Conscious commerce is a state of mind. It is shopping with purpose, for items that bring joy to your life and help you express your inner light. It is in support of small businesses, of creators, men and women who are dedicated to their craft. To use your dollar with passion, thought, awareness and intention. It is bringing an end to mindless purchasing and creating a wardrobe + home that supports the life you dream of.
It is such a joy to find a company that not only makes a beautiful product but does so while giving back to the planet, educating the consumer and re-defining the status quo for how companies operate.
The newly launched beachwear line, Nightswim is doing just that. Over two years in the making, the brand is made in Los Angeles from recycled and organic fibers and is inspiring a movement of conscious consumerism.
Every detail in the line is infused with intention, from choosing quality over quantity in the design process to the printing and packaging solutions. As you will read below, Diana (the creator of Nightswim) has found powerful solutions within each step of the process from idea to delivered product to achieve a truly eco-conscious, ethically made and sustainable brand. You can learn more about the process here and continue reading for an inspiring interview with the creator of your new favorite beachwear brand.
Can you please share with us your background and what led to the creation of Nightswim?
I'm somewhat of a nomad, I was born in Mexico and transplanted many times as a child before ending up in El Paso, Texas. That's where my mom raised me and my 3 siblings on her own. She hustled hard yet always managed to be very present, she'd make sure to always be with us after school. The flexibility in her schedule and power to run a business on her own terms influenced me. I knew that I needed this freedom, I wanted to be the boss of my life.
I followed my passion for fashion (as tacky as this sounds), attended FIDM in LA and proceeded to work at a trend forecasting firm, then a women's contemporary brand and then as swimwear editor amongst other smaller jobs. I learned so much these jobs, and one day I felt ready to embark on my own endeavor and pursue something more fulfilling.
It wasn't entirely clear what that venture would be. I had always been called to live in a beach environment, but I understood that creating a life in a beach town wasn't the best career move. Regardless, I risked it and followed my gut to Bali, and now Costa Rica. It ended up being the perfect combo between career and island life. I was hooked! I met with manufacturers, retailers and even toyed with the idea of consulting American brands which eventually lead me to land a job at as a swimwear editor. Eventually, I conceptualized a beachwear brand that encompassed all that I am — a city gal living a simple beach life abroad with a drive to run a fulfilling business in fashion, one that's mindful every step of the way and that gives back.
Who/what/where do you draw inspiration from?
I mostly draw inspiration from people. I get so much from people watching, anything that is different and unique I "file" away. I love it when people aren't afraid to express themselves through clothes. And with travel, I'm exposed to so many types of style — every country, every city, every town has a particular flair that's different from the rest. In general, I get sparks of inspiration when traveling or seeing a place for the first time.
Living a beach lifestyle also plays a huge role. I understand what works and what doesn't, what's more natural to wear at the beach and what isn't. I design for the heat, making sure the pieces are functional. I want Nightswim pieces to become vacation staples that can effortlessly transition from the boat to the sand to the boardwalk.
I'll admit, I also look at major current fast-fashion trends and try to avoid them. I know that if it's trending today, it has a nearing expiration date — I want my pieces to last longer than a trending hot minute. I want to make sure whoever buys Nightswim feels like they can keep wearing the pieces forever — which then diminishes the amount of wardrobe waste that's disposed of in landfills.
I'm also a sucker for Erin Wasson and Zoe Kravitz's effortless edge and refer to them for style pointers.
What motivated you to create an eco-friendly & ethical company?
I've had the opportunity to work in various facets of the fashion world, and been exposed to some "dirty" truths which don't sit well with me. I knew that if I was to start a brand, I had to make it represent my personal values. I didn't need to add more pressure to mama earth or exploit workers. Creating a collection that people liked wasn't enough. I wanted to make sure if I profited, it had to be responsibly-earned and for me, that means applying eco-friendly and ethical practices to my business. In a way, it's my responsibility to expose these "dirty" truths and deliver a responsible product.
Can you take us through the process each piece goes through from idea to finished product?
This was Nightswim's debut collection, so a lot of testing and experimenting went into the process of the first ever pieces. I wanted to make them as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible so this was the biggest challenge.
I start by creating a mood board with colors, inspiration and actual hand-drawn designs. Then the technical designer takes this direction and curates the prints you see in the collection, she also digitized all designs. I sourced various fabrics that I could test with dyes and printing methods to select the best quick-dry and soft option. We also examine the shrinkage and wash effects. We played with the fiber contained within the textile to make sure we could use the most sustainable form of printing and material combo. After a lot of testing, we selected azo-free dyes and digital prints on organic and recycled fabrics with the right synthetic and organic components. Fabric in bulk is ordered and in the meantime, patterns for the silhouettes are made. The fabric is cut to sew the first set of samples which are then fitted to the body. We hold a design meeting and make revisions of all sorts from stitching to pattern adjustments. The second set of samples are generated with the applied revisions and the collection as a whole is reviewed. We look at what styles to proceed with and which ones we don't feel strongly about or which to revise again. Then production starts — the garment factory workers begin to cut the fabrics, sew each seam and finish with care labels, hangtags, steaming and folding.
What are the daily routines or rituals that keep you grounded?
This one is hard as I'm coming back from traveling and wasn't so successful at keeping a routine. I live in LA and Costa Rica so my routines vary in each location. I do have to move my body every day — this is the constant. Most days, I hike the jungle down to the beach and either go in for a quick dip, play with my dog, listen to a podcast or chat with a friend. Yoga and The Barre Method keep me pretty sane and grounded as well.
No matter what though, I always start my day with a cup of coffee. This is my morning moment of stillness, I tend to read Angels cards while taking sips outside in nature.
I tend to light candles or palo santo every day and create a to-do list for the day to keep me on track. I can't go without music, it's a big part of my everyday life and almost feels ritualistic. Solitude and self-care are what recalibrates me. If I go too many days without 'me' time, I start to feel off.
What do you see for the future of conscious fashion?
I'm hopeful that new laws will change the way we operate across all industries, not just fashion. But for now, I do see mass-market retailers jumping on the environmentally conscious movement. It's not necessarily because they want to be more responsible, it's mostly for profit but as long as they are noticing the real movement within shoppers, it's a win. A win because real change will come, it all starts with awareness.
The consumers are the ones with the real power and we're starting to take a stand. We're becoming more educated and responsible consumers, you especially see this in the food and beauty industries. We're questioning it all! So inevitably, we will question fashion as well. A revolution is coming which will force the supply chain to deliver what the consumer wants.
Therefore, innovation at the core of fashion is necessary, designers need alternatives to make conscious choices. And you see innovation brewing up already. For example, the bio-fabricated leather being tested in labs today and textile companies leaning towards a circular business module one which repurposes waste. It's an exciting time for fashion.
What is your go-to outfit that you feel most comfortable in?
I tend to go for loose clothing, either a flowy maxi dress or a high-waist bottom of any sort. I skip the bra and add a hat. But mostly, a bikini is what's most comfortable for me, you're basically naked, and that feels free.
What are you most excited about & what is next for Nightswim?
Right now, I'm excited about the opportunities coming my way and the new connections with inspiring people aligning. It's like all the dots are connecting and it's all making sense. I'm excited to share the brand with everyone and remind people that we need to look at fashion in a very new and sustainable manner.
Adding swimwear to the collection in the future is a definite. But big picture, I want to use this creative outlet as a form to give back, empower others and contribute to positive tangible changes within the fashion industry.