Swimwear Designer to Know: Megan Balch and Jaime Barker of Flagpole
InStyle’s Senior Market Editor/Digital Correspondent Dana Avidan-Cohn is constantly keeping a pulse on the market. In this series, Avidan-Cohn identifies who’s who in the swimwear arena and finds out what inspires them to create their lust-worthy designs. You’ve heard it here first!
Flagpole's co-founders, Megan Balch and Jaime Barker, met in high school in West Palm Beach, Fla. They shared a love of sea and surf and spent their days frequenting a magical beach locale that they and their crew of friends referred to as "flagpole." Upon graduating from Savannah College of Arts and Design and New York University, respectively, the two reconnected in New York to start their own swimwear collection.
Balch and Balker wanted to create a line that was sporty and modern but also encompassed their laid-back Floridian beach roots—and that's how Flagpole was born. The suits are beautifully made with the best Italian fabrics (I can attest: I own several). They look stunning poolside but are strong enough to withstand a day of catching waves. Read on for the full Q&A!
What made you launch a swimwear collection?Megan and Jaime: We both grew up in West Palm Beach so we were probably destined to design a swimwear collection. As we got older and finished our studies, we were looking for stylish and practical swimsuits that could withstand the surf and also stand out on the beach or by the pool. There was definitely a niche in that market which we were/are able to fill.
What most inspires your designs?Megan and Jaime: Inspiration comes from a variety of sources. Most recently, we’ve been influenced by the strong lines and curves of the Brooklyn Bridge, the photos of Helmut Newton and, because we love dancing so much, leotards that we find and collect on our various travels.
What is the most important thing you think about when designing a suit?Megan and Jaime: The fit of a suit is everything. Color and novelty are important but the fit trumps everything. We wear our samples and test them over and over to make sure that the suit is comfortable and keeps its shape.
What is your favorite warm weather location for travel?Megan: Tulum because of the juxtaposition of the ocean and pre-Columbian Mayan ruins, as well as the amazing fish tacos at every restaurant.Jaime: Costa Careyes for the picturesque coastline and marine wild life. Tulum and Costa Careyes are both perfect vacation stops to re-charge your batteries and to escape.
What are your beach bag essentials?Megan and Jamie: Fresh watermelon juice, Evian mineral water spray, Ray-Ban aviators, Havaianas flip flops, an iPod with a good playlist and a large bottle of Smartwater.
To shop the styles pictured below, head over to flagpoleswim.com.
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