Confession time: For an industry that’s so creative, I’m always a little dismayed by the lack of inclusive-sizing. Sure, there are designers that are revolutionizing sizing with the industry, and more recently, 11 Honoré launched its high-end private label catered to creating clothing for women of all sizes, but when it comes to creating plus-size clothing at all price ranges, the industry still has some work to do. As if it weren’t already hard enough to find great plus-size brands to shop for regular clothing, shopping for a swimsuit can feel like an impossible feat.
Luckily for women everywhere, the brand Good American is back at it. Launched in 2016 by Emma Grede and Khloé Kardashian, the brand became the place to shop for plus-size denim and was picked up by all our favorite retailers. This past June, the brand has decided to take it to the next level by launching its first-ever swimwear collection.
To celebrate the launch, we spoke with Grede about the plus-size swimwear collection and what’s next for the company. Ahead, you’ll find your new favorite swimsuit for your socially distanced day by the water.
Good American made a name for itself with its size-inclusive denim. What compelled you to expand into the swimwear market?
When we think about launching new products and categories, we always look to our customers. We truly value their feedback and apply any learnings we can to new styles. Swim was, in fact, our most-requested category to-date and was in the works for nearly two years.
We also recognize that shopping for swimwear can feel impossible and comes with so many challenges. We wanted to make that more seamless experience for our customers. We incorporated a number of different elements of support to work for different body types, giving women swimwear that will make them feel confident, sexy, and their very best.
Where did you draw inspiration from for the first swimwear collection? What pieces did you feel you needed to create for this collection?
When designing this collection, it was extremely important for us to incorporate elements of support and adjustability without sacrificing style. Our customer loves leopard, so we mixed bold prints with solids in reversible styles to provide her with options. There are a number of fun and sexy silhouettes, as well as classic swimsuit styles within the collection that offer fuller support and coverage. It’s hard to find full looks that can easily transition from the pool or the beach into your everyday wardrobe, and we wanted this collection to feel easy and versatile.
Can you tell us a little about your design process? How does designing swimwear differ if at all from your design process for denim and activewear?
Swimwear is a tough category, and just like denim, women can dread the process of buying it. Our approach to design for all categories in the same way with a focus on fit and fabrications and we bring our customers into the conversation early on by asking them what they can’t find and what problems they need to solve. The design process for swimwear is similar to all of our denim, ready-to-wear, and activewear.
We have an extremely talented in-house design team who all have years of experience and are experts in fit. Our team prides itself on attention to detail and the importance of creating designs with multiple body types in mind. We’re constantly reviewing our product throughout the process and going through multiple rounds of fittings on different fit models, applying feedback from each fitting to inform our final designs. With our swimwear, we placed an extra emphasis on perfecting the fit because we know how daunting it can be to find a suit that feels supportive yet sexy.
Does anything about this collection stand out to you in terms of how different it is from other competitive swimwear collections?
We designed our swim collection for women of many shapes and sizes. We put a significant emphasis on fit and invested two years to make sure we got it just right. So much of the collection is adjustable and customizable to your particular body. From double drawstrings and adjustable straps that provide full coverage and support to belts that accentuate waists and a unique tummy-tucking technology to help smooth, we incorporated even the smallest details to give women that extra support so they can look and feel their best!
Finding a swimsuit is a challenge in and of itself, but for curvier women, finding quality suits can feel impossible. What problems do you hope this collection solves for curvier consumers?
With this collection, we wanted to alleviate the pain points that come with finding that perfect suit. No matter any size, we wanted to give women of all shapes and sizes quality swimwear that makes every woman look and feel their best. Whether denim, ready-to-wear, performance—and now swim—we want our customers to know that with Good American, they'll always find the very best fit, period. And similar to all of our collections, it was important to us to model swim on women of different shapes and sizes on our e-commerce site so all women can feel represented and seen in the shopping experience.
Do you feel there is one swimsuit style you think looks good on everybody? Or one swimsuit every woman should own?
You can’t go wrong with a classic black one-piece! I love our showoff one-piece. It’s simple yet sexy and has the cutest adjustable belted waist.
How has your experience as a BIPOC informed the way you approach designing, if at all? How has your personal style informed the way you approach design decisions?
Since the inception of Good American, I have always been passionate about creating a company that focuses on inclusivity. With Good American, I wanted to create clothing that was available in a range of sizes and modeled on women of all sizes and racial backgrounds, which many brands were not offering. All of our collections, category launches, and initiatives (like our open castings) are focused on inclusion and representation. We are constantly thinking about how we can push the boundaries of inclusivity even further, as I want to support and stand with our BIPOC community—especially at such a critical moment for human rights and racial equality.
In terms of my personal style, I am always excited to test out our new products. When we design a new denim fit or legging, I wear the piece through my day-to-day to make sure we’ve got the fit just right and our pieces are versatile enough to style with any existing wardrobe.
What piece from this collection is your personal favorite?
The Good Waist Bottom is an amazing staple and has a signature Good American fit that is also found in our denim and leggings.
It’s been four years since you co-founded Good American. What do you think you’ve learned since then? What’s next for the brand?
We’ve learned so much, but I think our biggest takeaway has been to continue listening to our customers and understanding the value of their feedback. The launch of swim has been wildly successful, and it goes to show how important it is to design pieces with your customers’ feedback in mind. We want to stick to our mission, and we’re proud of our position in the market and industry. We want to keep the core of what we do while creating new products to meet our customer’s needs. Swimwear was our most-requested category, again, so we’re excited to see what comes next and what we’ll be able to share with our #GoodSquad. We have a lot in store for them this year and beyond!
What do you hope the industry and consumers take away from the launch of Good American’s swimwear collection?
So many women have been ignored in the fashion industry up until this point, and while some brands are starting to recognize this and introduce inclusive sizing, there is still a stigma in fashion against size inclusivity. There’s a hesitation among brands to offer a larger range of sizing because it varies from the “standard” design process they’ve been using for years. We’re definitely starting to see that the industry can change—even if it is a slower process—and we’re proud to be leading that change at Good American.