Models wearing pieces from a Crown Rose his and hers set
Don’t want to be seen wearing the same trunks or bikini as everyone else on the beach this year? Forget about the usual styles we see year in year out and the plain designs that fill so many high street stores; to stand out by the pool, exciting and colourful designs are the answer. Look no further. With a selection of our favourite, largely Afrocentric, swimwear you are sure to turn heads this summer. All black British owned brands, not only will you look good but you’ll be supporting black businesses – it’s a win win really.
First up we have Bema Republic, created last year by Loughborough University student Jessica Bema Asare. As skilled academically as she is with her eye for design and a business opportunity, Asare was able to kick-start the line of swimwear after she was given money by her university to reward her for academic excellence.Asare spent many years of her youth in Ghana and, with Kente designs across the range, her culture is very much at the heart of the swimwear. She explains:
'Most Ghanaians and Africans only tend to wear their cultural prints on special occasions. I wanted to make an item of clothing where we could wear our prints casually, like when we are lying on a beach so bikinis seemed like a perfect idea.'
Available in sizes up to XL, Jessica was also conscientious of the fact that she wanted the brand to be accessible for all women and help promote body positivity. 'I want my products to be worn by people of all shapes and sizes … I especially want African women to wear my designs with pride because these are designs which are specifically ours,’ says the self-taught designer. ‘A lot African and black women are curvy and not having styles to accommodate their body types will defeat the purpose of the African image I am trying to promote.’
It soon became clear that there was a demand for Bema Republic and that it was filling a gap in the market as Jessica’s initial stock sold out in one week.
Next up is one for the gents. Introducing Òkun. Not for the faint-hearted, these luxury swim shorts are vibrant and characterised by bold colours and prints. Founded by British-Nigerian Bola Marquis, the beachwear ‘is a celebration of inspiration and design, quality, creativity and heritage, traversing the African continent for the world beyond.’
Next we have Ten & Lee. Carnival is fast approaching and that means rep your flag time! With their range of Caribbean inspired monokinis you can share your culture with pride. All their pieces are reversible too, with a plain black alternative, meaning you’re basically getting two swimsuits for the price of one!
Now we come to Crown Rose, which creates swimwear for both men and women. Oh and if you’ve got a special other half, they’ve even got matching his and hers sets which are perfect for a bae-cation. A UK based Afro-contemporary brand, Crown Rose is a fusion of ‘both the birthplaces and cultural backgrounds of the founders. The connection of these cultures has creatively been fused together to create a brand that not only represents Africa but also the simple yet captivating British style.’
With some of our very favourite designs, next it's Ashanti Swimwear. From the name to the patterns, Ashanti Swimwear is about African pride through and through and allowing women – or rather Queens – to ‘be confident, sexy and fashionable.’ Launched by Ghanaian siblings Yasmeen and Dexter Opare, both born in London and raised between Accra and London, the first designs were created by Yasmeen in her bedroom. With one-pieces, bikinis and a good range of different cuts, there’s something for everyone and every figure.
Last but by no means least we have La’joi, self-described as ‘a sexy modern brand with a twist of je ne sais quoi’ with the aim ‘to help woman feel fabulous from the inside and out.’ Founded by a young female Londoner, all La'joi pieces are handmade with different body shapes and sizes in mind. We love the three-pieces – bikinis that come have a cute matching co-ord cover up.