I’m Jennifer Cermak and I am the owner and designer for JennaSea. I have been developing the collection for the last 3 years, bringing it to wholesale consumers this 2014.
What inspired you to become a swimwear designer?
I have been in the swimwear industry since I was 16, and been a consultant designer for the last 8 years. It was time to give consumers what they wanted via my own line.
What makes your designs different from others?
I also own a swimwear boutique, (www.naninaluswim.com). I have over 15 years experience putting real bodies into swimsuits. I design for the customer. Our collection is based on the insight, comments and suggestions of over 500 D to G cup customers who I have worked with in my store that participated in our test. I wanted to fulfil needs while providing women with style. This is noticeable in our fit, and the flattering shape women receive while wearing JennaSea. Also, my 32 band will fit a 32D or a 32G. It is amazing!
Are there any celebrities wearing your designs and who are they?
We are new! I have not even tried to get it out there in that world yet. But Christina Hendricks and or Sofia Vergara would look stunning and supported in my styles.
Do you wear your own products?
Yes. I am a 32G, and one of the big things when deciding to design a collection was that I could actually get a suit that fits me! (Without looking like a bra or an old lady suit). I even wore my JennaSea tankini through my pregnancy. Love my suits!
What’s your favourite swimwear brand (not your own!) and why?
I love so many! Lenny Niemeyer amazes me every year, and I love their silky non-pinch fit. It’s a fun suit to put woman 30 – 50 in as they never think they can wear a bikini. I also love Jets for the A to C cup – their prints and patterns are unmatched. Shan is another favourite – need I explain why? And I adore Diva for their E-cup one pieces and fantastic prints that push the envelope on design.
Do you think there’s enough swimwear choice for plus sizes?
No. I think the majority of plus size suits do a disservice to the plus size body. I totally understand that this woman may be uncomfortable showing skin – but please stop with the empire dresses or baggy short bottoms that add weight and size to the silhouette! I even refuse to sell “short” style swimwear bottoms in my store. As a retailer I struggle to find options in the 16 to 24 size range that I can recommend to people as a great looking suit.
What advice would to give to an aspiring swimwear designer?
Swimwear should function. Anyone can make a string bikini in a cool print… but the talent of design is found in swimwear that you can bend, sit, run, jump, dance, surf and splash in; without having to tuck anything back in place!
How do you get your inspirations for new collections?
My customers at Nani Nalu. We listen to their colour and print suggestions; we see first hand what they focus on in our store and what they end up purchasing. It keeps our collection grounded in the real needs of the customer instead of trends or my “ideas” of fashion.
Do you use paper and pencil to design your first draft or is it all done on computer?
I still use a paper and pencil. Many times on the sales floor with a busty customer telling me what they wish they could find in a swimsuit! Once I like my drawing, I re-make it in illustrator.
My prints I do on the computer. For 2015 I am playing with an actual painting I did.. currently my High View print is a photograph I took on vacation in Costa Rica. The prints are 100% my own design!
What would you be doing if you weren’t a designer?
Most likely considering the risks of doing my own collection! It was a natural progression to fulfil the need of my customers in my store. It was what I was meant to do, and what I love doing.
What are you working on right now?
Based on the feedback of my customers, we are working on expanding the line to A through G cups. This will make JennaSea more approachable for wholesale retailers, and consumers alike.
What makes a great swimwear model?
A relatable body. I use real ladies, no edits or retouching to their bodies. I want people to see how our suits fit on real shapes. I also like to shoot on a few different shapes / sizes. We all know swimwear looks great on a model, but when it looks great on a 34 year old Mom of 2, with a 34GG… you know you have a special suit.
Check out designs by Jennifer below and find out more about the brand on the JennaSea website.