I’m Nell Robinson and I’ve been a model for the past 6 years. I was scouted in my hometown Kingston, Jamaica and won the titles ‘ Supermodel of Jamaica’ and ‘Supermodel of the Caribbean’. My client base include Victoria’s Secret, Agent Provocateur, Rimmel and Gossard. Since then I have teamed up with my friend Ann Marie Clarke who has years of experience in the retail world to create a swimwear line called BANG! Swimwear. We decided to combine the invaluable experiences gained from our respective work environments to design a swimwear collection. We visualised the line from conception in 2012 until now and we are both responsible for designing the line and directing all brand activity.
What inspired you to become a swimwear designer?
Growing up in Jamaica I have always had a love for the beach and swimwear. I decided to launch my own swimwear brand because I felt I needed something to fall back on towards the end of my modelling career. From the beginning I was told it’s a short-term career and to keep my eyes open for other opportunities so that’s exactly what I did.
What makes your designs different from others?
The line is rock-inspired and very edgy. The fabrics imitate leather and washed denims, some have prints such as guitars and skulls. It steers away from the frills and florals of most swimwear lines
Are there any celebrities wearing your designs and who are they?
Yes we had Rihanna instagram a ‘selfie’ in our yellow Electric Guitar print bikini and last week Supermodel Cara Delevingne was spotted in Barbados wearing one of our pieces.
Do you wear your own products?
I wear them all the time when I go to the beach as it’s a great way to market my line. When it comes to the campaign shoots though, I prefer to use other models.
What’s your favourite swimwear brand (not your own!) and why?
I really love the brand ‘We are handsome’. I think the idea of placing photos onto fabric was very innovative
Do you think there’s enough swimwear choice for plus sizes?
No, I don’t feel there is enough choice for plus sizes. I have a large sized bust myself being a 30E and have always found it very difficult to find the right tops. This is why we felt it important in our BANG! Swimwear line to accommodate women of all sizes. Our current range fits a lady up to a size 16 or 38F bust.
What advice would to give to an aspiring swimwear designer?
I would tell all aspiring swimwear designers to do as much research on the product and marketplace to ensure that there is a niche for your product. I’ve learnt it’s a very long and arduous process but I would still advise to hold onto your dream and never give up .
How do you get your inspirations for new collections?
For this collection Ann Marie and I went to a number of Rock concerts and art exhibitions. We try to take inspiration from popular culture, music and public figures that we find inspiring. We work really well together and always come up with great ideas.
Do you use paper and pencil to design your first draft or is it all done on computer?
We do a lot of our first drafts by paper and pencil first before using computers. I did a short course at the London College of Fashion which taught me how to bring swimwear ideas to life as a sketch. This was very helpful.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a designer?
I still model on a regular basis between London and New York and it keeps me very busy. I also have a lot of interest in the Arts so I would probably also being pursuing a degree in that field.
What are you working on right now?
We’re currently working on beach clothing and cover ups and hope to branch out into sandals in the near future.
What makes a great swimwear model?
For us on a Bang! Swimwear shoot, the best models are those who are very energetic and bring their personalities to the camera.
Check out the pics below and see more on the BANG! Swimwear website.