Story

SOLĀYA (sol-lay-ah) is a woman-owned small business that makes high coverage swimwear. 

Swimwear should be comfortable, allow for movement, protect you in the sun and most importantly make you feel good. We're on a mission to make carefree swimwear for the adventurous, so you can spend longer days in the sunshine doing the things you love.

We believe in small batch production of locally made & thoughtfully designed goods. Because of this we only produce a small number of each design and will release new products on a limited cycle.

SOLĀYA swim was inspired by sporty feminine silhouettes.

Style Board:

How it started:

In 2015 I bought a one-way ticket to South America, packed up a small bag and sold the rest of my belongings. The idea for making SOLĀYA started a year later in Da Nang, Vietnam with this sketch:

While traveling, I hated 'fussy' clothing, especially swimwear that wouldn't stay on and seemed to be made strictly for laying motionless on a towel. I found myself checking constantly to make sure the tiny pieces of fabric hadn't moved while paddling, kayaking -- or getting pummeled by a wave. 

After returning home, I bought a vintage Singer sewing machine and taught myself to sew. 

There were MANY iterations along the way, like this little number on the shoulders:

The process became: sew it, test it, rework the pattern, repeat. 

Color blocking offered a way to create the classic feminine silhouette, while still providing high coverage sun protection and a carefree fit.

The design needed a lightweight, breathable fabric that came in a wide range of colors. I tested out A LOT of fabric from sourcing trips to NYC and LA -- but found the best fabric in Portland, Oregon.

Once the colors were selected, swatches went out for third party UPF testing to make sure the fabric really did perform. The lab results came back with the highest rating for UPF protection, UPF 50+. It's important to note that this number will begin to decrease when the fabric is over-stretched or wet. For the highest protection, opt for the darker fabrics and use UPF swimwear as part of a larger sun protection kit. Grab a wide brim hat, reapply sunscreen, and find some shade during peak hours. 

 

- Sarah 

 

Thank you for supporting a small business. All design and manufacturing occurs in my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. I strive to make informed sustainable decisions along the entire sourcing, production, and shipping process.

I'd love to know your story and collaborate on any creative projects -- reach out to me at sarah@solayaswim.com