How JORDYN LEAH SWIM Was Born
Canada’s Ethical Swimwear Fashion Brand
As the world has gradually shifted focus more toward collecting experiences and memories instead of material possessions, traveling and exploring has spiked in popularity. Along with this, has the demand for vacation fashion.
This is the scenario that inspired the birth of Canada’s best eco-friendly swimwear fashion label - JORDYN LEAH SWIM.
JORDYN LEAH SWIM label’s founder, Jordyn, describes the series of events culminating in the decision to create this trail-blazing brand in support of women and Mother Earth, and why it’s such a passionate work of heart for her.
What were the events that led you to create a biodegradable swimwear line?
Taking on the huge challenges and risks that come with creating a label in the apparel industry happened because of my many experiences of trying to buy really good, beautiful items, especially pieces to enjoy on my vacations. I’ve regularly vacationed in Mexico since I was around six or seven years old, and in later years have chosen many other travel destinations in tropical, beach regions, so swimwear and beach fashion was something that I was constantly having touchpoints with.
Travelling has always been so exciting for me. I love the ocean, the salt water, the pool, the food, the culture and running wild in a bikini. I always felt like I was more myself and always had a sense of calmness when I was near the ocean, like it called to me in a way.
The instance that particularly sparked a direction toward launching an environmentally-conscious, yet beautiful, fashionable, swimwear happened with the bikini I bought for a vacation I was headed on seven years ago.
The bikini I HAD to have
As I was looking online for a new bikini I came across this Instagram page of these extravagant swimsuits. They were drenched in crystals; beautiful, vibrant fabrics, silky textures, and flattering designs that really complimented the female body. Even though I was experiencing these items in a digital shop from my laptop screen, I could almost feel the presence of the sumptuous, gorgeous beach pieces in my hands; I was absolutely confident in how I would feel wearing one of these suits. I hadn’t seen anything like these swimsuits before and having harboured a love for fashion design for some time already, I could appreciate the immense effort and time that had clearly gone into each of these items - all of which were handmade.
I picked out the one I liked most and ordered it on the spot. I had to have one. $220 for the bikini I chose and I felt like it was totally worth it - expensive, but worth the feeling I knew I would have while wearing it.
When I finally received it in the mail, I tried it on the minute I got my hands on it. The fit was perfect, the fabric every bit as rich and vibrant as in the digital images I’d been so wowed by, the lace was beautifully white, the bow embellishments were so silky, and the crystals sparkled in the light. I really did feel like a million bucks in the suit and at the time I felt like it was absolutely worth every penny I had paid for it.
This gorgeous bikini was my chosen suit for three separate Mexico trips - a total of three weeks wading in the salty ocean waters, splashing in pools, lounging in hot tubs, and lazing in sunshine with tanning creams and oils.
But by the fourth trip, eager to again enjoy my time in the warmth and waters of my relaxation vacation with my amazing bikini, I was deeply disappointed to discover that it had degraded significantly in both quality and appearance.
The suit had lost most of its elasticity and it felt weak and thin in my hands - its shape and form-flattering design lost. The colours were no longer vibrant, the lace had changed colour from a bright white to a shitty yellowed version of itself, and the crystals had completely lost their shine and clarity. After wearing it for a total of three weeks, a swimsuit that I’d been absolutely in love with was good for nothing but discarding and I felt deeply disappointed in the purchase.
What this did, though, was set me on the path of evaluating ‘why’. Why did this bikini look and feel and fit amazingly and then end up as garbage so rapidly?
I thought about the fabric, I thought about the finishes and the quality and it just hit me. Cheap fabric, cheap crystals, cheap lace, cheap, cheap, cheap.
Then I thought about the price tag. $220… It was at that moment that I made the decision that I could do better, be better.
Because I’ve always loved traveling to tropical destinations, I’ve always loved swimwear; I’ve always had an interest in fashion and I’ve always loved the ocean in particular. I put my three loves together and I made the easy decision that I was going to design and make my own swimwear. High-quality swimwear that created a balance between the elements of gorgeous fashion and fit, environmental care and concern, and a competitive price point.
How did you start, and what was the process that achieved the launch of JORDYN LEAH SWIM?
While I’ve had a lifetime of fashion appreciation and have tweaked my own wardrobe pieces for many years, I knew that if I was going to be successful in achieving the the vision I was developing for not only built-to-last swimsuits, but also for them to be beautiful fashion pieces that fit perfectly on every beautiful body and soul, I was going to need to study up on all the complex elements that go into making that a reality across shapes, sizes, and styles. So my first step was to choose and enroll in a fashion design program.
After researching various schools and programs, I decided on the Fashion Design Program at Blanche Macdonald in Vancouver, BC, which has proven to be the perfect fit for me. The school has an impeccable reputation, and every instructor is a master in the craftsmanship of fashion and owns their own label.
My dad always taught me that if you’re going to create a career out of something that you need to understand every part of it, be able to perform or explain every aspect in full. At Blanche Macdonald, this is what I achieved and it was the best foundation I could have hoped for to truly allow me to launch into the work of building the dream I have for a fashion-forward, body positive, environmentally sustainable, ethical, long-lasting, comfortable, and FUN swimwear brand.
I began working on my first collection as soon as I graduated from my program in 2016, and I finished it and set up my online shop for the collection in July of 2018.
Why did you choose to name your label JORDYN LEAH SWIM?
I chose my brand's name after myself because of the inspiration in a comment made by another label’s founder. During my design program at Blanche Macdonald, we were fortunate to have great guests come speak to us about the art and business of fashion and sharing about their journeys in creating their own brands.
One designer in particular I found to be someone who resonated strongly with me, and she said something that stuck with me. She said, “I chose to use my name for my brand because I refuse to fail. With my name as my brand I cannot let it fail.” Thus, JORDYN LEAH SWIM was born. Jordyn is my first name, Leah (Lee-uh) is my middle.