability is doing whatever we can to reduce waste and avoid overproduction, which leads to materials and garments ending up in landfills. It also means creating swimwear that is of excellent quality and whose silhouettes are streamlined so they can be enjoyed for years and years.
What are your top 3 picks from The Sample Room?
1. Phoebe Grace Cyril Giant Pansy Turtleneck
2. Yolke Dandy Striped Dress
When you are not doing Novel Swim what do you like to do?
Drive out to the Rockaways and go for walks on the beach or boardwalk—no matter what the season. Winter beach walks are very underrated.
The Corona virus has highlighted our need to change the way we do business is this something you have found with Novel Swim and have you consequently had to change anything?
Totally. We were always running around the country hosting what we called Bikini Roadshow pop ups, so we really had to scale that back completely and focus on how to reach people online. We missed interacting with our customers in person and on the beach, so we created a virtual vacation portal on our site called GETAWAY to highlight summery things and keep that spirit going.
Top 5 lockdown activities?
Playing guitar karaoke with my husband. We pick a song. He plays and I sing.
Reading books. I’ve devoured so many great ones during the lockdown. My faves have been Circe by Madeline Miller and Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende. I’m reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon right now, and having way too much fun.
Driving to explore and support restaurants in different neighbourhoods. These meals are usually consumed unglamorously in the back of our car, but it’s kind of romantic in a weird way.
Going for walks along the beach.
Playing with my two year old daughter.